By on October 9, 2009

The Return of Zorro? (TTAC/Jack Baruth)

The “Z-car” has been with us now for forty years, but let’s be honest: most of those years were fairly disappointing. The original 240Z was a fabulous car that richly deserves its place in history, and the 1990 300ZX Turbo was a singular statement of high-speed style, but the story of the Z is too often a story of bloat, questionable visuals, and dismal V-6 engines. So it was with the 2003 350Z. As with Volkswagen’s New Beetle, adapting show-car style to an oversized platform-variant production model took a horrible aesthetic toll. The interior was dismal and the driving experience was too clearly that of a short-wheelbase G35. A ten-minute test drive six years ago was all I needed to cross the porky Zed off my personal list permanently, and not even the rather stunning-looking Nismo run-out model was sufficient incentive to change my position on the matter.

So now we have a new Z, offering a tidier packaging job and yet more power from the ever-swelling VQ engine. Is it enough? The first impressions are encouraging. The 2003 car had too much Audi TT in the styling, which is another way of saying it had too much Porsche 911 in the styling. This one’s far better, even considering the unfortunate headlamp treatment. It’s smaller, which is always good, and it’s supposedly a bit lighter. Most importantly, it seems to be thoroughly differentiated from its Infiniti cousins. Any G35 owner could sit in a Z and play the old game of “spot the hard points” on the dashboard. That game’s tougher now, and playing it is more pleasant thanks to a higher-quality interior with smaller panel gaps.

Less TT, more Z. Our test vehicle featured a seven-speed automatic transmission operated by column-mounted paddle shifters. This is the Wrong Way To Do It; not only does placing the paddles on the column implicitly encourage the utterly reprehensible practice of shuffle-steering, it makes it impossible to immediately operate the transmission during high-speed driving. Drivers who manage to find the correct paddle will be rewarded with a rev-matched downshift and swift engagement, but there’s simply no compelling reason to choose an automatic Z.

As always, the horses to be found inside a Nissan VQ engine seem to be just a tiny bit smaller than those found elsewhere. Despite a rating of 332 horsepower, this Z will not stay with my much heavier Audi S5 in a straight line. I couldn’t manage to get my Porsche 993 out of storage for this test, but I rather suspect that under most conditions it would run about even with the Z despite having sixty-two fewer theoretical ponies in the corral. Nor is the big-bore VQ engine terribly pleasant to operate; it drones on the freeway and groans under full throttle.

Turning up the stereo to mask the banal thrashing from the firewall doesn’t help matters. This thirty-six-thousand-dollar car can’t match a Ford Focus for sound quality or elegance of Bluetooth/iPod integration. It’s best to shift the transmission into seventh and enjoy the outstanding fuel economy; we averaged nearly thirty mpg over the course of a thousand or so miles. The seats are also decent, with one difficulty. Leaning back against the headrests causes their metal supports to poke out from the seatback. It’s unpleasant for passengers who wish to relax on the road despite the noise and the relatively harsh ride.

A scheduling difficulty meant that there was no chance to track this Z. As a result, we can only guess about the car’s ultimate handling behavior. As a street car it’s pleasant and competent, skittish in the rain but offering decent feedback through the wheel in most circumstances. The quality of feedback and information for the control is sub-Boxster but better than what is found in a base C6 Corvette. In a pinch, this little two-seater can hustle pretty well.

The rest of the Z experience is straight out of the Nissan/Infiniti tool chest, from the bizarre seat adjustment to the unusual steering-wheel audio Zed aheadcontrols. If you are used to driving these cars, it will seem natural; if you’re a BMW driver, it will frustrate you for a while. The stereo in particular can be difficult to understand without resorting to the owner’s manual. Some commands, particularly those related to the Bluetooth system, can only be engaged through the voice-recognition system. Surely it is possible to do better than this in a new-for-2010 car?

