Yes it is!
Just look at it? Pretty? No it’s stunning and ours was blue! Its as if the Nissan gods plucked a carefully selected corner of the sky and lovingly fashioned it into a masculine Olympian inspired by pure mythology. The enormous wheels look like Borg Implants sprouting from the axles and taking root in the rubber. It’s 4 huge wheels, a seat and an engine.
They haven’t wasted space with room for shopping or passengers. Leave them all at home because you won’t be taking them where you’re going. After you’ve stroked her and caressed and your hearts beating at an Olympic rate, you’ll want to get in. When you do you find the inside as fabulous as the gorgeous curvaceous exterior.
But I’ve gotten quite ahead of myself haven’t I? Let’s start with a few facts. The Z cars have been around since Nissan was called Datsun in Australia over 40 years ago. Japan called her the Nissan Fairlady Z but that wouldn’t fly in OZ so instead it was marketed by Datsun as the 240z. A sleek 2 seat sports car with a gorgeously smooth 2.4L 6cyliner up front. It was all bonnet and looked just a little bit like Jags magnificent E-type. A few years later they added 0.2L and gave us the 260Z with a stretched version offering seating for 2 backseat bambinos. It was even more gorgeous with extra inches, but then what isn’t?
We went through the 280ZX, 300ZX then a new body also called the 300zx. All of them gorgeous for their time. The last 300ZX was likened by many, including me, to a Ferrari. But Jap sports cars all seemed to die a slow death in the 90’s until Renault bought into Nissan and injected some French hutzpah into a new model, the 350 and revived the fabulous Z nomenclature. And LO it was good. Thankfully it was a great success.
Following the great success of their 350, Nissan brought us this hunk of gorgeousness we now have before us, the 370Z.
Apart from that utterly breathtaking exterior, Nissan have shoehorned a 3.7 L V6 under the bonnet with a stonking 234kw of power. The 370nm of torque will get you off the mark and the 234 KW of power will get you too 100 in a staggering 5.1 seconds. Some tests have even gotten that figure down to 4.7 seconds. There is no turbo, just a glorious roar and its then you realise there isn’t a place you would rather be. It’s worth pointing out the Commodore SSV with its 6.0L V8 has 260KW and gets to 100 only a smidgen quicker (about 5.6 0-100).
The Z car looks far more muscular than the Porsche Boxster and a hundred times more attractive and if all that hasn’t totally won you over, the drive certainly will.
Nissan insists that their keyless entry is activated via a button for entry and exit but once you inside it won’t matter how you got there. The seats hug you firmly without being frisky about it. There is nothing worse than sitting on a badly upholstered park bench. Press the button on the dash and in a jiff the sound drifts back in to the cabin. The cabin is a strange mix. Everything is there but it all feels a bit added in later. The Satnav in most cars is an integral part of the system which usually includes the climate and audio systems. The ZZ doesn’t choosing instead to have 3 separate systems like cars of old. It looks good but is a bit of a surprise in a $75,000 car. But you know, none of that matters. The 370Z is one of those rare cars which is more than just the sum of its parts. The Satnav is fairly easy to use as is the bluetooth and your controls fall easily to hand which I think is important as things get busy in those narrow mountain passes. I love the retro dials sprinkled liberally across the dash but it’s the menu system which is a surprise. It’s a simpler affair than what you find even in much cheaper sporty jobs the drivers info displayed over several instruments rather than having to scroll through 100 menu options and frankly this is something I find refreshing. By now you’re going to be aware of the Z being something a bit special.
The Stereo has thumping sound with 2 subwoofers. Because there isn’t a lot of spare room going begging, Nissan thought putting one of the subs smack in the middle of the space-saver spare tyre. It’s genius when you think about it and the sound, like the rest of the car, is a bit special. You get audio streaming of course but if you fancy flipping through your lovingly assembled playlists you’ll need the USB cable. I wonder why car makers still bother with CD players. When was the last time any of us used one? Most CDs have been sitting in boxes for some time now. I for one will be glad to see the back of them because fumbling for some things can be fun, but trying to select and/or change CDs mid-drive is a pain in the A*%$.
You have a veritable gentlemen’s club worth of leather which feels luxurious and tactile but if there is one thing I would change it would be the placky bits with grey metallised finishes. It’s the one thing to cheapen an otherwise spectacular design. Would it stop me from buying the car? Not on your life!
You shift into reverse to see the view come up on the dash thankfully as i doubt you could reverse without it. A gentle dab will rocket you poke the her sufficiently to get you in front of the traffic without you intending it to. Just imagine what happens when you sink the boot in. You aren’t conscious of the auto shifting through its 7 cogs. It always seems to be in the right gear and even electronically blips the engine as if you were shifting with a non-syncro manual box. it sounds fabulous in manual mode when you change down a spot or two.
Though the steering isn’t one-finger light, it feels delightfully precise no matter what speed your rocketing, sorry travelling, at. We took the chance to visit our favourite haunt, the Grand Pacific Drive with its long straight stretches in the open scrubland that gives way to deep rain forest and glorious 15kph hairpins and other twists and turns. The Z just begged for more. She was a frisky filly that responded in true thoroughbred style to tightly gripped reigns and gentle jabs in the ribs. It’s hard to prepare yourself for when she unleashes full gallop as you drop the gears and are forced back in your saddle. Because the paddles are attached to the steering column and not the steering wheel, they are always where you left them regardless of how tight the bend is. You don’t really overtake another car because after you’ve ignited the rocket the other car you’re overtaking simply vanishes as if by magic. You can feel the power through every fibre of the Z. You feel part of it and it feels part of you and you know exactly what it’s doing. The electronic nannies rarely need to mind your manners because the Z car rarely plays up. Even the tightest bends are taken as surely as if you were attached to the road by rails.
Then as you emerge from the ancient canopy and find yourself on a bluff high above the churning sea, the Z returns to the mild mannered grand tourer she had been on the highway. The Z is all things to all people. We don’t have any children to cart round so who cares if there is no back seat and who cares if the boot is more of a deep shelf but it is of no consequence. Despite being a large sheet of glass, the back window is so angled that appears as just s slit in your rear-view mirror, but it is all to naught because after 10 minutes you’ll be in love and after half an hour you’ll be seeing Shangri-La. For this money there just isn’t a better sports car.
It was a wrench to hand back the keys. People notice the Z. Some make gestures and others even shout through open window offering compliments but there was also the odd caustic comment from recently post-pubescent, pimple-faced boys in their rancid hundred year old jalopies, but you don’t care. You only care about getting home fast, so you can plan another jaunt.
Engine:3.7L V6, 245KW, 363NM torque, 0-100 in 6.1sec
Trans: 7SP auto driving rear wheels with viscous limited slip diff. (avail in 6p man)
$75,500 with 3yrs warranty,/roadside assist