I’ve already gushed about how impressive the 370Z is visually, so the question is: Does the drive live up to the aggressive lines? The answer is absolutely, positively yes.
Inside, the 370Z is unmistakably a Z car, having carried over several styling cues from the original cars and the 350Z. While many complained the 350Z was too snug inside, the 370Z feels somehow more roomy. Even though the cabin feels a bit wider, it actually feels more battle ready. The side windows are very short, with the roof wrapping down beside your head. The rear quarter windows are almost non existent, which means the c-pillar blind spot is large enough to hide a Peterbuilt. This creates a closed in feeling like you are protected from enemy fire, ready to attack. Just like in the 350Z, all controls fall readily at hand. Nissan enthusiasts will feel instantly at home thanks to familiar locations and functions.
When trying to reinvent a superstar, a manufacturer has to be careful not to lose any of those special qualities that made the car a winner. With a sports coupe as good as the 350Z, that means the car has to be fast, handle well and be incredibly driver friendly.
With an increase from 3.5 liters to 3.7 with 332 horsepower reaching the rear wheels through a sweet shifting 6 speed manual or an optional 7 speed automatic for you non shifters. The Z launches hard off the line and the normally aspirated V6 pulls strongly at pretty much any rpm. That hard launch is one of my few quibbles with the Z, as the nose rises like a 50’s era gasser in 1st & 2nd. I suspect the re-valved shocks in the upcoming Nismo Z will deal with that. Of course the snarl from the exhaust is music to the ears of a gearhead.
There isn’t too much that can be said about the handling when driving responsibly on the street. The 370Z feels like a Z. Get onto a windy rural road and push it a little harder and the techno nannies are tuned just right to allow a little bit of drift angle before protecting one from oneself. Even still, the DSC is so subtle that most drivers likely will never notice it activating. For most drivers there really is no reason to ever turn this feature off. Other reviewers have carped about the amount of tire noise transmitted through the cabin. I’ll admit the noise is a bit excessive, it really isn’t all that bad. Take a ride in an RX-8 on the highway and then get back to me about noise.
One thing just about everyone complained about with the 350 was the complete lack of cargo space and what little in cabin storage there was, was hard to reach behind the seats. The 370Z actually has a couple of decent sized cubbies behind the front seats that don’t require contortions to access. The cargo area now has enough space for a couple to put just enough stuff for a weekend away. Just.
Overall, the 370Z is an improvement in just about every way over an already fabulous car. The team at Nissan should be proud of the machine they’ve created.
You can expect a whole lot more Z car love here in The Garage over the coming days. I am in San Jose for the launch of the 2010 370Z Roadster and Nismo Z. You can expect lots of photos and impressions on Wednesday!