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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Nissan 370Z Coupe GT

Click to view picture gallery“Zed is a letter woven throughout
  Nissan’s sports car tableau, a series
  that sparked off with the hunky
  240Z just as the Swinging Sixties
  gave way to the Hippy era; eventually
  it was trumped by the 350Z that in
  turn was superseded by the current
  Z-car, powered by a muscular 3.7-litre
  V6
the 370Z...”


THE 370Z IS A BEGUILINGLY EASY SPORTS COUPE to lust after. Alternatives are thin on the ground — Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Porsche Cayman — and will set you back 10K to 17K more. Facing them down in a beauty pageant, the 370Z's brawny good looks are hard to beat.

Rolling on fetching 19-inch RAYS alloy wheels, the two-seater 370Z sports a ready-to-rumble stance and a thousand-yard stare. With its muscular bodywork and wheelarches, a cockpit set well back at the end of a long bonnet with distinctive 'arrowhead' lights, and 'boomerang'-style rear light clusters and a brace of meaty exhaust pipes at the short wraparound tail, it's visually licensed to thrill. Topping it off is a dramatic new paint finish called Infra Red. Stunning.

The 370Z sure looks
like it goes — and with
323bhp lurking in its
engine bay, it surely
does: off the blocks to
62mph takes a rorty 5.3
seconds and the
top speed is limited to
155mph.
In between it serves up
huge pace...”
It for sure looks like it goes — and with 323bhp lurking in its engine bay, it does indeed 'GO': off the blocks to 62mph takes a rorty 5.3 seconds and the top speed is limited to 155mph. In between it serves up huge pace.

If 323bhp isn't quite enough to appease your right foot there's also a Nismo (Nissan Motorsport) version that extracts 339bhp from the same 3.7-litre engine. The 323bhp GT version is backed by a hefty 267lb ft of torque and the exciting news is that it comes not from a laggy turboed unit but from a direct-injected, double overhead cam, unleaded-drinking 3,696cc V6. A six-speed manual 'box is standard although both the GT and Nismo versions can, should you prefer, be rowed along using a sweet, seven-speed autobox with paddle-shifters.

Drop into the low-slung driver's seat and you'll have no complaints. The all-black cabin's a strict two-seater, which is the best set-up by far for a hard-edged driving machine and the cockpit is clearly designed to both please and serve the driver. The leather-upholstered (with suede centre panels) sports-style seats are effectively bolstered and hold you snugly in place without trapping you when it comes to climbing out.

The multifunction steering wheel (voice, phone, cruise, speed limiter, audio, vehicle info), wrapped in leather with grippy, perforated work areas, only adjusts for height but that doesn't prevent you from setting a perfectly accommodating driving position, with fine views ahead and to the sides in the power-adjustable seat both are electrically adjustable and have two-stage heating, plus the driver gets manual lumbar adjustment.

The instrument panel is sportingly laid out with a large central rev-counter and a multi-info trip computer to the left. Fit and finish is neat and there are some unusual but unique touches — for instance, the outer eyeball air vents are set in the doors so you can accurately target where the airflow goes (the automatic climate control delivers plenty of whatever temperature air you've dialled up); strategically placed belt holders ensure your seatbelt is always ready so you'll never have to scrabble to belt up. Keyless Entry and Start likewise make for faster entries and quicker getaways, and there's a large well-angled aluminium left-footrest for when you're in the cruise.

Well-managed body
control, decent steering
with tactile ‘heft’,
and trustworthy grip
(rubber is Bridgestone:
245/40 front, 275/35 rear)
together ensure that
every drive — however
brief or extended —
never fails
to be rewarding...”
Naturally an infotainment and SatNav system is fitted with a seven-inch screen that also show the view from the rear camera (for the record, despite the narrow but wide back screen, over-the-shoulder reversing is not a problem and views of the following traffic are perfectly okay). Also included is a 9.4GB hard disk drive for music storage, a DVD player, Bluetooth audio streaming and handsfree phone operation, USB connectivity, 8-speaker Bose HiFi, and voice recognition.

And it's a reliable SatNav too, with full postcode destination entry (using the touchscreen or master control knob it's nice to have the choice), posted speed limits shown on the crystal clear mapping, and foolproof and informative verbal directions.