As a single example of the breed, this automatic-transmission, low-option 370Z is a three-star car at best, but very few buyers will take a car like this. The Z formula is much more satisfying as a loaded-up six-speed, or even as a wide-mouthed Nismo Z model. Of course, those cars are priced uncomfortably close to a base Corvette, which simply murders the Nissan on every possible performance benchmark and isn’t really that far off on interior charm and feature count. Don’t forget, too, that the 370Z has already earned a reputation for on-track fragility thanks to inadequate cooling.

Since Z buyers aren’t really Vette buyers, however, this sort of thing won’t matter. Instead of comparing the Z to Chevrolet’s V-8 plastic supercar, they’ll revel in the Nissan’s aesthetic and mechanical superiority to competitors like the Genesis Coupe and Mitsubishi Eclipse. The interior may not be Audi quality, but it beats the old model hands-down. It’s priced fairly and it’s faster than an Evolution in a straight line. If the 370Z fails to touch true greatness, it also fails to truly disappoint.

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47 Comments on “Review: Nissan 370Z Touring...”


  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Nice review, Jack. With current incentives and 0% financing, I suspect the price difference between this and a base LS3 Vette is probably even less yet. Unless you’re an avowed GM hater, there really is no comparison between the two. Hell, the Vette will even match or beat the Z in highway fuel economy with that tall 6th gear.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Jack – Kind of a strange review…you seem at odds with the general opinions on Nissan/Infiniti gear. Most people – inc myself – have nothing but praise for the GT-R sourced column mounted paddles…I’ve tried to hustle a M5 on the test track at BMW-Spartanburg and found it difficult with steering wheel mounted flappy paddles (my lack of skills do play a part of course).

    On audio/BT systems, the Nissan controls are far, far better than most…I’ve had Audi’s system as well as Toyota’s JBL-sourced audio/BT and Nissan wins hands down for intuitiveness. Of course, I drive a 2008 G35xS, so I’m used to it. I would say, ergonomically, it is far and away the best car I’ve owned.

    The upgrades to the interior are a huge step forward…Not sure that there is a better value in a RWD sports car out there today…esp if you can live with a base Z (under $30K).

  • avatar

    My father bought a 2003 350Z on a whim, because he liked the styling. It was a spare car, and in the end he rarely drove it because it was rough, loud, and didn’t handle well. Expansion joints induced a highly irritating rhythmic bobbing.

    Magazine reviews of the new 370Z have claimed that it’s a far better car, especially in terms of handling. So I’ve been wanting to drive one. Any additional details to provide in this area, Jack? The review lent me the impression that the handling still isn’t what I expect from a sports car. Steers better than a Corvette–that’s not a high bar to clear.

    TrueDelta will probably have reliability stats for this car in February…it hasn’t been easy getting together enough new sports car owners in this economy. Reliability of the 350Z has been better than average.

    To read about our research, and sign up to help:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    carguy

    The 370Z struck me as somewhat devoid of any soul – it almost seemed as if a bunch of guys in lab coats wanted to beat the Cayman in a contest of numbers and forgot to make the car fun to drive.

    What also struck me was how utterly impractical it was – 4.5″ of front ground clearance, the rear visibility of a mid-engined car and not much better out front.

    From both a driving and daily living perspective I’d choose the Genesis Coupe Track over the 370Z any day.

  • avatar

    Forgot to weigh in on mounting the paddles to the wheel vs. the column. Perhaps because I lack Jack’s mad driving skillz, I always prefer the column, because I know where to find them even when the wheel is turned.

    It might be a matter of how much the wheel is typically turned. If you’re turning the wheel just a few degrees, then you’d want them to move with the wheel. If you’re turning it enough that you must reposition your hands on the wheel, then you’d want them on the column. Does track driving tend to call for less of the latter than street driving?

  • avatar

    carguy:

    You’ve driven both the 370Z and the Genesis Coupe, and found the latter considerably more fun to drive? I found the Genesis Coupe too GT for my taste, so where does this leave the Z?

