2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Gas Station Engineering
October 28, 2009
The guy I know who owns a gas station admits that he's an idiot. In a misguided attempt to represent what he sells, he put a set of gas station tires on his 1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible. They wear like iron (apparently no one who buys gas station tires ever thinks about braking distances or wet weather traction), but they're so noisy that he can't stand to drive the car for more than 45 minutes. He feels like a fool for cheaping out and saving a few dollars.
The Nissan 370Z gives me the same feeling. Every time the tire roar gets so overwhelming that the radio volume needs to go up to maximum, I think about the Nissan engineers cheaping out on the acoustic insulation for the cabin air extractors. Such a little thing that you'd never think any individual driver would notice and yet a huge cost savings spread over a lifetime of production. Seems like it's worth saving $5, doesn't it? And of course it ends up undercutting the whole driving experience.
A fix has already come down the production line we understand, but it's little compromises like this that always worry me about the long-term effect that the Renault way of doing business will have on the Nissan way of engineering. I don't want a generation of automobiles designed for people who buy their tires at gas stations.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 14,250 miles