What is it?
WEARING a striking black go-fast centre stripe, the Nissan 370Z has a ‘look at me street fighter’ appearance – and the muscle to be one.
I’m in a limited edition 370Z, called the N-Sport, which in addition to in-your-face exterior graphics, has side stripes, black 18-inch alloy wheels and gloss black side mirrors.
Inside are Fukushima-yellow accents on the door trim, steering wheel, gearshift knob, knee pads and dash and the black clothed Recaros have matching yellow embroidery.
Largely unchanged inside and out from the first 350 version, the 370 N now comes at a discounted price.
More sheep-like sports car buyers should take note.
That A86 you set your heart on, with a few option boxes ticked, will be right in line price-wise with this beastie. And believe me, if you are worthy of calling yourself a driver — the 370 scores a knock out with all judges.
What’s it cost?
There are just 50 N-Sports available, from $48,490 plus on roads for the 6-speed manual, which makes them marginally cheaper than a standard 370Z! Well, that’s a first.
But that’s if you choose the Chicane Yellow model. Diamond Black and Shiro White options are $550 extra.
There’s also an auto trannie version at $50,990 — but why would you?
What’s it go like?
The 370Z is a driver’s car, and a real driver always prefers a gearbox that doesn’t think for itself.
There’s a console button that lets you drive in normal or sport mode. Pick S one and stay there.
Good dash too, except that the speedo is analogue. Okay to see, but it’s obviously not as prominent as a digital one would be, and in this age of speed restrictions, it’s easy to creep over the posted limits in this bulldog with the pace of a greyhound.
Heavy in all departments from the start-up noise to the steering weight, the N pack let’s you know it has some thwack!
With 245kW and 363Nm underfoot you can go from first gear to fourth all the way to the shops like an automatic, it’s so torqueee . . .
It even managed a 6th gear pull from 35km/h, without protest. Insane.
The connection to the road is something like cars of old and is lustfully appealing in this era of desensitised automation.
A slick positive gear feel is so well weighted to the steering weight and motor push it is instantly rewarding.
Its stiff sport damping keeps you looking for apexes at every opportunity and there’s plenty of rubber for sure-footed fast cornering.
Those black alloys, by the way, are an inch smaller than the standard wheels, so you might get a fraction off the “about 5.5 second” time for the 0-100km/h sprint. Stopping power from the Brembos is very impressive.
The motor winds out to 7000 revs, delivering a very steady push.
It does not feel as fast as many of the turbo cars out there, but it’s deceptive. Remember it’s a 3.7-litre atmo and taller gearing has to be taken into account.
If you run it to redline with the lovely balanced induction noise through the V6, you will be moving very fast – in any gear.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to an airport runway you can enjoy the 370Z at 250km/h.
No forward-seeing sensors, beeping intrusions or blaring lights appear when parking within 30cm of a flowerpot or the like.
The only semi-modern grace they have provided is a reversing camera, which is vital with this model’s big blind spots.
As a wise fox put it: “It’s like a car made 20 years ago for today.” And it’s great!
At about 1450kg this is is not a lightweight sports car, so it moves itself out of the MX5, BRZ/A86 realm, flexing its masculinity in the Euro Z4, SL and Cayman range.
Open the bonnet and there’s a sturdy tower brace over the beefy engine. Open the hatch and there’s another brace.
Also, the ma-in-law will be disappointed there’s not much space for her big picnic basket.
There’s a fair bit of room, but it’s shallow; just right for a couple of overnight bags.
The 370Z is a two seater — so ma-in-law will have to stay home anyway.
Naturally it comes with a good safety record and all the things that matter, like satnav and a decent radio, but without the christmas tree of beeps and squawks that befoul many other new cars.
Fuel use is dependent on driving style and conditions. The official average is 10.6L/100km, but we ended up with 12.8.
Loved the door handles, which have a stainless steel look and feel about them, but getting in and out of the coupe can be challenging, especially for older folks whose joints have run out of WD40.
Other than that, it’s a head-turning, heart-thumping honey.
What we like?
- Big points for simplicity
- Rugged, lasting styling
- Great feel
- No lack of power
- Beautiful noise
What we don’t like?
- Rearward visibility
- Getting out
- No digital speedo
The bottom line?
A brute in a kimono.
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Nissan 370Z N-Sport, priced from $48,490
- Looks - 8/108/10
- Performance - 8.5/108.5/10
- Safety - 8/108/10
- Thirst - 7.5/107.5/10
- Practicality - 7/107/10
- Comfort - 8/108/10
- Tech - 8.5/108.5/10
- Value - 8.5/108.5/10