2009 Nissan 370Z: Numbers, Schmumbers
May 05, 2009
Whenever I drive our long-term 370Z, I'm led to an overwhelming question:
Why don't I want this car?
I should. I'm smack dab in the middle of the target demographic. Twentysomething guy, likes speed, cares about handling, doesn't care about practicality. But the Z turns me off every time. It makes me think of all the cars I'd rather have at this general price point. S2000. 1 Series. 328i. Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track. G37. RX-8 (and I don't even like the styling). Camaro SS (and I haven't even driven it yet).
Yes, the Z will mop the test track with most of the above, but I don't care. Cars are about more than just the numbers, and that's where the Z falls short. The quality of its interior materials is extraordinary (better than the G37, I'd say), and its ride is surprisingly supple, but road noise is raucous even at moderate speeds. The 3.7-liter V6 makes big power, but it sounds like a Frontier on steroids -- it's so loud and thrashy above 5,000 rpm that I keep it out of that range unless absolutely necessary, which is something that should never be said about a sports car. The tires have mondo grip, and body roll is barely perceptible, but the Z feels big and burly in the twisties, more fullback than wide receiver.
So what if it performs like a champ on track day? Sports cars should make me want to take the long way home. This one doesn't.
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor @ 5,776 miles