Test Drove The Nissan 370Z

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The Nissan 370Z’s have finally hit showrooms, and I decided to head on over to the dealership today to take one out. I’ve long been a fan of the Z cars, but the 350Z just didn’t do it for me. It was bloated, heavy, and handled like a pig. (Sure, the 300ZX of the 90s wasn’t exactly light on it’s feet, but those twin turbos helped you get past that!)

The car magazines have been raving about how great the new 370Z is, and they’ve been comparing it to the Porsche Cayman S (one of the best handling cars on the road today!) They’ve cut quite a bit of the fat from the 350Z, and carved out quite the profile.. The headlights and taillights are a little bizarre, but I’m starting to warm up to them.

So I walk into the dealership, and proceeded to spend the next 25 minutes waiting for a salesman to find a stick-shift that I could drive. For reasons beyond me, they ordered the majority of their Z’s in automatics, and it took them awhile to find a stick that I could drive.

I finally got the chance to drive a black 370Z Touring with the $3K Sports Package. (Which consists of some 19″ rims, a limited-slip diff, front and rear spoilers, and the magical sync-rev feature)

The car’s sticker price was a staggering $40,680! The Z used to be the affordable sports car, and I think Nissan has made a serious mistake pricing the 370Z so high. At this price point, there are plenty of competitors that are a much better bang for the buck.

The seats are real great, true racing seats that you could go racing with! The interior materials are nice for the most part, though if you don’t opt for the $1800 NAV system, you’re stuck with an ugly cubby hole right in the middle of the dash. Unfortunately, the rear view is just AWFUL! Because of how sloped the rear window is, you have a VERY limited view out the back. (If you remember the old Eclipse GSX’s with the big wing, those really blocked your rear view. This is even worse!)

The exhaust note wasn’t what I was expecting from the VQ engine.. I guess the 3.7L engine puts out a different exhaust note than previous VQs, but there’s always the optional Nismo exhaust to give you some more bark. Power is fantastic, and the 332HP really transforms the Z into a monster! Handling seemed decent from my limited drive, though I’d love to see what this car could do on a track.

Overall, the 370Z is a great car. Unfortunately, I think Nissan priced it way too high! If they had brought it to market at around $32-35K, they would have sold every last one, and could have probably commanded a premium over sticker. Instead (according to my salesman), they’re lucky to sell one per week.

As for me, I’ll take a gently used Cayman S that has taken a HUGE hit in depreciation over the 370Z any day! (Or maybe a Corvette at invoice price with 0% financing..)


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