Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Arriving Down Under in February 2010, Nissan’s all new Z sports car was designed from the outset as a convertible (not just a coupe) – the result is a significantly stiffer body than the retired 350Z Roadster and it’s an impressive 90kgs lighter than before (the bonnet, doors and boot are now aluminum). The body is also sexier than before thanks to a 100mm shorter wheelbase, 25mm wider track, an arched bonnet and pumped out hips – ensuring the 370Z convertible has even more curves than Scarlett Johansson.

Other positives include a soft top that is hidden under a metal tonneau cover when the roofs down and covered with curving bodywork that rise to humps behind the driver and passenger seats. The huge 19 inch alloys are a fantastic five spoke design.
Not so good Whilst lighter than the previous Z convertible, it is 69kg heavier than the Coupe. However when this goes towards structural reinforcements, including beefed up sills and crossmember braces, we shouldn’t complain.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The 370Z’s interior is a big step forward over the previous model, more premium materials and general fit AND finish is quickly noticeable. The same excellent sports bucket seats from the Coupe are thankfully fitted and the new fabric roof (the 350Z’s roof was canvas) has an inner lining to create a nicer cabin ambience than previously. The boot space is decent and a lot better than if a metal folding hard top got the go ahead over this soft top.
Not so good The steering wheel adjusts for rake but not reach so not everyone will be able to find their favourite driving position; the plastic around the base of the Automatic gate looks inexpensive in a $70k + vehicle; as with a number of convertibles rear vision suffers with the roof up.
Performance

Performance

Good Features the same muscular and punchy engine as the 370Z coupe (the naturally aspirated 3.7L V6 produces an impressive 245kW of power and 363Nm of torque). Both the six speed Manual and the seven speed Automatic come standard with SyncroRev – whereby the throttle is automatically blipped on down-shifts to ensure gear changes. Confidant driver’s are able to disable this feature at the click of a button (next to the gearlever) but good luck replicating the speed and precision of Nissan’s onboard computers.

Whilst in the 370Z Coupe the engine at high revs can emit a less than desirable mechanical note into the cabin, with the roof down in the convertible it’s far less noticeable (and the roaring exhaust note can also be heard more).
Not so good The V6 sounds uncultured at high revs, becoming almost thrashy at times (however a little roughness in a modern muscle car could also be viewed as a plus). The six speed manual offer relatively quick and precise gear changes but not to the level of the class best (i.e. a six speed Manual BMW).
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good A FUN car to drive! The Z convertible has firm spring and damper settings but luckily feels slightly softer than the (overly) firm 370Z Coupe, as a result ride quality and compliance improves. The handling is top notch, with fantastic grip on offer, well balanced front to rear and importantly comes standard with powerful brakes. This definitely isn’t a wobbly jelly soft-top.
Not so good A little more body roll than the Coupe, however we’re talking small degrees here. The handling comments above are relative; as the huge 19-inch alloys with licorice thin profile tyres ensure this isn’t a ride fit for the Queen.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Easier to live with than the previous 350Z thanks to a more premium interior and an electrically folding roof that as long as you’re travelling at less than 5km/h will open or close at the touch of a button in only 20 seconds. Roof down and at speeds under 80km/h the cabin is calm (a ‘hair out of the face’ place to be). The Z is tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than a comparatively powered Audi TT, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK or Porsche Boxster. Comes standard with goodies such as Bluetooth and the fixed glass wind deflector is a neat touch.
Not so good Roof up the soft top 370Z is noticeably louder than in the Z Coupe’s cabin. More noticeable again is the road noise from the extra wide 275mm rear tyres! Over broken bitumen and coarse B-roads it can get tiring, however with the roof down it’s much less noticeable. Fuel economy is respectable for a big powerful naturally aspirated V6, but next to its competitors the Z is a little thirsty.