  • avatar

    Drat! I was looking forward to hearing your take on the Rev Matching Downshift feature in the manual car.
    Alas, no joy.

  • avatar
    ritchie628

    Karesh: “If you’re turning it enough that you must reposition your hands on the wheel, then you’d want them on the column.”

    Baruth: “placing the paddles on the column implicitly encourage the utterly reprehensible practice of shuffle-steering”

    Ritchie628: ” wheel mounted paddles encourage you to keep your hands on the wheel, where they belong.”

  • avatar
    carguy

    Michael Karesh – There is definitely more of a GT feel to the Genesis Coupe but I also found it to be more playful and engaging than the 370. Even when driven hard on back roads the 370 just seemed to be lacking in grin factor. I assumed that I just wasn’t thrashing it hard enough and that it was probably better suited to the track but from what I hear it needs some after market cooling in order to walk that walk.

    Make no mistake, the 370 is quicker than the Genesis – the 370 just seemed clinical.

    That kind of puts in a difficult in a difficult market niche. I also noted that the dealer was offer $2.5K+ discounts without me even asking about price.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Having driven both versions, I prefer the Infiniti G series over the Nissan Z. Both, however, are near-luxury sports cars with a paint-shaker truck engine. Too far from BMW six cylinder sliky smoothness for me. I’d take a gently used 3 Series over a new Z any day.

    Twotone

  • avatar

    Thanks, carguy. It’s so hard to find an engaging car these days. I know exactly what you mean by “clinical.”

    This is why I remain such a fan of the Mazda RX-8 and Miata, despite their many detractors–not enough power and all that.

  • avatar

    twotone: So I’m not the only one who finds the “legendary” VQ rough at high rpm?

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Admittedly biased, but I traded in a BMW for a G37s and feel it is one of the best automotive decisions I ever made. Seems like “clinical, no soul/passion” is what is said about any non-German ride that doesn’t live in the dealership’s service department. I should know, I used to say that too.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Surprised to heard so many bashing this engine as its been regarded as one of the BEST. My brother has the G35 Sedan and my wife will be getting a G35 Coupe within the next 6 months… my experience is the engine is “hearty”, in the feels like a V8 kind of way ;) Plenty of power and grunt to match yet still loves to rev.

    I think the Gs are a lot better looking then the Z. The Z simply looks too fat, if it was about 10-20% smaller all around then it would be tossable – or at least look the part. The original 240Z was sharp, but from the 300 on they’ve looked too squished. Many years ago I almost got a 300 but it was a touch too much car for me (both power and cash wise)… instead I got an Eclipse GS-T.

  • avatar
    Rada

    It is apparently a great ride, but I sat in one – and visibility is poor. Side and rear windows are non-existent.

    The feeling is like sitting in one of those boxes from big CRT TVs.

  • avatar
    Sabastian

    “The 370Z struck me as somewhat devoid of any soul – it almost seemed as if a bunch of guys in lab coats wanted to beat the Cayman in a contest of numbers and forgot to make the car fun to drive.”

    That’s an interesting observation, carguy. I’ve noticed that is sort of the trend at Nissan/Infinity. The 370Z, as you said, was made to be put up better numbers than a Cayman, but it lacks the fun. The GT-R has a similar relationship with the 911 Turbo, and the G37 vs 3-series rivalry shares the same thread. I’m starting to think that Nissan only builds cars for magazine racers…

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    JMII, the VQ series engine was wonderful back when it was 3.0L. It was still very good when enlarged to 3.5L, but the latest enlargement operation to 3.7L was probably a step too far. I think it’s hard to find an engine with cylinders larger than 0.5L that’s still smooth and sounds nice.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    Who gets this car as an automatic? In any case shuffle steering is preferred by some, hated by others. Different strokes for different strokers… personally I would hate it if the shift paddles moved with the wheel, but I would get a stick shift regardless.