While its appeal to poseurs is understandable, the 370Z's 'pull' — from what's under the skin — will first and foremost be to keen driver's eager to enjoy the more visceral thrills that come from a potent front-engined, rear-drive machine. The facelifted 2018-year models benefit from some useful dynamic 'tweaks', including a high-performance clutch and suspension recalibrated for even more positive roadholding and predictability.

Well-managed body control, decent steering with tactile 'heft', and trustworthy grip (rubber is Bridgestone: 245/40 front; 275/35 at the rear) together ensure that every drive — however brief or extended — never fails to be rewarding. Nissan's engineers have also managed to instil a composure into this unashamedly out-and-out sports car so that not only is it a riot to drive hard but at the same time is unexpectedly well-riding.

Scrubbing off speed and stopping are amply taken care of by first-rate, fade-free ventilated anchors with plenty of feel from the centre pedal, and fulsome bite when called for.

Injecting the 'fury' into the 370Z's dynamic mix is the eager-to-perform V6. It's a lovely powerplant, one of the best around, and dishes out a generous helping of prancing horses for your bucks; more than the equivalent amount of money would buy you in, say, a Porsche Cayman.

The near-four-litre
capacity normally-
aspirated Vee
is as punchy as you’d
hope: low-down,
even though it’s not
reached its peak, it’s still
gutsy; midway up
the rev-band, at around
3,500rpm, it really
gets into its stride —
push on to the limiter at
7,500 and it just gets
more enthusiastic.
And the harder you
charge, the more
full-blooded is the
exhaust soundtrack...”
The near-four-litre capacity, normally-aspirated Vee is as punchy as you'd hope; low-down, even though it's not reached its peak, it's still gutsy; midway up the rev-band, at around 3,500rpm, it really gets into its stride — push on to the limiter at 7,500 and it just gets more enthusiastic. And the harder you charge, the more full-blooded is the exhaust soundtrack.

The six ratios are well stacked and accessing them is part of the fun, courtesy of the sturdy stick shift's precise gate action although if you're feeling lazy it's happy to surge forward in most gears without any need to drop down.

There's also auto synchronised rev-matching that, in S-Mode in manual cars, auto adjusts the engine revs to match the next selected gear ratio — with a pert blip of the throttle done for you when you change down. An appreciated game-enhancer for trackday outings.

You can choose from three specs: the standard 370Z, a GT version and the range-topping Nismo. In addition to items already motioned, the GT is well equipped with active noise cancellation, active sound enhancement, cruise control with speed limiter, Bose hifi, powerfolding heated door mirrors, one-shot windows and, for those who know what a J-turn is, a trad handbrake.

Safety kit includes a pedestrian-friendly bonnet, active headrests, six airbags, hill start assist, drive-off auto door locking, tyre pressure monitoring, auto lites 'n' wipes, UV reducing solar glass, self-levelling LED headlights and daytime running lights, LED rear lights, first aid kit, two hi-vis jackets, a vehicle dynamic control system and a viscous limited slip diff.

If you want a genuine two-seater sports coupe don't expect estate car load-lugging. Actually, despite being on the shallow side, the 370's boot will accommodate a useful — and perfectly fine for two — 235 litres of baggage, be it shopping or squashy weekender cases or even two golf bags (yes, really!).

Unless you and your significant other exceed six-foot you should also be able to fit more between the seatbacks and the rear bulkhead. There's a rear screen-hugging mesh roller blind to keep the boot's contents hidden from prying eyes but with different sized tyres front and rear don't expect a full-size spare wheel. You do get a rear wash/wipe — essential for the UK's predominantly wet climate.

Smaller items will find homes in the cabin, with dual-use cupholders, a useful damped and lockable glovebox, a storage box under the centre armrest, can-holding door bins, and seatback pockets.

A rewarding driver's car for those who like to physically drive and not fall back on high-tech to massage their skills, the persuasively rapid 370Z serves up a satisfying 'hit' for your money. No surprise then that it enjoys a cult-like following. ~ MotorBar
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Nissan 370Z Coupe GT | 34,285
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 5.3 seconds | Test Average: 26.8mpg
Power: 323bhp | Torque: 267lb ft | CO2: 248g/km

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