Written by: Don Cheng
Photography by: Don Cheng
Unless you’re in the top 1%, scoring a bargain is always an awesome feeling. Actually, scratch that. Even if you were in the top 1%, scoring a good deal is a great feeling. Everyone is on the hunt for a deal, penny-pinching and coupon hunting their way through life. However for some bizarre reason unbeknownst to me, the notion of scoring a new car at a bargain price goes out the window the moment the word “performance” is tossed in the mix. “Well, how could a sports car be cheap? It’s got all that extra performance!” all my friends would exclaim. While this may be true, that can’t be the only reason why a sports car has to be so expensive.
At the end of the day, manufacturers have to make money on every vehicle sold, and well, not everyone is looking for a two-seater sports car. Thus the manufacturer has to make up for a decrease in sales (compared to their bread and butter vehicle) and mark up the MSRP to earn a few more dollars.
However, in 2012, Toyota and Subaru took that conventional business model, twiddled it about in their hands for a bit and then said “nah, let’s do this our way” and released a pair of cheap sports cars that don’t suck. For $25,000, you get a 4-cylinder BOXER engine in the front sending power to the back wheels and six gears to play with under the palm of your right hand. Pretty good combo if I must say so myself. Oh and the FRS/BRZ also handled like it was on rails, which is a big bonus for putting a goofy grin on your face every time you have to go for a drive. You don’t need a fortuneteller to predict that those cars would sell like hotcakes. Fast forward to 2015 and Nissan has announced that their 370Z would drop $10,000 and start just a toonie shy of $30,000. That’s a substantial price drop for a very capable performance car.
So for the $29,998 asking price of the 370Z Coupe Enthusiast Edition – hats off to Nissan’s marketing team for making base sound special – what do you get? Well for starters, the car comes standard with a set of black painted 18-inch Ray’s Engineering wheels, sticky Yokohama ADVAN high performance tires, bi-xenon lights, remote keyless entry, and heated mirrors. Inside, Nissan has eschewed the more premium comforts and stuck with the basics. Instead of the touchscreen navigation unit there is a - admittedly rather convenient – cubby hole to store your phone and wallet.
While most base cars feel cheap, the only hint that Nissan had skimped out was the plethora of dummy buttons found all over the cabin. There are however, a few very nice touches that I didn’t expect to see in a base performance car, such as Bluetooth connectivity, a USB slot, audio Aux-In, and automatic climate control. In short, Nissan has boiled down the sports car experience to just the essentials: your favourite tunes from your phone, automatic climate control to keep you cool, a six-speed transmission, and a 332HP V6 that screams all the way to a 7,500 RPM redline.
Ah yes, the engine in the Z. Regardless of trim level, the VQ37VHR (VHR stands for Very High Revolution) engine remains unchanged. The famed longitudinally mounted V6 produces a healthy 332HP at 7,000 RPM and a peak torque of 270 lb-ft at 5,200 RPM. When pushing the start-stop engine button, the car hesitates for a split second as if asking the driver if they are ready to “unleash the beast” before rumbling to life. While the 370Z may share the same engine as it’s more “upscale” bigger brother, the Infiniti G37 coupe (now Q60 Coupe), the exhaust on the Z doesn’t quite have the same guttural burble found in the Infiniti. The shifter is a stubby little thing that begs you to grab it by the scruff of the neck and ram it into gear, and when you do you’ll feel like it’s bolted so directly into the transmission you’d swear you could feel every rotation the crank makes.
The clutch is rather weighty and has a really abrupt uptake that happens all at the top. At the low RPMS (around 1,500 – 2,500 RPM) there are times when you stomp on the clutch and you will hear a loud clunking noise that sounds suspiciously like a chattering clutch. But no need to be alarmed - that’s just the heavy-duty dual-mass flywheel doing its thing. All of these little nit picky niggles disappear (about as quickly as cars behind you) when you hit about 4,000 RPM. The entire car roars to life - no seriously, the entire cabin is filled with the noise of the V6 - as it pulls and pulls and pulls you to its 7,500 RPM redline, and just before the limiter sets in, the built in shift light flashes, prompting you to clutch-in, shift, release clutch and bam you’re experiencing the exhilaration all over again.
Despite all the performance, the engine is actually very docile when you keep it under 3,000 RPM. In stock form, the car inconspicuously breezes through city traffic, nothing screams look at me if it weren’t for the wild styling of the car. I can personally guarantee that all stares gathered would be because of how utterly gorgeous the 370Z looks. Since its launch in 2009 the design of the car has not grown one bit long in the tooth, it still looks just as good today as it did the day of its unveiling. Painted in solid red, this little red rocket will definitely garner a few double takes from members of both sexes.
Nissan has ditched plastic fangs in the front bumpers, and now the car looks really clean with its LED daytime running lights, and the rear…oh goodness that flared rear quarter gives the car such an aggressive stance. It’s absolutely mesmerizing watching it zoom out of corners from behind, the car barely succumbing to body roll, tires squealing and V6 roaring. Paired with the bottom-mounted rear fog-light shining bright at night, the Z looks downright F1-esque.
When I first picked up the keys to the Z I felt that the car had a raw character to it. I didn’t like it; it lacked finesse, and polish. The rawness permeated every aspect of the car. Even when you shut it down after a drive, the locks slap into the unlock position, and the engine stops so abruptly it’s as if the car was crying in protest “Wait what? No more!?” When I finally shut the engine off for the last time before I handed back the keys, I felt a little sad. The charm of the Z lies in its rawness and I think Nissan has done a great job at ditching the frills and bringing the car down to the bare necessities. The 10 grand discount at this point can be viewed as just a bonus. Seriously, it’s hard to find this much car for that little money. And who doesn’t enjoy a fair bargain?
型号 Model: 2016 Nissan 370Z Coupe
顏色 Paint Type: Solid Red
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $29,998
試車售價 Price as Tested: $29,998 (before destination, handling fees, taxes)
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,550
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,255 / 1,845 / 1,315
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,497
引擎 Engine: 3.7-litre DOHC 24-valve V6 aluminum-alloy engine
最大馬力 Horsepower: 332 hp @ 7,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed manual
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, RWD
前懸 Suspension-Front: 2-link double-wishbone aluminum alloy front suspension
後懸 Suspension-Rear: 4-link aluminum-alloy rear suspension
煞制-前 Brakes-Front: 12.6 x 1.10" vented disc
煞制-後 Brakes-Rear: 12.6 x 0.63" vented disc
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway)- L/100 km: 13.3 / 9.3
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Yokohama ADVAN Sport - Front: 225/50WR18 - Rear: 245/45WR18