    Here’s somebody who seems to do alright with shuffle steering… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMuFnaKCuaQ

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    “If the 370Z fails to touch true greatness, it also fails to truly disappoint.”

    So it’s AVERAGE at best. Thats a shame, I was hoping this little fella was going to be a contender.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    “JMII, the VQ series engine was wonderful back when it was 3.0L. It was still very good when enlarged to 3.5L, but the latest enlargement operation to 3.7L was probably a step too far.”

    There’s the clarification I was looking for. I had a Maxima with the 3.0 engine and a five speed manual and it was one of the smoothest, finest combinations that I ever owned and drove. I couldn’t understand why the 3.7 would be so much at odds with its predecessors.

  • avatar

    dolo54: the road up Pike’s Peak has very tight switchbacks. Definitely a case where paddles fixed to the column would be preferable.

    Just watched that video–incredible. Not sure I would have had the stones to even be one of the people watching from the side of the road. The cost of a miscalculated turn would have been…steep.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    Leaning back against the headrests causes their metal supports to poke out from the seatback.

    This happens a lot with my company car and several others… it is the “anti-whiplash” spring thing in the seat back that causes it.

  • avatar
    ajla

    For those that haven’t seen it, here’s a dyno comparison of the RS3800 from a Genesis Coupe and the VQ37VHR from a G37:

    G37s versus Genesis Coupe 3.8

  • avatar

    The down-sizing had my hopes up that someone was finally going to force Porsche into competition. But while they beat the numbers, feel is why people buy a Porsche over a Vette (it certainly isn’t the crappy interiors).

    Well… perhaps a non-touring version with a stick and some mild retuning might bring the car into contention. The components are there.

  • avatar
    Logans_Run

    I owned a 260Z that I bought from Dick Barbour back in 1977. It was his personal car for about a year before he got his new 280. That sucker was a rocket. He had spent a ton of money on the suspension and engine. It had recaros and 5-point seat belts. You felt every bump in the road but I got it up to 155 mph on Interstate 5 north of the Grapevine and it still had plenty of go to it. I shut it down for lack of courage more than for lack of mechanical will to run even faster. That was a performance automobile. I wish that I still had it.

  • avatar
    James2

    twotone: So I’m not the only one who finds the “legendary” VQ rough at high rpm?

    Doesn’t have to be high rpm. My sister’s 2001 Altima has a VQ engine that sounds and feels like gravel is trapped in the cylinders –and that’s just cruising at 60 mph.

  • avatar

    I get the strong impression that the VQ has been stretched too far at this point. Seems the case with a number of modern engines — the bigger Nissan QR fours and Mazda MZR have that problem as well. The 2000MZR was sweet; the 2300MZR is still civilized but notably gruffer; the 2.5 L starts to strain the patience. There’s a reason 2.5+ liter engines tend to be sixes and 3.5+ liters tend to be eights…

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    If I recall correctly our late departed Johnny Lieberman had a piece here on this website called “the curse of the 3.7″ or something to that matter. In it, he showed some 3.7 throughout history that never made it. And questioned if the VQ would prove history wrong.

    I guess not.

    As an aside, in a very smaller category, Fiat in Brazil has had of late the Fire (Fully Integrated Robotized Engine) engines in its cars. The 1.0 sounds fine, so does the 1.3 16v. But when they increased it to 1.4 8v, it got universally hammered in the harshness department. I guess there must be a limit. Any bright idea by bright TTAC readers?

  • avatar
    grifonik

    If I had to guess, and this is a total guestimate, bigger cylinders mean the engine is reciporcating more mass which amplifies any unbalanced characteristics.

    (This assumes they bored the motor more so than they stroked it.)

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    I remember riding in the hatchback area bumping my head against the glass hatch with my older sister lap belted in the front seat as my dad obeyed my giggling screams to drive faster in his 1978 brownish 280z.(on a side not where was the state to step in back in 1979?) If memory serves correctly that had a great gauge pod. Way ahead of its time.

