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Stephen Walker 
with the Nissan 370Z (copyright image)

Nissan 370Z (copyright image)

Nissan 370Z (copyright image)

Nissan 370Z (copyright image)

Nissan 370Z (copyright image)

Nissan 370Z road test

by Stephen Walker

7th March, 2010

Home > Road Tests > Nissan

The Z car is a highly respected sports car. It has been that way since the relatively affordable Datsun 240Z coupe first appeared in 1969.

Through numerous 'generations' the Z car, as it is sometimes known, had grown and it had also become expensive. But these days, with the 2009 release of the 370Z, the Z car is a little smaller and quite reasonably priced and very competitive.

The manufacturer's list price for this model, excluding the traditional add-ons (such as dealer delivery fees and the various statutory charges imposed by the state and territory governments) is approximately $71,000. This represents amazing value for such a high performance coupe.

We drove the new Nissan 370Z automatic coupe for this test, covering some 501 kilometres around Melbourne and the west Gippsland region. We were able to enjoy some lonely roads where we managed to get the 370Z up to 80 km/h, the posted limit through some undulating territory featuring many curves.

Visually, the Nissan 370Z features a unique design for the headlights and taillights.

Interesting, the previous 350Z model demonstrated that Nissan was returning towards the original Z car concept, which was a compact design just like a real sports car. The new 370Z is even more so, as it is a little smaller than the 350Z, the car which really brought Nissan back into the sports car market. The Nissan 370Z is 4,250 mm long. The use of weight saving panels and components assist the sportiness of this new model.

Something becomes obvious when driving the 370Z. Clearly, Nissan's sports car is more at home on a long country drive than it is in the city. The ride is harsh, although the handling and driving dynamics are excellent. The steering is very precise, the braking is sharp and the traction is very good. It is a well sorted 'chassis', backed by quite an enviable reputation. Out on that open road, the Nissan 370Z is a rewarding drive, it is more than a match for any sports car!

The low-down sports seating is comfy, with side bolsters that 'grip' the body. The seating is 4-way power adjustable, with heating as a standard fitment. A solid footrest is fitted to support the driver's left foot. Whilst the leather-bound steering wheel has a nice feel to it, adjustments are restricted to up and down movements only. It has no telescopic function, making the wheel somewhat 'retro' in its presentation. Getting in and out of the 370Z is a trick, like many sports cars. In fact, it occurred to me that if you have gout, you'll never get out.

The interior is treated to alloy-look trim, including the pedals. There's keyless entry. So, too, a push button 'starter'. A tiny bin is located on the interior door trim, almost useless in fact, but there is room for a mobile telephone in it.

Acceleration is more than satisfying, just as you would expect with such a highly regarded sports car.

Technically, the high performance manner of the Nissan 370Z comes from the 3.7 litre V6 engine that provides some 245 kW power at 7,000 rpm, whilst torque is rated at 363 Nm at 5,200 rpm.

Fuel consumption is quite reasonable for a real sports car. The factory rate it at 10.4 litres per 100 kms on the combined cycle, which is excellent for a car with exceptional performance potential. Of course, though, you will do much worse during the times that the driver plays with the accelerator pedal.

Standard equipment for the Nissan 370Z includes 18" alloy wheels (with a temporary spare steel wheel), folding external (heated) rear view mirrors, six airbags, climate control air conditioning, cruise control (with steering wheel mounted control), premium sound system (including a 6 disc in-dash CD player) with 8 speakers, MP3 jack, Bluetooth telephone system (with steering wheel controls) and satellite navigation system amongst many other features.

The Nissan 370Z is, quite rightly, a success in the nation's showrooms. More importantly, it is a success out on those open roads!

This is a car that you won't ever want to remain in your garage.

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