2011 Nissan 370Z
    MSRP
    $31,450 - $42,200
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    2011 Nissan 370Z Expert Review:Autoblog

    The following review is for a 2010 Model Year. There may be minor changes to current model you are looking at.

    2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster – Click above for high-res image gallery

    The first and possibly most important thing you need to know about the new 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster is that Nissan knew it'd be building a convertible from day one. Over beers and some yummy Asian food with Bruce Campbell, Nissan's VP of design, we learned that the 350Z Roadster was an afterthought – at least from a design standpoint. In other words, when Campbell's team penned the 350Z, they weren't thinking the top would be coming off. Which is why the convertible 350Z was – to be kind – awkward looking.

    The trophy for best looking Z convertible sits squarely on the 370Z Roadster's mantle.
    With the 370Z, however, Campbell's team actually started by sketching the roadster first and the coupe was somewhat of an afterthought. Not totally, of course – they knew there would be a hardtop – but the regular 370Z's creased and angled roof is essentially lifted from the GT-R. It's not bad, per say, and after the Nineties 300ZX and the original 240Z, the new 370Z is probably the best looking Z of them all. Probably, because you could make a strong case for the 280Z, funny bumpers and all. And some folks will argue that the 350Z is actually the best looking of the bunch, even though it's a bit too Audi TT for our tastes.

    There is no debate, however, about the best looking convertible Z – that trophy sits squarely on the 370Z Roadster's mantle. The 1993-1996 300ZX convertible was just weird, 99% due to the fact that Nissan left the basket handle B-pillar in place. It also came with an MSRP of $44,678 – over a decade ago. Comparing the 370Z to its forebearer, the last model looked painfully hemorrhoidal. Junk in the trunk and then some. Top up it looked like the car was wearing an ill-fitting wig. The "design" didn't work because, as Campbell it explained, it was more marketed than designed.
    This time out, all one has to do is take in the deeply curved mainline to grok the essence of Z.



    Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.



    The shorter, wider 370Z Roadster, however, works fabulously. First and foremost, the top not only fits but looks like it fits. One design point that Nissan stressed was the way in which the leading edge of the canvas roof snugs up against the top of the A-pillar, creating a cantilever effect. Going back to the 350Z Roadster, its cloth top meets the back of the A-pillar, which looks famously strange. Also good (and much improved) are the 370Z's rear fenders. They're curved, sexy haunches this time out instead of flat, dull metal panels. Nissan's decision to stick with a cloth top rather than go for a folding hardtop also keeps the proportions (and weight) in check. Think Jessica Biel as opposed to Kim Kardashian.



    Inside, the Roadster is much like the Coupe only with a bit more refinement. For instance, if you opt for the ventilated leather seats, they're heated
    and cooled. The air-conditioning system for the seats is separate from the normal A/C, which makes sense in a convertible, right? Because you're going to run into situations where you only want one of your sides cool. The only issue we found is that the seat ventilation system is quite noisy, even with the top down and the wind rushing by. It took us a while to figure out what that extra gushing sound was, but it was the seats. Unfortunately, the orange accented dials are even harder to read in direct sunlight than in the Coupe. And after a third look, we hate the fuel/temp/info gauge even more. If you're wondering, the top takes about 15 seconds to do its folding thing.



    When you remove a car's roof, you create compromises. It's rare that compromised cars win over our hearts, let alone minds, because the things enthusiasts love typically get left on the cutting room floor. With a convertible you gain weight and lose stiffness. The less rigid part makes sense, as the C-pillar acts as a brace right smack in the middle of the vehicle. But why do you gain weight? First, remember that car roofs are very light. In fact, adding a sunroof (glass and a motor) tacks on fifty pounds to most cars. Second, unless you want enough cowl shake to jog a can of paint, that missing stiffness has to be added back into the vehicle, usually in the form of large metal plates welded to the uni-body. Finally, you have the weight of the folding top's mechanism – in this case Nissan went with a smoother hydraulic system as opposed to a lighter but jerkier electric one. Add it all up and going topless is usually a dynamic let down.