    Mr. Nissan 370Z, I knew the 280z and you are no 280Z.

  • avatar

    The only car I’d ever buy this size would be a Veyron.

    And this thing looks like a Porsche.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    carguy :

    The 370Z struck me as somewhat devoid of any soul – it almost seemed as if a bunch of guys in lab coats wanted to beat the Cayman in a contest of numbers and forgot to make the car fun to drive.

    I think that’s mostly a genetic trait, typical of Japanese cars in general. People here always complain about German (and Italian) reliability, but Euro drivers are willing to make the trade-off in order to drive something that has a bit more soul than a mathematics formula.

    What also struck me was how utterly impractical it was – 4.5″ of front ground clearance, the rear visibility of a mid-engined car and not much better out front.

    For a daily driver I’d agree. But I pretty much give sports cars a pass on this. Besides, they were really meant to be driven topless, anyway. Spring for the drop top.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    As with Volkswagen’s New Beetle, adapting show-car style to an oversized platform-variant production model took a horrible aesthetic toll.

    I cannot agree with this, at all. Given the New Beetle design goals (something modern that has a resemblance to the original), I think they did about the best that could be expected. And, for an urban college chick (and so forth), it’s a great fit. I’m not talking drivability, since I’ve never driven one, but would think a GTI would be the way to go if THAT was of prime concern.

    Historically the Z pretty much went downhill after the 240 model. We owned a ’76 280 with British Racing Green paint and zzzzz stripes on the doors. Lovely looking car, but drove like a truck. The paint lasted a few years and then crackled, while the foam dash split apart. In the context of 1976 it was not a bad car, I guess.

    The ex’s ’82 ZX was just plain weird. 5 speed manual, a maroon fuzzy cloth interior that would not have looked out of place in a Town Car, and, if I recall correctly, this “hot” machine came equipped with a speedometer that went up to about 80mph. In those days, 55 was as fast as the government wanted you to go.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Well I just got back in after a morning and afternoon of test drives, and the 370Z was one of the “lucky” ones.
    I’ll start by saying that the 370Z was the first test drive and that compares to the RX-8 (both R3 and non-R3) driven later. Nissan **ALMOST** nailed it. They finally got a lot of the bloat out of the body. The rev matching system is just awesome and is a lot of fun on back roads. The interior is vastly improved and finally has plastics that don’t resemble Tata quality. I did feel the headrest “spikes” though – I agree with another poster – I think they are part of the anti-whiplash system.
    So far, so good…right? Well…Nissan should have stopped at 3.5L. I hate to say it, but the 3.7 is starting to remind me of the old 4.0L V6 in the Mustangs in terms of sound quality and feel. It almost feels trucklike at higher RPMs and the sound quality is nothing to brag about. Speaking of which, fire the acoustic engineers who designed that stereo…try again please. The clutch and shifter felt fine, the Z responded well if just a bit heavy feeling but the engine was just a huge letdown.
    My uncle had a 1992 300ZX TT and that was as close to a pure sportscar Japan has ever built. It had that awesome 3.0LTT engine, easy to throw shifter, stylish and VERY high quality interior, a decent cargo area and even an airbag which for Japan in 1992 was somewhat rare…they still installed those wretched door belts though.
    Now compare the new Z to the RX-8 I flogged for almost 100 miles…and a 1/2 tank of fuel later (with permission of course!!!) The front and rear visibility was far better than the Z. The engine made those turbine noises at high RPMs that sounds like nothing else on the road. The non-R3 seats were comfortable and the interior was filled with high quality materials. But most of all, and maybe it has to do with the rotary engine being mounted so low to the road, you felt connected to all four wheels and the road. There was no slop in the steering wheel, brakes, and suspension. I felt more than a little slop in the new Z. The Mazda was begging me for more and more (and when I realized I was going 130+ on I-71, I screamed LESS LESS LESS back!) while the Z seemed to be more content with just cruising.
    The Z wins in two main areas:
    Fuel economy: The only reason I would turn down the RX-8 is the fuel economy. The Z just killed the RX-8 by at least 6-8 mpg. That adds up.
    Styling: The tucked in and shrunken Z finally got rid of some of those wierd angles that the old Z had. The RX-8 looks great from some angles but somewhat lumpy around the fenders and rear doors. And the new 2010 Z ragtop…damn. The dealer had one in that Black Cherry color we’ve seen in the print ads. It looks even better in person…as in drop everything and look at it kind of nice.

