We here at EFTM have experienced dozens of new cars in 2013, mostly all of them left us impressed with their respective virtues and abilities. But every now and then a manufacturer allows us access to some of their top shelf prime cuts of beef. With Nissan it starts with the 370Z Coupe.
The 10 Minute Test Drive.
What we have here is a powerful Japanese rear-wheel-drive sports car weighing in at a reasonable price.
It’s pretty obvious at first glance the 370Z has the looks of something that can be pushed to the absolute limit of sanity. Sitting low and flat the 370Z does its best to be an aerodynamic escape artist.
Its dominating snout and ski jump type roof line combine to give it a rare and quite frankly awesome look.
Slide down and into the two seat cabin and its innate sporting prowess slaps you across the face again. The rather snug fitting sports seats won’t accommodate a giant, so perhaps look away if you’re in the ‘let yourself go brigade’.
Immediately there’s a sense of strength emanating from the overall structure, it’s clearly a meticulously put together car.
“Tight” best describes it.
A thick and slightly flattened at the side’s steering wheel feels great as you peer over that long bonnet. Glance in the rear view mirror and you’re greeted by an acutely angled glass window that reduces visibility to a narrow slice. If it weren’t for the standard reversing camera you’d almost be flying blind.
The cockpit itself is impressive by Nissan standards; decent plastics interspersed with leather covered sections give an upmarket feel. Three centrally mounted dials are angled to face the driver, while the instrument panel looks like something from a PS3 or XBOX game.
Funny that, because the 370Z was premiered on a video game, true story.
But it’s all about getting down to business, touch the keyless start button and let the fun begin.
Don’t expect a magic carpet ride; it’s a rather stiff affair without being completely bone jarring. Noise suppression is quite limited and road noise pours into the cabin at higher speeds.
You can really feel what the front wheels are confronting right through to your fingertips; this is how it should be.
After all this IS a real sports car.
Plant the foot and the 370Z will hurtle down the tarmac but not in an explosive ‘fully sick’ turbo kind of way. The 3.7-litre non turbo V6 instead feels stocky and strong yet bashful. It emits an unusual note, kind of deep and mysterious down low but gruff and rough at higher revs. It’s not what you expect, but sure can seriously deliver.
Ins and outs.
The 3.7-litre engine pumps out 245kW/363Nm and our test vehicle was equipped with the 6-speed manual. A 7-speed auto is also available.
The single most enjoyable trait of this car is its SynchroRev Match Transmission. Let’s face it heel-and-toe shifting when performed correctly is fun; but nailing it every time is the domain of pros. The Nissan system does it automatically after engaging the ‘S-mode’ button.
Downshifts are synchronised perfectly with revs, after a short period you discover this feature is simply brilliant. On a steep downhill section of twisty road this is about as much fun anyone can have sitting down.
I could do this all day, and basically did. Google Putty Road, NSW if you’re unfamiliar!
19’’ wheels look good on any car and it’s no different here. They are wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza rubber with a wider track at the rear which is always a nod to taking things seriously. Not sure how they would prevail in the wet, however I did get the feeling the ‘lunatic prevention’ on board safety systems may be calibrated on the cautious side, probably not a bad idea.
Red brake calipers are Nissan branded, but have that ‘Brembo’ look. They are also sufficiently large enough to quickly end the party if need be, even after repeatedly being called upon to intervene.
So the 370Z goes, steers and stops pretty bloody well. How about some creature comforts? It has a few of those as well.
Some of the highlights include leather accented sports seats, cruise control, LED daytime running lights, smart-key entry with keyless start, dusk sensing xenon headlamps with washers, S-mode SynchroRev Match Transmission, satellite navigation with 3D mapping on a 7’’ colour screen, 9.3GB music hard drive, automatic climate control, 4-way power heated seats, reversing camera with predictive path, eight-speaker Bose sound system which includes two subwoofers and full Bluetooth connectivity.
Don’t expect a cavernous boot; it would almost certainly fail the golf bag test.
So you can’t afford the evil monster that is the Nissan GT-R? Easy buy one of these.
It’s still Japanese, still has your licence in its sights and turns heads like a tennis match.
The Lasting Impression
The Nissan ‘Z’ range of cars have been in existence since 1969, starting with the 240Z. They tend to become iconic, take a glance at today’s offering and I’m sure you’ll see not much will change into the future.
The 370Z has also become the fastest production Z to date.
Long live the Z.
The Hip Pocket
Our test model (Coupe Manual) has a RRP of $69,890. The Automatic Coupe rises to $72,890. A Roadster version is also available with corresponding prices of $76,890 and $79,890.
At the pump a true performance car such as this will only sip 95 RON Premium Unleaded and above.
Nissan offer a 3 year / 100,000 kms warranty with 24 Hour Roadside Assistance.
A spirited 335km round trip along mountainous hairy corners with long drawn out straights thrown in returned a fuel economy figure of 12.8 L/Km. (Claimed 10.5) Not too bad, a VF Commodore V8 on the same trip returned closer to 17 L/Km.
No prize for guessing which is the most fun to drive.
EFTM Rubber Stamp.
The Nissan 370Z is the most enjoyable car I’ve driven this year. I only have two complaints, the engine sound track needs work, the other is the fact I have to give it back!
The EFTM Distinction Rubber Stamp is a must.
Chris is EFTM’s Motoring Editor, driving everything from your entry level hatch to the latest Luxury cars through to the Rolls Royce.
He has been in the media for 20 years, produced three Olympic games broadcasts, attending Beijing 2008 & London 2012.
Strangely he owns a Toyota Camry Hybrid, he defiantly rejects the knockers.
Chris is married to Gillian and resides in Sydney’s North West. They have Sam the English Springer Spaniel and Felix the Burmese cat to keep them company, and recently welcomed baby Henry to the family.