2010 Nissan 370Z GT - Road Test
Many see the 1960s as the golden age of the automotive culture and, all things considered, I can see where they are coming from. Between the cheap yet incredibly powerful American muscle cars and the sexy, agile European exotics, there was no shortage of choice. However, Japan had yet to become a major player in the world economy. One problem though...
Early mornings would echo with the sound cranking engines failing to start. That is, until Datsun (Nissan's American and European brand name at the time) came along. Often referred to as the poor man's BMW, the 510 brought with it, in addition to a range of body styles and options, incredible reliability with quick starts and cheap maintenance. When it was released in1968 it sold in droves and even had success in motorsport but Datsun execs weren't satisfied. They launched the 240Z sports car to the American market in1970 to wide-spread success. The 240Z was a true driver's car with a 2.4L Inline 6-cylinder, brilliant suspension setup and 4-wheel disc brakes. Unfortunately the brilliance did not last.
Datsun soon after released an updated model dubbed the 260Z and, though it was still a strong seller, it was no longer an enthusiast model. It may have received an extra 0.2L of displacement yet it produced no extra power but it did gain weight, diluting the driving experience. Datsun continued to roll out new, higher displacement models of the Z with the 280Z of 1975-1978 and despite a complete redesign with the 300ZX Z31 of 1983-1989, each model got more watered down; becoming more of a boulevard cruiser then a track machine. Finally, in 1990, the company, now Nissan, got it right by introducing the 300ZX Z32, available with a 300bhp twin-turbo 3.0L V6. Once again the Z was on top with class leading power, handling, braking and style. The 300ZX lasted in America until 1998 when Nissan left the Z title in hibernation until 2003 when the world was given the 350Z. With its 3.5L V6 engine, fully independent suspension, Brembo brakes (on the track model) and unique looks, it set the sports car world on fire. The 350Z continued to rack up awards and astounding sales figures until its retirement in 2009. However, I never really liked the 350Z as I felt it was incredibly ugly and its motor had no midrange power. I certainly would never purchase one.
For 2010 Nissan released the 370Z, based on an all new chassis and sporting a brand new engine; a 332bhp 3.7L V6 monster that will accelerate this 3250lb work of art to 60mph in a mere 4.9 seconds and to a top speed of an electronically limited 155mph. The 370Z is 4" shorter then the350Z, give it more nippy handling traits and it has been widened by 1.5", therefore increasing lateral grip. These smaller dimensions also help reduce the weight from the 350Z.
During my experience of thrashing one through the back roads of New England, I found it to not only be as quick, grippy, and responsive as one may expect, but also incredibly comfortable. A normal person could easily live with one as a daily driver, owing to the fact of how surprisingly smooth the ride is, especially for a sports car. The seats are supportive in all the right places and both are power adjustable. The interior as a whole has a very modern look and feel to it with a space age set of gauges, quality materials, and a crystal clear yet hard hitting sound system. I drove the 6-speed manual model that comes standard with a feature dubbed "SynchroRev Match Control". Basically a button you push next to the shifter that, once engaged, blips the throttle on downshifts. Not only does it sound lovely through the free-flowing exhaust but it also provides seamlessly smooth downshifts no matter how bad the driver may be with a standard transmission. This is a downright genius feature that is very simple and, honestly, every single manual transmission vehicle should have from now on.
As I said, I really didn't like the look of the 350Z. The 370Z, thankfully, is a whole other matter. Enticing. Sexy. Sinister. They all perfectly describe it. It looks genuinely stupendous. There is not much you can say about it. It speaks for itself.
The Nissan 370Z is THE best rear wheel drive sports car on the market today under $70,000.
Now where can I get a spare $40,000?