    I guess if you want a fast cruiser that looks good and should be easy to feed and take care of, get the Z. If you want an engaging sports car with the nimbleness of a race car, lean towards the RX-8 or even a used Boxster.

    Tough choices…maybe this really is the golden age of cars! BTW to the previous posters – excellent comments. It’s pretty obvious what kinds of cars many of us like around here since the best comments and opinions come out when these kinds of cars are reviewed!

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    mpresley – isn’t that the same era that had the talking dash and some strange info displays? I still remember an old neighbor got one of the first 1986 Maximas (or 87 – it was the final design before the stunning 1989-90 redesign) in Ohio and it had the full digital display, talking commands, the fuzzy seats and to someone who was around 11 at the time, it was the coolest car on the planet.
    Now I look back at those designs (really, how many of us miss those graphic equalizers with at least 10 levers to mess up the sound) and just shake my head. In the high-tech 80’s, that was hot stuff!

    Now I’m going to age myself by bringing up a movie that really wasn’t that good, but I think that was the kind of Z-car Bruce Willis had in “Blind Date” – as I recall, even the seats were stolen.

  • avatar

    @dolo54: Millen doesn’t shuffle in that video unless he is applying steering input beyond what can be done with proper hand positioning. Road courses don’t have turns that tight and road racers don’t bother to drive around turns sideways because it’s slower. Autocrossers also shuffle-steer, but the Evolution school teaches a method by which the driver re-positions his hands before corner entry to avoid an in-corner shuffle.

    V-6 engines fail to feel truly sporting once they cross that three-liter barrier. The old J30 and normally-aspirated 300ZX felt pretty characterful at the lower displacement.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    theflyersfan :mpresley – isn’t that the same era that had the talking dash and some strange info displays?

    Yes indeed. I had a Maxima from that era–very nice dark red. It was squarish, but attractive.

    Its voice was a woman’s–sort of cold and not very inviting. Reminded me of the computer on Star Blech. After a couple of months she went berserk, telling me the door was open whether it was, or not. It drove ME crazy, after a while. There was only one thing I could do–I went under the dash, deep into the Nissan’s bowels doing a HAL 9000 on her. As I pulled wires I kept expecting her to say…”I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal…Dave….Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it…”

  • avatar
    ambulancechaser

    At 6’4″ I fit into neither the 370Z nor RX-8. I’ll have the corvette then, and have room in the back for more than a deck of cards too!

  • avatar

    Jack – I’m not sure why you would drive the slushbox version of this car. It is true that they will sell these to someone, but the enthusiast minority will buy the six-speed. My son brought over his six speed last weekend and I drove it back to back against the Honda S2000, on roads I have driven many times in my own 335i. The Z is an honest-to-god sports car with all of its own quirks (what you refer to in Euro-vehicles as “character”). The thrummy nature of the 3.7 l V6 is just one of these. The car I drove had been helped along with Stillen exhaust system and cold air intake, and the resultant sound was a wonderfully muted howl at full throttle, while offering just enough volume for quiet cruising at street throttle openings. So give it demerits for not sounding properly sports-car-esque from the factory; the same can be said for any of the wheezy air-cooled Porsches, or even the stellar 2 l in the S2000.

    Overall I’d give the Z four stars, bumping up a half star for value. I did drive a PDK-equipped Cayman S quite recently and sincerely covet that automobile, but am also put off by the easy $65k for a two-person car. It is a great car, but every bit as soul-less (quietly competent) as the Z.

