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Nissan 370Z
    Change Model
This Car Has Been Discontinued.
Customer Rating
: N/A
Expert Rating
: 8/10
Warranty
: 2 Yrs / 80,000 kms (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
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Strong Areas

  • Super-model look
  • Luxurious interiors
  • Powerful performance
  • Convenience of auto transmission 
  • Loaded safety and stability features

Weak Areas

  • Low mileage
  • Two-seater only
  • Exorbitant price
  • Low product awareness
  • Absence of diesel model 
Nissan 370Z
 
 

Nissan's Formula Z

The new Nissan 370Z Tourning Coupe is well built, fast, comfortable, reliable and overall amazing to drive. Besides its affordability makes it even more desirable.


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

With rear-wheel, 332bhp and four decades of sporting heritage, Nissan’s new Z has Porsche-munching ability. And the best news is that it could be headed here!

Technical briefings during a new car launch in Japan are a bit like going back to school. You are sat at individual desks, as the chief engineer of the project normally takes you through a number of slides explaining the intricacies of the new car’s design. I’m usually totally riveted, trying to catch ever word in between scribbling notes and sifting hype from fact. Then, of course, comes the marketing spiel. The positioning of the car, the average customer, PC or Mac, eggs fried or scrambled; boxers or briefs… you get it. With lights dimmed and drone from the marketing exec, this often turns into a snore fest. “The earlier Z was marketed in the regions marked in orange on the map”; my eyelids fill with lead. A 12-hour flight, jetlag, Japanese coffee, the effects are brutal. But then, just as I’m about to drift off, the map of India lights up…. “and in blue is where we will sell the new 370Z”. WHAAA!! Daydreaming was I? Has someone had inadvertently pulled the wrong slide and stuck it in the presentation? Probably, because no one there denied it!

A quick flip through a Japanese Nissan dealership brochure, to equate the price of this car with that of the Teana already being sold in India, brings me to the rough and ready figure of around Rs 31 lakh. Assuming Nissan prices it similarly, this could be the sports car bargain enthusiasts have been waiting for here. Especially since Nissan claim the Z is 20 percent better than the earlier car, the one I had earlier been totally besotted with!

09:30 on Nissan’s agenda: meet in hotel lobby to drive out to the mountain roads around Mount Fuji. These guys sure have got their priorities right. The big V6 fires with a deep-chested BOOM BOOM rattling glass panes in the lobby. Porters stop and stare, a pair of 20-something in mini skirts squeal in delight and an American tourist blurts ‘baad asss’ laud enough to get the attention of the security. This new edition of Nissan’s famous VQ motor has a capacity of almost four litres. Using variable valve timing, big bore pistons and a compression ratio of 11:1 (which might pose a challenge with Indian fuel), power coming out the rear end of the crankshaft is rated at a very health 332bhp.

Now 332bhp can be sort of hard to let out of the gate smoothly or modulate in traffic. But there’s no leapfrogging or snatchy throttle responses here. The 370Z takes to Tokyo traffic like a duck to water, waddling right in. The steering feels light enough and visibility is good. In fact, apart from the fact that you have all that power under your right foot and the huge discs have enough stopping power to yank your tooth fillings out at these speeds, this car feels as ordinary as any.

The light rubber-lined gearbox is a joy to use and though, at times, you can feel the substantial urge of the motor; it only goes ballistic if you want it to. And ride quality isn’t too bad either, the Z only thumping uncontrollably over some really bad sections at low speed. Once we climb up to Tokyo’s elevated expressway, speed dissolves the jarring.

A chance to finally let fly. With a kerb weight of only 1.5 tonnes, the Z has a very healthy power to weight ratio or over 200bhp per tonne and the car feels totally effortless. The weight has been kept low by using aluminium for things like doors and bonnets, with carbon fibre composite used for the driveshaft.

I try a quick burst of acceleration on the up-ramp and am staggered – the punch from this motor makes me catch my breath involuntarily as the Z shoots up like a rocket sled! 37kgm of torque and that slight build are the secret of its ballistics. I get quickly on the brakes as the needle has already shot up to 160kph, just like that – a double shot of adrenaline.

Staying with traffic on Tokyo’s city expressway is struggle though. You need the mental resolve of a priest in this thing to keep it near the speed limit and I decide to stick it in sixth and leave it there. I lie waiting for the mountain roads.

With Mount Fuji looming out of the clouds and temperature dropping fast on the digital thermometer, the hill roads are not in perfect condition for a full-on attack. Snow and ice line the kerbs and on sheltered corners, where the sun’s rays haven’t reached, there’s some on the road as well. Higher up, however, on more exposed bits, the long road up is clear. I start to use the motor to its maximum potential and the Z transforms from refined pussycat to primeval saber-toothed beast. The motor doesn’t rev manically when you go to full throttle, but progress up the power band is quick, and the power just keeps coming and coming in a thick, strong torrent. I quickly discover just how blindingly quick this car is. Running down a gentle slope after exiting hard from a faster corner, the Z hits its 180kph limiter (limited for the Japan market)! And this is on a ‘ghat’ road!

And it just grips and grips on those 275 rear and 245 front tyres, the car sticking to the mountain road as if a giant fan is sucking the car down. It takes a while to gauge the amount of grip and pile into a corner at what are otherwise silly speeds, but once you’ve realigned your brain to the pace of this car, you unconsciously start going harder and harder. The steering has decent feel and allows you to place the Z really accurately in corners; the brakes work really well and the Z delivers that much sought-after rear-wheel –drive driving experience, characterized by its really punchy motor, bags and bags of grip and good poise and body control. But the Z saves its best for when you are going your hardest. Nissan has shortened the wheelbase for greater agility and changed the front suspension setup to a double wishbone type for better wheel control. This makes driving the Z at the limit a grin inducer like no other. The rear tyres may be much wider, but with its V6 motor pushed all the way back in the bonnet and near-50:50 weight distribution, the Z feels really balanced going sideways. Brake hard going into a corner, settle the weight of the car and add in the power as you scrabble past the apex with a generous dab of opposite lock as you exit the corner. No wonder Japan’s drifters love this car. Think of it as a shortened American muscle car with plenty of grip, good handling and strong brakes, and you won’t be too far off the mark.

Added to this playful muscle car nature is the S-mode that allows everyday drivers to experience the thrill of heel and toe braking (see box). There is also a seven-speed auto ‘box with paddle shifters that, as the brochure claims, works so well you don’t’ miss the manual.

Interior quality is as good as on a Lexus and build is typically Nissan tough, slightly tougher than your average Japanese car. Both the driver and passenger are sat on really comfortable seats, two days in the driver’s seat brought about no aches or pains, and the car is as feature-rich as a luxury car. Don’t look for any rear seats though. And the steering won’t adjust for reach as the instrument cluster moves up and down with it.

I’m pretty sold on the looks too. Compact dimensions, bulging wheel arches and the tightly stretched skin over some sharp details work well together. And though they are not universally appreciated, I love the arrowhead-like headlights.

Fast, well built, comfortable, reliable and bags of fun to drive the new Z is an amazing car. Offering everyday usability and genuine sportscar performance and handling, the new Z may not be as groundbreaking as the GT-R, but it’s playful nature and greater affordability make it more accessible. It’s a formula Nissan has got spot-on, having sold an incredible 250,000 Zs since its introduction in 1969. The respect the Z earned also opened up the US market for other Nissan products, and Nissan is thinking of doing something similar here. What a great idea.

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