February 01, 2010
Above is a taste of what the road that I live on looks like. That stretch of tarmac shown looks gnarly, but you don't get a sense of how epically bad it is until you've driven it in the Z. It's like getting punched in the chin by Mike Tyson and watching Shrek Forever After in 3-D, both at the same time. After getting my bones jolted from their sockets during my first few passes, I learned to take it real slow over that patch. Like, barely moving slow.
Otherwise, the Z was a blast. Exceptionally controlled, with superb handling. Just watch out for the rough spots.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 18,755 miles
January 21, 2010
Good grief this car is noisy. I know we keep going on about it, but there's really not much else to dislike about this car - but it's damn near a deal breaker.
The solution? Loud music. Really, really loud music.
The stereo can handle it (pretty well I might add) and if you can too, the buzzing and relentless noise this car generates is drowned out and all you're left with is the experience you expected to have in first place. I actually drove this thing way better once I stopped being so distracted by all the racket it makes.
Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 18,217 miles
January 08, 2010
What the hell is taking so long for Gran Turismo 5 to come out? They built Rome faster. Like you, I was hoping for Santa to bring me a copy, but no, now Sony says it'll be summer before the fun begins.
Meanwhile, I've been playing a lot of Need For Speed. Yeah, I know. It's a game for wanks. It's arcade-y. Not realistic enough. But it's fun and Kevin Smith our Editorial Director is heavy into Forza 3 so I keep from playing it for political reasons that I really shouldn't go into here. Plus, I can drive a silver 2009 Nissan 370Z just like our long-term car on nights when I've gotten home in some other, maybe, less interesting ride.
Not that the 370Z is exclusive to NFS. The GT5 North American "Time Trial Challenge" competition involves playing through a demo that has you race a Nissan 370Z on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
You drive the course in two time trial events, aiming for the best combined lap time. And if you're really good, you could be the one U.S. resident or the one Canadian resident (one of each) to win VIP packages to the 2010 Indy 500. Check out this demo video, then tell me which game you're into: GT5 or NFS or FM3. Or, do you prefer to go out and actually drive real cars?
January 07, 2010
I have to agree with Erin Riches on this one, the suede trim on the 370Z is pretty cool for a car in this price range. Not that the 370Z is inexpensive by any means, but most manufacturers save the suede/Alcantara stuff for their top-end models. Odd that that GT-R's interior was covered in it.
But anyway, it's something I notice every time I get in the 370 which goes to show how even the small trim details can make a big difference when they're done right. I'd love to swap the big pieces of plastic on the doors of our Camaro with trim like this, it would makes a world of difference.
Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor
January 06, 2010
I've asked a few people on staff what they think about the noise levels in the Nissan 370Z. We all pretty much agree that there is entirely too much road noise.
There is also a lot of engine noise, but that is actually quite lovely. The road noise, however, is a bit much. (I'm not sure why I'm writing like a Brit today with the "lovely" "quite" and " a bit" but go with me.)
When you have such a stiff suspension on a car like the Z, there is bound to be some noise. The road, tires, chassis, all contribute to this cacophony. When you don't have music on to drown it out, it's really really loud. I thought my Acura Integra let the road bleed in, but this is much more.
With that said, this is an extremely fun car to drive. The price you pay is the noise. But this is also supposed to be a car you can drive on a daily basis. And let's face it, how many times during your commute do you get to kick it out? Maybe when you scoot up an on-ramp or find a short stretch of open road. We're usually stuck in traffic or driving surface streets. Unless you are on a perfectly paved surface, you're gonna get the noise.
How do you feel about a noisy car? Does the fun factor outweigh the annoyance?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
January 06, 2010
Here is what it sounds like when you start the Z:
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
January 05, 2010
I'll grant you this: The 332-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 in our 2009 Nissan 370Z serenades you with all kinds of noise and vibration when you ride close to its 7,500-rpm redline.
But I would still take this V6 over almost every other six-cylinder in this price range, because like it or lump it, the VQ-series V6 is athletic. There's enough torque to get the car out of the hole in a hurry and power builds noticeably as you work up to higher engine speeds. This engine isn't about having a nice-and-easy flat torque band; you're building up to something.
I just can't get excited about the 306-hp 3.8-liter V6 in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the 304-hp 3.6-liter V6 in the Chevrolet Camaro. They sound pretty good. They have nice, flat torque bands. But there's no athleticism in the way they rev, and if you're driving a car with two doors, why scrimp on that?
Of course, the twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 3.0-liter inline-6 in the BMW 135i gives me pause. It has that perfectly flat, boring torque curve I've railed against, but it's so powerful and so smooth, and I so can't be blamed for liking it...
And maybe there's an opportunity here for the 2011 Mustang and its 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 if it can combine genuine performance character with a little refinement than our Z's brutish V6.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 18,047 miles
January 04, 2010
Our long-term Nissan 370Z was just what I needed over the long holiday weekend: fun. And it has four times the range of our Mini E. Literally. I got 360 miles on a tank.
If you have the time, energy and enthusiasm to appreciate the Z coupe, this is a neat car. Every drive is exciting in the 370Z. The steering is quick. The suspension is stiff. The car's responses to input feel immediate. And when the six-speed gearbox is in proper working order, it's fun to shift. I like the almost leaden weighting of the shifter through the gates, along with the precise clutch takeup. And honestly, the 3.7-liter V6 is fine, too, even with its strained character at high rpm. It has a lusty sound at startup and at low rpm. And I can't think of another V6 in this price range that matches its torque response.
But for myself I'd take the 370Z roadster. And I mean it. I'd like to own a Z roadster. Because (1) the handling is 98 percent as sharp; and (2) the ride is quieter because there's a full bulkhead. Yes, this a backdoor slam on hatchbacks, because, well, with that open cargo area, they can be noisy.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 18,002 miles
January 03, 2010
When we configured our 2009 Nissan 370Z car for the long-term fleet, we made sure to get the sport package and a manual transmission.
We also wanted to test out Nissan's new SynchroRev Match, which makes driving a manual transmission car even easier. This feature automatically blips the throttle when a downshift is initiated. It basically performs a smooth heel-toe downshift for you.
Easy and fun.
For explanation for SynchroRev Match, read this Straightline post from our Engineering Editor Jay Kavanagh.
Let's give our Nissan Z another chance at Car of the Week.
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
Nissan 370Z Touring: Wraparound Look
December 29, 2009
We just had the new Lotus Evora in our lot (more on that in coming weeks), and the greenhouse had a wonderful wraparound look - almost like a private jet. It was really due to the exaggerated curve of the windshield and the shape of the side glass, but the A-pillar was also blacked out. I hopped from the diminutive Lotus into our long-term Z and it got me thinking, "would that treatment work on the Z?" In the image above, you'll see it switch back and forth. It's really subtle, but I think it works. Photo credit to the talented Mr. Sadlier.
Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 17,630 miles