    I’d give Nissan credit for putting a tasty Z car into play.

  • avatar
    resdm50

    It’s pretty bold in my opinion to test an AUTO, non-sport 370z and then nit-pick about the performance. Why not take out one with the sport package and a manual transmission?? That being said, the auto is still a very solid performer, one major publication recently hit 4.6 0-60 with it, hardly slow by any means.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t help but sense a bit of bias against the 370 in this review….

  • avatar
    Styles79

    Leaning back against the headrests causes their metal supports to poke out from the seatback.

    This happens a lot with my company car and several others… it is the “anti-whiplash” spring thing in the seat back that causes it.

    Reactive head restraints I think they call it, and man, do they work. My X-Trail got rear-ended by a large flatbed (with van loaded on it) last year, and I can tell you I had no whiplash at all.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    twotone :
    October 9th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Having driven both versions, I prefer the Infiniti G series over the Nissan Z. Both, however, are near-luxury sports cars with a paint-shaker truck engine. Too far from BMW six cylinder sliky smoothness for me. I’d take a gently used 3 Series over a new Z any day.

    Twotone

    I wouldn’t call the Infiniti engine rough, but it definitely isn’t as refined as the BMW’s six. Then again, nothing is refined as the BMW’s six.

    But the Infiniti’s value factor is simply amazing – if you compare the G37 sedan with the 335, there’s a $10,000 difference for fully loaded examples. Or you can spend G37 money on the BMW and end up with vinyl seats, no lumbar supports, no seat heaters, and a crappy radio.

    Infiniti’s catching up.

  • avatar
    PG

    I lusted after the 350Z in high school, and when I was buying a new car recently, I drove one and was hugely let down. The interior was dismal, full of parts from other, perhaps better Nissans, and it lacked even a glove compartment. The exhaust note was awful and the handling left a lot to be desired. I bought a WRX instead.

    I haven’t driven the 370Z yet, but I’ve heard it’s a much better sportscar. Hopefully it’s less poser-y than its predecessor. Like some of the folks here have said, you’re better off with a used (or new, I guess) Corvette.

  • avatar

    @resdm50: I couldn’t agree more. The car we tested is the car Nissan wanted us to test. You can bet your ass I’d rather have taken a NISMO Z around Mid-Ohio all day and reported on that.

    I had two press cars at a time during that week: a Whipplecharged FRPP Mustang GT five-speed with Track Pack and this 370Z. Guess which one sat in the driveway doing nothing?

  • avatar
    mofobaru

    @rada. “The feeling is like sitting in one of those boxes from big CRT TVs.”

    My thoughts exactly. The high belt line, gun slit windows and huge blind spots really isolate from the driving pleasure.

    re. Rev matching 370 manual. It works as advertised. Neat feature. But I found the 370’s clutch to be grabby, the gear shift notchy and imprecise. I also drove the automatic 370 and preferred it to the stick version.

  • avatar
    kamikaze2b

    As a claimed car expert and you don’t even know about active head restraints? Please educate yourself before you criticize!

    This car has 95% of the performance of a Cayman S, at 50% of the cost. And you are correct about the vette, I haven’t seen any 50 something, balding paunchy men drving the Z in the slow lane on Sunday………….

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Put me firmly in the RX-8 camp.

    No other car at anywhere near the price handles as well, while being comfortable enough to be a daily driver.

    Yes the RX-8 could use another 35-50 horses (it really wouldn’t need much more), but it does very well with what it has. The lack of torque is compensated for by a very linear, and motorcycle-esque RPM band.

    While I won’t throw rocks at the Nissan, and while I haven’t driven the 370Z, which is rumored to be much improved over the 350Z, I can say with complete honesty that the 350Z I drove on many occasions was the closest thing to a Japanese Camaro I’ve ever stumbled across.

    All that aside, the Nissan VQ series of motors continue to impress, and now have a history rivaling some of the best engines in automotive history.


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