Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Don Cheng
Published: September 21, 2016
The Nissan 370Z or simply, the “Z”, is the latest iteration in a long dynasty of road focused and track capable sports cars that extend to the early 70s. These coupes have left a legacy of cars that were known for their looks, tuning potential, performance, and affordability.
It all started with the Nissan 240Z, and critics raved this car as being the Japanese answer to the 60s American muscle cars. That may sound a bit farfetched because after all, everyone knew that 1960s American muscle cars were the bee’s knees – but Nissan was on to something.
These critics weren’t far off with their claims. A 1968 V6 Mustang produced around 120 horsepower – meanwhile the 240Z produced around 150 hp. Nowadays, seeing a first generation Z coupe in the wild is a rare enough sight to even make a layman to the car world stop and stare.
Generation after generation, the Z brought joy to a number of enthusiasts and created an almost cult-like following. This is most notably prevalent in the last two generations with the 350Z and the 370Z.
The current 370Z is now in its eighth model year but has been steadily declining in sales since its introduction in 2009. Likely due to its lack of updates, Nissan only recently introduced a price drop on the base 370Z last year to try and spark up some sales figures and compete with the rivaling Subaru BRZ.
Cutting $10,000 off the price tag on the “Enthusiast Edition” meant Nissan had to skip some features like Synchro Rev Match downshifting, fitting on smaller tires, completely removing the infotainment system, using smaller brakes, and the removal of the limited slip differential.
Driving the Enthusiast model last year left me thinking, just what would it be like to drive the more expensive Touring Sport model that comes loaded with all the options we just mentioned? It is priced to compete with V8 Ford Mustangs and Subaru WRX STIs, so it had to be much better, right?
However, even the late, great Yutaka Katayama (Mr. K was considered by many to be the father of the original 240Z) said that modern Zs were a mere “So-So” claiming they were too heavy and too expensive. It goes to show just how much of a hoot the old cars used to be.
Determined to see just what Mr. K was on to, I lived with a 370Z for a full week. Now, there’s no argument that the new Z is shorter and lighter than the 350Z it replaced, and it has a much better fit and finish overall, but it is hard to wrap your head around the price tag – this Chicane Yellow example we tested tops out at just shy of $44,000, and it doesn’t even have a proper trunk.
Living in Canada, it is easier to buy into a $40,000+ all-wheel drive car like a Subaru WRX STI or Volkswagen Golf R that sends power to all four wheels, but having such an extremely agile, quick and enjoyable rear driven car is something to be cherished. It is one of the last cars that still have an analog feel from everything the driver interacts with.
The V6 motor is muscular, yet it is smooth when accelerating and loves to be wrung out over 7,000 rpm. The shifter is a bit notchy when you throw it, and it vibrates from the rumble of the V6 because it is quite literally bolted directly to the transmission. The clutch is perfectly weighted and isn’t too spongey or springy, and the steering gives you a feeling of total bliss – there is effortless steering when you want it, while still maintaining a sense of weight and road feel. God bless hydraulic steering, the last of a dying breed.
Making 332 hp at 7,000 rpm from the naturally aspirated 3.7-litre V6, the Z is free-revving in nature and is more fuel-efficient than most V8 performance cars. Although the 276 lb-ft. of torque is a bit on the low side, the motor sounds great once it comes alive after 4,000 rpm.
When you give the motor the go ahead to throttle up, the powerplant starts to growl as you boogey down your favourite twisty road. It is important to note that the exhaust note is almost completely absent in the interior, and there is an ever-present intake noise that is aided by artificial sound to give the driver the illusion that this car is louder than it really is.
I might be the first to admit it, but I cannot properly heel-and-toe downshift, not even if my life depended on it, and I’ve been driving manual cars for a respectable amount of time. Maybe it’s because of the shoes I wear, or my ankle can’t just twist that way but whenever it comes to spirited driving, I tend to have issues at high-speed corners.
Thankfully I learned that Nissan was the first company to introduce auto-rev matching technology on a road car with the Nissan 370Z. It’s available on all manual transmission models except the base Enthusiast Edition.
After a short bout with the SynchroRev Match feature fitted on this car, I was sold. Never missing a beat and seemingly able to predict just which gate you’ll throw the shifter into, it helps for when you’re on a really tricky course. You also have the choice of turning it off at will.
One of the best features of this car is the suspension set up. Dual-wishbones upfront and a multi-link in the rear, it remains one of the best features about this car. On a long on-ramp curve, the Z feels incredibly planted as it puts power down through the 275-section wide rear tires.
The only downfall for this is that the stiff suspension will transmit harsh and sharp kicks to the passengers, even when on the highway. The 19-inch Rays wheels don’t help in this regard and excessive road and tire noise do become annoying when trying to listen to the radio or carry on a civilized conversation.
Interior wise, the Touring Sport Coupe is a step up from the base Z and it is most noticeable in the Alcantara covered seats and covered door sills. Getting into the seat and staring at the big racing-style tachometer lets you know that you’re in a driving focused car and not in a 7 Series. Likewise, there are some drawbacks when it comes to comfort; the seats are aggressively bolstered and the headrests still poke you in the back whenever you lean back on it.
The Z has made waves through enthusiasts’ hearts over the years and as this coupe nears the end of its run, it gives us one last nostalgic driving experience that give us goosebumps when we peg the throttle, grip the steering wheel, and navigate through twisty roads at speeds we would be nervous to say in public. The next generation of Z is due to appear anytime now, and we’re fairly certain it will make a return towards turbocharging. It’s an end of an era for the Z, but it is one that we certainly won’t forget.
型号 Model: 2017 Nissan 370Z Touring Sport Coupe
顏色 Paint Type: Chicane Yellow
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $39,998
試車售價 Price as Tested: $43,998
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: 276 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
後懸 Suspension-Rear: Multi-link aluminum-alloy
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 13.3 / 9.3
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Front: 245/40R19 - Rear: 275/35R19