RE: Nissan 370Z Roadster and NISMO

RE: Nissan 370Z Roadster and NISMO

Monday 5th October 2009

Nissan 370Z Roadster and NISMO

Jamie Corstorphine heads to California for a double dose of Zed



I'm not expecting a huge amount of sympathy here. California and not one, but two new versions of Nissan's 370Z hardly constitutes the hardest day's work.

First up the Roadster. Like the coupe PistonHeads tried earlier this year in France, the 370Z Roadster is shorter and squatter than the old 350Z. It is also a fair bit stiffer (by around 45%) and quicker, with more power from the enlarged 326bhp 3.7-litre V6 and a reduced kerb weight.

But the most obvious improvement is how much better looking it is. As Chris-R said in his drive of the Coupe, the 370Z takes the old Z and draws out all the surplus fat, leaving a tauter more muscular shape. The same goes for the Roadster, except more so. On the 350Z the roof always looked like a bit of an afterthought, plonked on top leaving an awkward slab-sided rear deck. With the 370Z, the roof is longer and has a more steeply racked rear screen, making the car handsomely proportioned with the roof up. And lowered, the absence of metal work above the rear deck emphasises the 370Z's broader, more overtly sculptured rear arches. Another change carried over from the coupe is the improved interior. Continuing this, the roof is now constructed from cloth rather than vinyl and there is an inner skin to increase refinement.


Heading north on Highway 1 it doesn't take the sharpest deduction to work out why Nissan picked this location to launch the Roadster. Film set locations tend to flatter to deceive. However heading inland on narrower, twistier, and surprisingly empty roads, the 370Z proves more than a mobile sun-lounger. The coupe still offers the purer driving experience, but the roadster gets impressively close. The weight gain is limited to 81kg, so the performance is broadly similar, and while there is a touch more bodyflex, only marginally so. The roadster also brings a few advantages beyond the obvious, firstly that it's easier to hear the engine (for the most part a good thing), but also that the roof storage compartment separates the cabin from the rear wheels, cutting tyre noise with the roof up.

If you get all technical, the 370Z roadster, like the coupe, isn't the most polished product. It has plenty of ability but lacks finesse, particularly the engine, which is punchy enough but a touch coarse at higher revs. But as something to enjoy there's an immediacy, honesty and accessibility to the Z that's difficult to resist. And for the money Nissan is asking (prices for the roadster have yet to be set, but are expect to start at £30k) it offers real value.

So if you find the idea of an open-top Z tempting the good news is that the new 370Z roadster asks far fewer compromises than the 350Z ever did. Of course there will be others, for whom any compromise on performance and dynamics for the benefit of a few sunrays, is borderline sacrilegious. In which case Nissan have something else on offer (at least they do for US buyers).


For a premium of $6000 you get a touch more power (345bhp) and torque (276lbft) from a new ECU and freer flowing exhaust, plus new bumpers, a bigger wing, broader tyres and substantially revised suspension settings. The NISMO Z is sold only as a Coupe and with the six-speed manual transmission. Inside there's a more thinly padded steering wheel, different pedals and manually adjustable sports seats.

I'd been enjoying the roadster, but five minutes in the NISMO is enough to decide I won't be swapping back. The ride is pretty firm, Nissan having more than doubled the rear damping force, but in every other respect the NISMO is a whole heap better than the regular Coupe. It doesn't feel massively faster, but revs more keenly and sounds a lot sweeter. So much so that Nissan's clever SynchroRev Match system isn't needed for sweet heel 'n' toe down-changes. The steering is more tactile and intuitive and the turn-in sharper. Which rectifies the biggest gripe with the stock 370Z; a tendency to understeer a little more than we remember the old 350Z doing. Whether the more extrovert styling appeals is subjective, but what I can tell you is that it looks better in the metal than in pictures, and I reckon it sort of suits the 370Z shape, giving it something of a junior GT-R. Overall the NISMO feels like a Z with a bit more care taken over the areas that matter, but without losing the rawness that makes the Z great in the first place. On the type of road America isn't exactly famous for - well surfaced with a mixture corners from 4th gear sweepers to 270-degree hairpins, the NISMO is hugely entertaining.


With the Roadster and NISMO Nissan have expanded the 370Z range in two directions; on one hand offering an appealing drop top that doesn't materially dilute the driving experience, and on the other, a more extreme and pure coupe. The disappointment for European Z fans is that Nissan don't plan to sell the NISMO here. Which seems both a real shame and a missed opportunity. As with the old Z it is possible to buy individual NISMO components for the 370Z, but not to the same spec as the complete car, and at considerably higher cost. So if you're listening Nissan, perhaps it's worth reconsidering.


Nissan 370Z Roadster

Price: From £30,000
Engine: V6, 3696cc, Front, Long
Power 326bhp at 7000rpm
Torque 270lb ft at 5000rpm
Tyres F: 245/45 R19 R: 275/35 R19
0-60mph - 5.5sec (est)
Top Speed - 155mph (est)
Mpg - No official figures
Co2 - No official figures
Bootspace 119 litres
Kerbwight 1586 kg







 

Nissan 370Z Nismo

Price No plans to sell in Europe. Yet.
Engine Engine V6, 3696cc, Front, Long
Power 345bhp @ 7400rpm
Torque 276lb ft @ 5200rpm
Tyres F: 245/40 ZR19 R: 285/35 ZR19
0-60mph - No official figures
Top Speed - 155mph (est)
Mpg - No official figures
Co2 - No official figures




 

Author
Discussion

MrTappets

Original Poster:

881 posts

122 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
Squashed lumpy shape, dont like it at all. NISMO sounds like a blast, though.

