TODAY’S SHOW IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER Z
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Aug 9, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John-Fredrik Wright The Z. The icon. Nissan currently holds the record for the best-selling sports car series of all time with over 2 million Zs sold. That’s quite a feat. The Z has always been sold as the Fairlady Z in Japan, but has gone through several iterations in the rest of the world. We all remember the 240Z that started it all (actually, I personally don’t since the history of the Z is a lot longer than mine). The line of Zs have progressed through 260Z, 280Z, 280ZX, 300ZX, 350Z and now, the 370Z. If I had to describe the 370Z coupe in one word, “tight” comes to mind. “Tight” as in “Hey man, das tight!”, but also as in tight handling, tight steering, tight bucket seats (they are great, I might add), and tight pretty much everything else you can possibly think of. This car is tight in a major league way.
The exception that proves the rule is the feel when you are comfortably seated and strapped into this beast (for a beast she is). The interior actually looks a lot roomier than the exterior is. Approaching the car, preferably when it’s parked between two Suburbans, the 370Z looks as if whoever gets in it will be wearing the seat rather than sitting in it. As the saying goes, however, you should never judge a book by its cover (or a car by its exterior). Getting in is somewhat of a hassle for larger folks with joint problems, and somewhat entertaining for the person already in the car. But once you are in, the 370Z has enough room to feel comfortable, even though you are inches from the asphalt. I mentioned that this is a beast. What I mean is that this car needs taming. To cope with the power and gruesome awesomeness the Z delivers, you first need to get used to the stiff, or should I say tight, clutch. When you relax your calf muscle, the clutch will most definitely sling your foot back, whipping the car into gear. If it’s first gear, you will screech forward. But there is something very special with this stick that you don’t realize until you shift from first to second, and onward. The Nissan 370Z has the Synchronized Down-Shift Rev-Matching System (SynchroRev Match). Unbelievably, this system does exactly what the name says it will. When you go from one gear to the next, with the clutch all the way down, the engine will automatically rev to the RPM that corresponds to the gear you are going towards. If you “pretend” to go from fourth to third and then to second, the rpms will respond accordingly.
Other neat features? Well, nothing as new as the SynchroRev Match, which I couldn’t get enough of. There is one thing, however, that this car is not. It is not a car to go Costco-shopping in. In my attempt, I wound up having to hold a piece of salmon laying on the top of the box sitting in the passenger seat. Given that our car came equipped with the manual, I had to shift nicely and then keep one hand on the lax and one on the steering wheel. What the Nissan 370Z lacks in Costco-compatibity, it makes up in sheer power, great handling, and invigorating excitement. Floor the accelerator and this car will take off, barely in control (well, if you have the traction control on it’ll be controllable, but turn that off and you are in for the ride of your life). If the rear tires lose grip, the driver better be ready to get to work, ‘cause this bad boy will toss and turn like nothing you’ve ever seen. Point the nose in the direction you want to go, then make sure to keep the butt from sling-shooting out. Again, though, keep the safety systems on and this car will perform majestically.
Interior-wise, the 370Z coupe does not disappoint either. The leather feels soft, even if the rest of the car reeks with sportiness. Seats are tight (of course), yet comfortable enough for a daily commute. The GPS system (optional) looks the same as other recent Nissan/Infiniti vehicles I driven; easy to use yet the buttons are a little too far away to be easily accessible for the driver. Trunk-wise, when it is not filled to the brim with Costco purchases, it holds a large suitcase, making it possible to use as a real car even if you are picking someone up at the airport. Make sure they are alone, though, as the two seats are all the space you will find except the two pockets to put small things in behind each seat. There are few downsides to the 370Z. It’s rough, yet tamable, sporty yet flexible. The one thing it does not have going for it is visibility. The blind spots take a lot of time to get used to, and trying to eradicate them by tilting the mirrors way out is barely possible. Turn around and you will be staring at the interior walls; turn further and you might be able to peek out through the small window in the back. Fortunately, a back-up camera is in the options-list, so that will at least make parking easier. For the blind spots; I assume finding gaps in traffic up ahead and then smashing the accelerator to get into it is the best solution, as you don’t really need to check your mirrors. It is, at least, the most fun one. Next up: The Roadster
For more information about Nissan products, go to nissanusa.com. SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2011 Nissan 370Z Touring Price: $35,280 (base) $41,895 (as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 18 mpg (city) 26 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: VQ37VHR – 3.7-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 aluminum-alloy engine
Horsepower: 332 hp @ 7,000 rpm Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm Transmission type: 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission with SynchroRev Match® (option) Drive configuration: Rear-wheel drive Steering (type): Vehicle-speed-sensitive power steering Suspension (front and rear): Front: 2-link double-wishbone aluminum-alloy suspension with aluminum subframe Rear: 4-link aluminum-alloy suspension Brakes and tires: 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and brake assist. Dimensions: Length: 167.2 in Width: 72.6 in Height: 51.8 in Curb weight: 3,232 lbs