370z Positive Review
Driving down the street in a Nissan 370z is a joy. People glance at you and then double take. From the outside, the z car is sharp but with curves in all the right places. Even better than the view from the outside, is the sensation of being in the driver’s seat. It has performance that matches its looks and a price that fits a moderate budget. Whether it’s the car you take to the racetrack on the weekends or your daily driver, the z is a great ride. The 370z comes from a legacy of z cars, starting with the Datsun 240z, which came to the United States in 1970. After years of refinement, the current 370z car steps up to the competition as the best affordable sports car available.
When you step into a 370z, there is a rush of emotion. I can best describe it as a mixture of excitement and respect for the power that is at under your foot. The modern, clear, yet aggressive gauges all move to their limits and back at the start of the car, just daring you to put your foot down. The exhaust note is low and ready. This is all a lot to handle for a sixteen-year-old boy, so I dealt with it by sitting in the garage with the car mentally preparing for a month or so before I could legally drive it. Once I pulled out of the garage and on to the road, I was able to appreciate the full ability of the 370z as a true drivers car. From a stand still, 0-60mph flies by in 4.7 seconds of mind-blowing acceleration. This matches the numbers of muscle cars such as the Mustang GT, and the Camaro SS, which are the main American competitors in the price range. You may say “So what if it ‘matches’ its competitors” and the answer to that is seen on the track. The z, being much lighter than the Camaro SS and the Mustang GT, can take corners without tilting dangerously due to its shorter wheelbase and wider axles. Some may point out that unlike its American counterparts, the z does not have a back seat, but my question is are we talking about a sports car or a family sedan? Another aspect that facilitates the 370z domination on the track is a first ever technology called syncro-rev match. When approaching a corner on the track (or on the road), you have to slow down in order to not fly off your course and downshift in order to stay in the cars optimum power band. To do this successfully on a manual transmission in a normal car, one has to heal and toe which means you have to engage the clutch and rev the throttle to the correct rpm to have a smooth downshift. Syncro-rev match does this for you, so all you have to do is down shift without blipping the throttle for a perfect transition of power. All this is to say that the 370z is performance without compromise, holding to the legacy of its predecessors while advancing with break through technology.
Although it is performance without compromise, that is not to say that it lacks in comforts or gizmos on the inside. It is admittedly a little bit of a drop to get into the car since its only about six inches off the ground, but once your down there its like you’ve walked into a Best Buy department store. The gauges are crisp. The navigation system could direct you to your space-time location of choice. And all this can take place while you are talking with your friend through the hands free phone system incorporated on the steering wheel. Also, using the navigation touch screen, you can check the weather, check traffic conditions, and control the sound system. The sound system is one of my favorite features in the car. With the premium Bose sound package, the small cabin is infused with eight speakers plus two dual subwoofers. To use this incredible system there are six possible sources of sound; a six CD changer, a radio, an XM satellite radio, a USB iPod connection, a built in 9.3 GB music box, and a Bluetooth wireless audio system. And the music volume is speed sensitive, so as you speed up the music plays louder to equalize road noise. Additionally, if you just have to watch Finding Nemo one more time, the car has DVD playback capability, which can actually be good for entertaining kids. All of the electronics interfaces are calmed down by a sleek, white leather interior that gives you great lumbar support and holds you in your seat if you’re at the track. The seats can be adjusted electronically and have heaters built in to them for those cold mornings when you have to go to school even though you were planning on it being cancelled for “snow.” Once springtime roles around, the new problem is allergies. No fear! The car can fix it all with its in cabin air micro filter. The engineers at Nissan must have had themselves spinning backwards thinking of all these features, which brings me to the subject of putting the car in reverse. As soon as you click the gearshift into reverse, a real time camera pops up on the nav. screen, which is great for backing out of parking spaces and avoiding those crazy lower school moms. In reverse, the screen also shows the cars predicted course when you turn the steering wheel, so curved driveways are not a problem. You can still do it the old fashion way with the mirror, but even the simple mirror is more than it seems. For example, if you are driving down the road at night with the blinding lights of a tailgater reflecting in your eyes, the mirror will sense the intense light and dim it for you.
But since most of your time will be spent driving the car rather than playing with all the features (hopefully or else you’ll end up against a tree), lets get back to drivability. I’ve talked a lot about the 370z’s performance on the racetrack, but chances are, most people will use it on public roads. One tiny complaint that some people have brought forth is that there is a bit of road noise on the highway and the engine is load at high rpm. The road noise is because the wheel wells are deep up into the curves of the car so that the car can sit lower to the ground and the engine is loud at high rpm (Figure 5) because it is simply powerful and I would be disappointed if my sports car softly whirred like a Toyota Prius.
Speaking of environmentally friendly cars, the 370z does well on fuel economy getting 19mpg in the city and 26mpg on the highway in both the automatic and manual versions. CO2 emissions are also relatively low for a sports car of the 370z’s caliber and run at about 245g/km.
One concern that prospective customers may have is whether or not the Nissan 370z is safe. Since the z is a small car, this is a valid concern, but Nissan has done a lot to protect its customers. On impact, the car basically turns into a raspberry of airbags (Figure 5). The z is equipped with dual stage supplemental front airbags, driver and passenger seat mounted side air bags, and roof mounted side impact airbags for head protection. Of course there are advanced seatbelts with pretension and load limiters, and in the event of a rear end collision, the Active Head Restraints push forward to prevent neck injuries. Structurally, the z is designed with crumple zones, an impact absorbing steering column, and a stabilizing bar behind the seats in case the car rolls over. Other features that the z has that prevent you from having an accident are Vehicle Dynamic Control with advanced Traction Control, tire pressure monitoring systems, and anti-lock brakes. In the car, regardless of road conditions, you feel locked down to the pavement with plenty of stopping power derived from the massive four-piston, fourteen-inch brakes.
All of these features together create an incredible machine. Walking up to the car in the parking lot, you feel the way a proud owner should. The other day I came out of a movie at Amstar and there was a group of maybe 12 people that I have never seen before standing around it because they had never seen anything like it before. If I wanted to keep the exterior perfectly clean, I’d have to wash off all the handprints on a daily basis. In both looks and performance, the 370z even upstages cars like the Porsche Cayman even though the Cayman is almost double the price of the z. In terms of performance, drivability, efficiency, and looks you can’t find bettwe value for your money. For all it has to offer compared to cars in and above its class, the 370z is clearly the best affordable sports car available.
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