350zed

45 posts

117 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
really wanted to like this, but just hate the way it looks. NISMO all the way though

forzaminardi

1,896 posts

118 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
I think it looks fantastic. The Nismo bumpers set it off beutifully. I want one.

ThirdShift

120 posts

109 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
Heard a lot of mixed reviews on the 370z Nismo, about it being heavier etc>?!?!?!?! How does it compare to the stock version and is it worth the extra premium?!?!

Mr Whippy

21,466 posts

172 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
The rear arch of the 350Z looked a bit odd, but that one is just HUGE!

Looks wrong to bulge out so much for a wheel.
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300bhp/ton

34,414 posts

121 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
I really like the 370z, not so interested in the vert and the NISMO looses the purer lines of the regular 370z, but very nice all the same.

Not sure why people hate on it so much, there's not really all that much to compete against it and it looks a 1000 times more interesting than a BMW 3 series.

LuS1fer

34,044 posts

176 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
Looks like a fixed-vision dog with its mouth hanging open.

vz-r_dave

3,276 posts

149 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
I love it, very pure for what it is. Think about what it competes against a bunch of oil burning TT's. Atleast Nissan are producing driver focused cars. A little more power and this thing is in M3 Territory, wasnt there speculation of a V8 anyway?

Mr Whippy

21,466 posts

172 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
vz-r_dave said:
I love it, very pure for what it is. Think about what it competes against a bunch of oil burning TT's. Atleast Nissan are producing driver focused cars. A little more power and this thing is in M3 Territory, wasnt there speculation of a V8 anyway?
Too true, and it should be, and is, praised for that.

Just a shame it is fairly awkward looking... as was the last one imho, which has been the only thing putting me off frown

Dave

TheRoadWarrior

1,226 posts

109 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
Massive mistake for Nissan not bringing the Nismo to these shores IMO. There are lots of younger buyers that are looking to move on from cars like MR2s, 350zs, older Hondas etc that would buy the Nismo. I really like the looks, and the upgrades are things that most would do on the 370z anyway- certainly exhaust is needed as every reviewer i have read has said the 370's exhaust note is totally weak. For $3k those upgrades are a bargain, especially factoring in the increased (and warrantied) engine performance.

vz-r_dave

3,276 posts

149 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
Mr Whippy said:
vz-r_dave said:
I love it, very pure for what it is. Think about what it competes against a bunch of oil burning TT's. Atleast Nissan are producing driver focused cars. A little more power and this thing is in M3 Territory, wasnt there speculation of a V8 anyway?
Too true, and it should be, and is, praised for that.

Just a shame it is fairly awkward looking... as was the last one imho, which has been the only thing putting me off frown

Dave
I like the looks but I see your point, it does look slightly awkward. Its an evoloution of the 350 so lets hope that with the next one they get it perfect. I do think it looks better then the 350 and it's a step in the right direction though.

So a 390Z (And they call it a Datsun) wink

Cheap, reliable, fun, this will make a very good used buy.

monthefish

19,184 posts

162 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
Is that the same 'Jamie Costorphine' that writes for Autocar?


EDLT

15,001 posts

137 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
Why sell a manual-only special edition in America and not in Europe, are they hoping nobody will buy one?

300bhp/ton

34,414 posts

121 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
EDLT said:
Why sell a manual-only special edition in America and not in Europe, are they hoping nobody will buy one?
Because most performance cars in the US are sold with manuals confused some models like Cobra's, Shleby's and Z06's don't have auto options.

red_slr

6,787 posts

120 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
How small are the front brakes on the Nisomo!!!

I would have expected some kind of big brake upgrade... looks like a 1.2 corsa disc and caliper with 20 inch wheels!!

robert_raw

81 posts

123 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
I don't claim to have the best eye for detail in the world, but i am finding it quite difficult to spot many noticeable differences between this and the 350z apart from the lights.

That is not necessarily a bad thing because i like the look of the 350z.

Maybe it will be more noticable when i see one in the flesh.

TheRoadWarrior

1,226 posts

109 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
robert_raw said:
I don't claim to have the best eye for detail in the world, but i am finding it quite difficult to spot many noticeable differences between this and the 350z apart from the lights.

That is not necessarily a bad thing because i like the look of the 350z.

Maybe it will be more noticable when i see one in the flesh.
Thats exactly what i thought before i actually saw one.. when you do see one in the flesh its a totally different car; noticably squatter, shorter and wider-looking. The front and rear lights really update the design and make IMO the 350z look quite dated in comparison. The pinched waist and the kick up over the rear wheel is much more aggressive than the old 350. Also the side windows are very GTR.

ocdgeek

27 posts

110 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
On the Nismo version, the front bumper looks a different shade of red to the rest of the car....

dansheerin

13 posts

164 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
TheRoadWarrior said:
robert_raw said:
I don't claim to have the best eye for detail in the world, but i am finding it quite difficult to spot many noticeable differences between this and the 350z apart from the lights.

That is not necessarily a bad thing because i like the look of the 350z.

Maybe it will be more noticable when i see one in the flesh.
Thats exactly what i thought before i actually saw one.. when you do see one in the flesh its a totally different car; noticably squatter, shorter and wider-looking. The front and rear lights really update the design and make IMO the 350z look quite dated in comparison. The pinched waist and the kick up over the rear wheel is much more aggressive than the old 350. Also the side windows are very GTR.
I live in LA and see the Nismo 370z around a lot. It is correct to say that the pictures cannot do the car justice. They look very nice indeed on the roads. It improves on the standard 370z looks which in turn improves greatly over the 350z.

MIP1983

179 posts

136 months

Monday 5th October 2009
quotequote all
I really like the nismo. The bumpers change the car alot, I don't like it as standard (and I think the drop top looks aweful), but I'd be sorely tempted by that.