    Besides aesthetics, another positive attribute of designing the car as a Roadster from the start is that the 370Z is already plenty stiff. So much so that the new Roadster weighs 150 pounds less than the 350Z Roadster, even though the 370Z Coupe is fifty pounds heavier than the 350Z. And the Roadster only weighs a respectable 200 pounds more than the Coupe. For comparison's sake, that's about the same difference between an Aston Martin V8 Vantage and V8 Vantage Roadster. At the end of the day, there's no shame in selling a 3,430 pound convertible, especially one packing 332 horsepower and equipped with a slick-as-snick six-speed manual.



    Which leads us to how the 370Z Roadster goes down the road. Typically, we aren't thrilled with convertibles as driving devices. Don't get us wrong, we love the idea of open top motoring, but often times removing a vehicle's roof is akin to cropping out part of its soul. For instance, whatever is special and wonderful about the new Shelby GT500 is thrown out the window (no pun, no pun) once the top gets neutered off. The scalped cars get slower, sloppier and softer. Not what we want in a sports car. Obviously, certain vehicles defy this gripe of ours, like the Mazda Miata, Porsche Boxster and, now, the Nissan 370Z Roadster.

    That's right – Nissan's newest is a runner. You can forget about those rogue 200 pounds – top up or down, they don't make a bit of difference. Nissan brought along some regular 370Z Coupes for us to drive side-by-side and you honestly don't notice an acceleration hit when going from coupe to convertible. In fact, the Roadsters ran with the Coupes just fine. However, you
    do notice how much more thrilling everything is when the top is dropped. The car suddenly feels more charged, more electric, more alive. One knock on the fixed-head 370Z is that the cabin is a little stuffy. Not bad, per se, but you never really get the sense that you're driving a sports car, even if you're outrunning a Cayman (Nissan relentlessly benchmarked the Cayman when developing the 370Z). The Roadster changes all that, and then some.



    A problem plaguing Nissan's current crop of sport offerings is the lack of exhaust sound. We feel that the actual mechanical sounds of a motor are fine, but that exhaust should be the top audio priority. Lamborghini understands this particular vice all too well. But unlike the 2010 Ford Mustang, Nissan doesn't use a resonator pipe. And unlike the Lexus IS-F, they don't employ a two-stage exhaust. As a result, the regular 370Z is simply quiet even when you're pounding on it, and when you cane the GT-R, you hear nothing but the
    whoosh of turbos. There's already been 5,674% too many online arguments about the sound and quality of the VQ's exhaust note. All we're going to add is that at least with the Roadster it's nice that you have the option of listening.

    On Highway 1, just north of Santa Cruz, with the top tucked away and the Pacific Ocean on our left, the 370Z Roadster proved idyllic. Powerful, comfortable, refined and missing even the slightest hint of cowl shake, it was hard to envision a better car for the situation. The chassis feels like it's cut from diamond, the motor pulls and pulls and the view over the hood is splendid. As a result, the rear-drive 370Z has a bit of dual-modeness to it. Meaning that the car (and its occupants) are perfectly happy to just limp along at posted limits, taking in the birds and the clouds. But should you decide to hammer on the throttle, the 370Z Roadster instantly hammers back. Remember, 332 hp is about what the last generation M3's inline-six put out. The Roadster can sprint. Plus, unlike a Miata, it's not out of tricks by the time you reach 80 mph. The 370Z Roadster is one of the easiest, most drama-free topless cars we've ever driven over 100 mph.



    Despite the good straight line speed, the real shocker is the 370Z Roadster's handling. Why? Because again, convertibles are heavier and less rigid than their coupe counterparts. Extra weight and unwelcome body-twist are always the enemy when it comes to canyon carving, or at least they're supposed to be. But on some severely twisted tarmac between Pescadero and La Honda, the new Z Roadster proved exceptional. An honest-to-goodness athlete, with great visibility to boot. The car rarely misstepped – and when it did, it was more likely driver error (ahem)
    . Admittedly, the beautiful and lightweight (and optional) 19-inch RAYS wheels did invoke a little bump steer, but only on the crumblier sections of pavement. Despite that, we walked away impressed by the Roadster's back road prowess.

    While not quite up to the Miata ideal of open top Japanese motoring (i.e. reborn British motoring), the 370Z really isn't that far off. Yes, it weighs more, but the Nissan is more than twice as powerful. Because of the early (and smart) design decisions, it's missing most, if not all, of the bugaboos that haunt convertibles – especially those based on preexisting coupes.



