Why the 370Z needs to be driven hard – 14 October 2010
With 326bhp available under your right plimsoll, the Z roadster is hardly a car for the meek and mild. But if you were ever in any doubt, the short throw, notchy gearbox screams at you to treat it keenly. After five minutes driving it, the Roadster made a fool of me – I crunched around the ‘box like a 17-year-old learner on his first lesson. Then you realise that short, sharp, firm movements are what’s required. Soon, the revs were hurtling up towards the 6000-plus mark, the missed gearchanges replaced by urgent, gathering pace and a rasping bark from the exhaust. Now, that’s better.
By Stephen Worthy
Welcoming the Nissan 370Z Roadster to the fleet – 15 September 2010
Out of the VW Scirocco, into a ‘proper’ sports car. Rear-drive, 324bhp V6, six-speed manual, two seats, looks like an Imperial Stormtrooper’s slip-on in storm white metallic. Yes, Nissan’s 370Z is my new car, in roadster form. Perfect for maximum exposure to the V6’s thunderous growl. And before you hardliners interject, with only a 36kg weight penalty over the coupé and barely a perceptible impact on rigidity.
But before we get into dynamics, time for a specxplanation. The base roadster now costs £30,445 – amazing value when the equivalent power Z4 or Boxster costs £8-11k more. The ‘basic’ Z has 18-inch alloys, electric seats, bi-xenon headlamps and Bluetooth phone compatibility. Stepping up to the £33,745 GT Pack adds some cool gadgets: the SynchoRev Match, which blips the throttle on downshifts to smooth the change and make even the most mechanically unsympathetic sound handy. Then there’s air-conditioned suede/leather seats – I’d typically associate bum-chilling with a Lexus limo not a Nissan sports car. Plus the GT rolls on 19s and has cruise control.
In addition, I ticked the box for £1550 Connect Premium navigation. Sounds like a mobile phone tariff, actually is like a brilliant electronic butler, which suggests restaurants from its Michelin-programmed memory and manipulates the MP3s or music hard drive for you.
Final touches: £358 each for front and rear parking sensors, and £2657 for 19-inch Nismo alloys. All in? £39,218 for the most lavishly equipped 370Z this side of Dubai. And still £2k less than a Boxster S.
By Phil McNamara