posted on January 02, 2009 21:03
Nissan 370Z Driving Impressions
MotoIQ.com Staff Report
Most web publications have not been able to get a good hard look at the Nissan 370Z, but recently we were lucky enough to give a pre-production six-speed manual 370Z with a sport aero and brake package from Nissan's test fleet a short test drive. In that short test ride we were quite impressed with the 370Z's refinement and capabilities. Frankly, we're amazed at what Nissan has done to the Z in this latest iteration despite being jaded, hard to impress car guys. The fact that Nissan has come close to holding the line in price is even more amazing! The 370Z in our opinion is now leader in the mid-priced sports car segment, providing performance with refinement over its competition. We were also amazed at the fit and finish of this pre-production car—sure signs of good things to come!
We are as qualified as anyone to judge the new 370Z as we are not strangers to the capabilities of the outgoing 350Z. We have a lot of seat time in the 350Z both on the road as daily drivers and on the track as competition cars. As a target for improvement, the 350Z is hard to top—especially if price is to be considered—as the 350Z is a very competent and capable car in both in everyday livability and track worthy performance.
We are happy to report that the 370Z does not disappoint. Amazingly it exceeds the old 350Z in every way by a large margin while keeping the price largely unchanged. When approaching the 370Z, its design strikes the eye as something special. Visually the car looks aggressive and muscular—like a cat ready to pounce, or as the overused cliché goes, it looks fast sitting still. Open the door, enter the interior and sit down. The first thing you notice over the 350Z is an improved feel of interior quality. The finishes and textures reflect a higher quality than the 350Z's somewhat “plasticy” interior.
|The 370Z's door panel is reminiscent of the 350Zs. Having 4 cupholders is a nice feature if you need a place to store your dip cup.
Nissan used a “layered” ergonomic concept when laying out the cars interior, basically there are three layers of driver interface in the interior. These layers consist of an information layer where the car communicates to the driver via gauges and vision; an operation layer consisting of the controls and switches; and a holding layer that retains the driver under the Omni-directional G-loads a high performance sports car can create.