    How good is the 370Z Roadster? You wouldn't be wrong thinking of it as a baby/bargain basement Ferrari California. Both are comfy open tourers with more power in reserve than the average owner needs and enough handling prowess to take on a track day or two, even though they never will. Also, we think the 370Z's better looking than the latest topless prancing horse. Put it like this: aside from the Roadster's $37,000 price tag, we can't think of any reason to choose the stuffier, less dynamic 370Z Coupe. Unless that Coupe happens to have a Nismo badge bolted to its rear. But that, dear friends, is another story. Until then, enjoy the Roadster.



    Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.

    Superb sports car is a performance bargain.

    Introduction

    The Nissan 370Z is a brilliant sports car with a strong performance-value ratio. The 2011 370Z comes in Coupe and Roadster versions, with styling that adheres to tradition and history. 

    The design of the 370Z Coupe is modern, driven by aerodynamics, but the sweeping rear quarter window harkens back to the 1970 Datsun 240Z, the car that started it all. The 370Z Coupe uses a hood, doors and hatch made of aluminum, lowering weight. 

    The 370Z Roadster with its cloth top has a natural shape and looks good in black. The power top is well-insulated with a good headliner, and it raises and lowers without a manual latch. 

    A racy 370Z Nismo coupe, a product of Nissan's NISMO performance division, boasts more horsepower, a stiffer suspension, bigger brakes and aerodynamic modifications. 

    The 3.7-liter engine loves to rev and produces a unique sound and, with variable valves and four camshafts, generates 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque at 5200 rpm, but much of its power is available at lower rpm. The Z accelerates from 0 to 60 in a quick 5.2 seconds. 

    Cornering is supremely tight, on a short 100-inch wheelbase, with the rotational pivot point in the chassis in its ideal position of balance, right under the driver's seat. The rigid chassis results in responsive handling, even on uneven pavement. It steers with precision and turns in decisively. It changes directions dynamically. And there are no worries about the brakes not bringing you down. 

    In manual mode, the optional 7-speed automatic shifts quickly. Drivers can use the paddles or lever. The shifts feel direct, like a manual transmission, thanks to what Nissan calls torque converter lock-up logic. With the 6-speed manual transmission, heel-and-toe downshifting easy. The clutch, gearbox and pedals work well together. A computer-controlled feature called SynchroRev Match will blip throttle for downshifts when you don't do it manually. 

    The interior is attractive and comfortable. The driver's seat is designed to keep the driver in place. The black fabric that comes standard looks and feels sporty while the optional perforated leather is beautiful. There's also a synthetic suede. The instrument panel moves with the adjustable steering column, while the steering wheel spokes are designed to provide a clear view. The gauges are big and clear, white on black with orange needles. 

    Cargo space is modest. The rear hatch provides easy access to 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space, far less than the 22 cubic feet in the Chevrolet Corvette. The Roadster's trunk has only 4.2 cubic feet of space, about enough for a couple of duffle bags. 

    Now in its sixth generation, the Z was last redesigned for the 2009 model year. The sixth-generation Roadster was launched for 2010. 

    Lineup

    The 2011 Nissan 370Z is offered in two body styles, coupe and roadster, and three models. The coupe comes in base ($31,200), Touring ($35,900) and Nismo ($39,190) models. The roadster is offered in base ($37,900) or Touring ($41,900). The 370Z comes with a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 332 horsepower, and a 6-speed manual transmission. The Nismo has a 350-horsepower version of the same engine. All models except the Nismo are offered with a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability ($1300). 

    The Z comes standard with cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, height-adjustable driver's seat, cruise control, Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start, power windows with one-touch auto up/down feature, power mirrors, power door locks with auto-lock feature, center console, rear window defroster with timer, two 12-volt power outlets, dual overhead map lights, four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack, tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, trip computer, automatic bi-xenon headlights, theft-deterrent system, and P225/50WR18 front and P245/45WR18 rear tires on alloy wheels. The Roadster comes with a power convertible soft top. 

    The 370Z Touring adds heated four-way power Alcantara and leather-appointed sport seats with adjustable lumbar support; a Bose audio system with eight speakers (includes dual subwoofer), 6CD/MP3 changer, and XM satellite radio (XM subscription sold separately), Bluetooth hands-free phone system, HomeLink universal garage door opener, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Roadster adds ventilated seats while the Coupe gets a rear cargo cover. 

