Business Today

Zesty Z

We go for a drive in the latest of Nissan's legendary sports cars.

Vikrant Singh        Print Edition: April 4, 2010

Nissan isn't really known for its sports cars in India. Everyone has heard about the mighty GT-R, one that has beaten the likes of Porsches and Ferraris around the demanding Nürburgring race circuit. Still, Nissan remains a brand that sells a luxury car and city-centric SUV in India.

Nissan wants to change this image. And it believes the car that can do so is the 370Z, the latest of a long line of Z cars that started in 1969 with the 240Z. Over the years, there have been six iterations, with every new generation car having a larger, more powerful engine under its hood. The 370Z is no different.

It is powered by a 3.7-litre, V6 petrol engine, which is rev-hungry, energetic and willing across the rev band. It also sounds gorgeous. With over 330bhp on tap, it packs in quite a punch; not only does it get the 370Z scurrying off the line with enough tyre smoke to make a potent smoke screen, it manages to keep its rear wheels spinning in second gear as well without even trying. Then, there's the gearbox. The 370Z is offered with both the 7-speed automatic and the 6-speed manual gearbox. We, however, sampled the former, and it's delightful. The magnesium paddle shifters look good and are great to hold (these also help save some weight, by the way). These work well, too.

The travel and feedback from the shifter is longer and more palpable than regular road cars, adding to the sporty feel. The car is decently swift in its operation and a tad fierce as well. We particularly loved downshifting on the 370Z; the throttle blip is loud, vivacious and totally addictive.

And then, of course, there are the looks. The front with its boomerang headlamps, a low drawn chin and the gaping opening in the lower bumper that sports fierce fangs, gives the car a purposeful stance. The aggressive stance mellows down a bit in profile and by the time one moves over to the rear, the Z actually begins to look sexy with its well-rounded and taut haunches.

The insides aren't as impressive, though. First of all, you can have the dashboard in only black even though there are two colour choices for the seats. Then, there's the dash design. It's too simplistic for a car that has more than just a bling factor to its exterior. The cabin is well put together nonetheless, and the non-glossy aluminium like garnishing for the steering mounted controls, door handles and the clock surround do help liven up the insides.

We love the 370Z. It is a fabulous car to have fun with, thanks to its well-weighed and quick steering and a communicative chassis set-up. It also works well on the road, by the way, being manageable, supple and reasonably comfy.

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