370Z Roadster 7-speed Auto GT Pack+SatNav
per cent of Nissans
might be taken up by do-it-all family
models, but Nissan also
make some pretty good sports cars.
This Spring, convertible lovers
can enjoy going topless with the
new 370Z Roadster...
SPORTS CARS are among the first models to accelerate out of sales recessions,
so the arrival of the latest Nissan 370Z Roadster could not have come at a better
The latest incarnation of the legendary Z-series, which can trace back their
history over 40 years, brings welcome open-topped desirability to the brand.
Nissan say the UK is the best market for the car and expect to sell about 400
Z Roadsters this year compared to 600 Coupes.
The new 370Z shares the latest low emission tweaks to its 323bhp 3.7-litre V6
engine as fitted to the Coupe variant, but that's about where the similarity
ends because the Roadster was designed from the ground-up as an open-topped
car. It has a different body/chassis to provide additional stiffness with reduced
flexing without compromising safety, and the powered fabric hood sits under
a solid cover ahead of the usual boot.
The single-touch hood folds away (or into place) in about 20 seconds and its
position under the rear deck means it does not eat into the boot space or create
a blind spot in the mirror.
And it's a very snug fitting hood too; in place, there's no wind noise and,
helped by the rear baffle panel, low seating position and deep windows, the
open style does not suffer from much wind turbulence around the cabin area.
All Z models are available with Connect Premium entertainment and SatNav system
(as in the GT-R) but the model options have been slightly rationalised to reflect
customer taste. Adding about £1,900 to the tin-top's prices, the 370Z Roadster
line-up mirrors the Coupe's base, GT Pack and GT Pack+SatNav; transmission choices
are between a six-speed manual or the new seven-speed paddle-shift automatic.
First impressions of the latest Nissan 370Z Roadster evoke memories of the 350Z
Roadster and, hood up or down, it's is a very stylish sports car. The powered
top is extremely simple to operate: dropping the windows, lifting the rigid
tonneau cover and then folding it all away ready to drive off is done without
any human intervention apart from initially pressing the appropriate button.
it's paper performance figures max speed of 155mph and 0-62mph in 5.8
seconds I did not find it as quick as I was expecting for a sports car;
there's an uncharacteristically long initial delay in acceleration pick-up.
However, once underway the action was uninterrupted, smooth and quiet.
the move, even with the side windows down, wind buffeting was very low. Thankfully
the heater pumps out an abundance of hot air and on summery days the air-conditioned
seats will be a real boon. Drivers will also appreciate the good all round visibility
and the 370Z can be precisely placed on the road or in a parking spot.
to steering, throttle
and brakes the
handling never gave a
the gears it is brisk, the steering is direct and brakes very powerful but I
found the suspension too firm and sometimes very bumpy on secondary roads now
liberally sprinkled with potholes although on a good dual carriageway it was
That said, there's no noticeable twisting or vibration from the open bodywork
and the 370Z Roadster responds well to steering, throttle and brakes
the handling never gave a moment's concern. For the first time the Roadster
comes with an advanced seven-speed automatic transmission and it's a particularly
good set-up with excellent ratios and smoothness.
Inside a sports car it's always a challenge to find meaningful storage space
but the Roadster's designers have done a pretty good job at creating bins, trays
and lidded compartments and the boot holds up to 140 litres not a lot
but enough for a decent sized sports bag or small golfing bag.
The 370Z's new ICE system is borrowed from the GT-R and comes equipped with
a 40GB hard drive and advanced Satellite Navigation. The dashboard-mounted screen
has a resolution now four times higher, while the new unit features a touchscreen
display, DVD functionality, iPod USB connectivity and coverage of more European
countries than ever. The system also offers 10GB storage for music files which
can be imported direct from your CD collection. All in all, a highly refined
ICE system which matches the sophistication of the powertrain and it all comes
at a price which is ultra-competitive when compared to German rivals.
Good points include the smooth powertrain, crisp exhaust note, great grip and
stylish looks. Not so good is the slow operating hood, lumpy ride on secondary
roads and the small boot. However, not to be overlooked is that the 370Z is
rarer than most drop-top competitors which for many owners will only add to
its desirability. Robin Roberts
Nissan 370Z Roadster 7-speed
GT Pack+SatNav | £36,150
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 5.8 seconds | Overall test MPG: 24.2mpg
Power: 323bhp | Torque: 270lb ft | CO2 254g/km