    The 370Z Nismo has several modifications to make it faster. It uses the 6-speed manual transmission with Nissan's SynchroRev Match feature, as well a viscous limited-slip differential, lightweight Rays forged aluminum wheels with P245/40YR19 front and P285/35YR19 rear tires, bigger brakes (14.0-inch front rotors, 13.8-inch rear), Nismo front strut brace, and firmer shocks, springs and stabilizer bars. The exterior gets a special nose with an integrated chin spoiler, side sills, a unique rear bumper, and a taller rear spoiler. Inside, there are Nismo logos on the seats, which feature black and red fabric with red stitching, a Nismo tachometer, red stitching on the steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, aluminum pedals and a serialized plaque of authenticity. 

    Options are limited. The Navigation package ($2,150) offers a GPS powered by a hard drive and featuring voice recognition and a touch-screen display, with real-time traffic information from XM NavTraffic, which requires a paid subscription. Also bundled in this option is a 9.3 Gig Music Box hard drive and interface system for iPods and other MP3 players. This package includes a rearview mirror back-up camera, also a stand-alone option for $785. 

    The Sport package for the Coupe ($3,030) and Convertible ($2,830) adds 19-inch forged lightweight aluminum-alloy Rays wheels fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A high-performance radials. Spoilers are fitted fore and aft which help to lower the coupe's drag coefficient from 0.29 to 0.28 (the aerodynamic package is also a stand-alone option for $650). Also included with the Sport package are Nissan Sport Brakes with 14-inch front rotors and 13.8-inch rear rotors (versus 12.6/12.1-inch standard rotor sizes) with four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminum calipers. The chassis calibrations are otherwise the same as on the base car. The SynchroRev feature, which performs the downshifting blip for the driver, comes with this package. 

    Safety features include dual-stage front airbags plus front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags for torso protection. The coupe also has curtain side airbags for head protection. Active head restraints are fitted to both body styles, as is a tire-pressure monitor. Active safety features include anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake distribution, traction control, and electronic stability control. 

    Walkaround

    The styling of the 370Z might be considered enigmatic. In its third year, it remains original, but not wow-inspiring. There's nothing to dislike, but it doesn't hold the eye. With slab-like sides and a profile set back on its haunches, it's shorter, wider, and less nubile than the 350Z (last seen in 2008). But the shape is driven by aerodynamics, delivering a low 0.30 coefficient of drag. 

    There's a skillful retro touch in the sweep of the coupe's rear quarter window, suggesting the original 1970 Datsun 240Z. 

    With big fender flares, the Z has a wide and slippery stance; panel clearances are tight. The standard 18-inch wheels aren't eye-catching, but there are exciting 19-inch wheels available with the Sport package, housing the bigger brakes and looking cool with the aero trim. 

    The front end has a definite aftermarket look, like it could be your racecar in a video game. Vertical bars in the front grille opening make the car look like a feeding manta ray. The headlights and taillights are shaped like vertical boomerangs, with matching hooks at the bottom just for effect. 

    The hood, doors and hatch are aluminum, lowering weight. The vertical bright silver door handles are difficult to grasp, literally and metaphorically. They look big and cheap, and we would say they're out of character, except they were on the 350Z too, so maybe that is the car's character, but we hope not. The door handles look like they belong on a quirky SUV. 

    The roadster with its cloth top has a natural shape, at least in its standard black. There is an optional Bordeaux color and we say gag me with a spoon, nothing personal. The top is well-insulated with good headliner, and raises and lowers without a manual latch. 

    The bi-xenon headlights pierce the night with safe powerful beams shooting from lenses no bigger than a fat flashlight. At the rear, taillights combine with more-rounded contours to produce an almost elegant effect not unlike that of a Porsche. The dual exhaust outlets are tidily integrated with the rear fascia, and so is the rear spoiler with the aero package. 

    The Nismo is only offered as a coupe, and it has several exterior modifications to give it higher-speed aerodynamics and more performance. The nose is cleaner and nearly 7 inches longer, with a prominent chin spoiler. The Nismo has wider sills, a rear bumper with a substantial diffuser, and taller spoiler. Its coefficient of drag drops to 0.29. The spoilers provide zero front lift and zero rear lift, working with the front bumper that smoothes the flow of air to the sides of the car while the rear spoiler rules the air from the roof to the rear hatch. 

    Interior

    The driving compartment is tidy, with a short shift lever with a good leather-wrapped knob at your grasp with the 6-speed manual; or alloy paddles sprouting from the steering column, with the 7-speed automatic. The long humped aluminum hood looks cool out the windshield. The row of three gauges perched on the center of the dashboard is a Z tradition, but they're oil temp, voltmeter and clock, and in a real driver's world they would be oil temp, water temp and oil pressure. Although, come to think of it, which do you look at more often: clock or oil pressure? Guess we're still purists. 

    The instrument panel moves with the adjustable steering column, with the steering wheel spokes designed to provide a clear view. The gauges are big and clear, white on black with orange needles that look cool especially at night. A 9000-rpm tachometer sits dead center, 180-mph speedometer to the right, and an unusual aluminum-look circle at the left contains two rows of LEDs for water temp and fuel level: gimmicky but we've seen worse. However, it lights up orange at night, and reflects in the windshield; we just wanted it to go away so we could be alone with the car. There's a small digital display with the usual info, including fuel range. 

    As with many sports cars, climbing in can be difficult, requiring a step down with the Z. However, the doors open fully and the sills aren't too wide. 

    There's lots of good work in the bucket seats, especially the driver's seat, whose frame, not just the bolstering, is designed to keep the driver in place, with help from small kneepads designed for support during hard cornering. The driver's cushion is cut out to support the thighs while the feet are dancing on the aluminum pedals. We also like the aluminum pedals, including the tight little dead pedal. Both bucket seats use anti-slip material. 

    We like the standard black fabric, so rugged and sporty that the optional perforated leather isn't needed, beautiful as it is. There's also a synthetic suede. 

    The grippy perforated leather steering wheel has small outside humps to keep your hands at 3 and 9 o'clock, as well as inside humps for your thumbs, to keep them at 2 and 10; Nissan solves the debate by providing for both positions! Just three buttons on the beefy spokes, for stereo and cruise control. 

    There's decent storage space, with a glovebox, a storage box in the dash if there's no navigation system, and small shelves for briefcases behind the bucket seats. There's an aluminum crossbar directly behind the seats, necessary for chassis stiffness, but it only gets a little bit in the way of reaching back into the cargo area for stuff, that can be covered under the tonneau. 

    The optional navigation has a big clear screen, tidily integrated into the center console. Its function is mostly controlled by a clicking knob with scroll arrows underneath, as well as a Nissan ATM-like keyboard with 12 buttons: efficient, not confusing. 

    Nice center stack with vents, plus climate and audio controls, all good. The setup for two cupholders and one cubby between the seats is good, plus cupholders in the door pockets. The interior lights are simple to turn on and off. Easy rings for door handles. 

    Luggage space is modest. The rear hatch provides easy access to 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space, far less than the 22 cubic feet in the Chevrolet Corvette. The roadster's trunk has only 4.2 cubic feet of space, about enough for a couple of duffle bags. The convertible top doesn't impede on the trunk space, and Nissan provides a parcel shelf big enough for a laptop bag behind each seat. 

    Visibility is often poor in sports cars and that's certainly true here. The coupe's big rear B-pillars create a distinct blind spots, most inconveniently over your right shoulder. The roadster has poor rear visibility with the top up. 

    The standard four-speaker stereo produces good sound, while the 240-watt Bose in our Touring model blew our socks off, with its six speakers and dual subwoofers. The coupe transmits road and engine noise, and the roadster wind noise with the top down. 

    Driving Impression

    We've gotten a lot of seat time in the 370Z, including twice on the track in the Nismo version, a 500-mile drive, with 370 of those miles on central California back roads in one joyous day, in a glittering metallic blue 6-speed Coupe (370 miles was a coincidence, but appropriate). Plus, we've driven several models around town. After all that driving, we can't say a single bad thing about the 370Z's performance. And that's saying something. 

    The engine and exhaust produce a unique deep pitch. Imagine a screaming straight-6 BMW merging voices with a throaty V8 Audi, and you have the song of the V6 Nissan 370Z. Or you might say the 370Z sounds like a junkyard dog howling into a concrete culvert, especially if you're driving through canyons like we were. Without turning to look, we can often identify a Z accelerating by purely by the sound: Rohhrl. 

    The 3.7-liter engine loves to linger at 6000 rpm, where it feels like it can run all day, although you almost have to run it up there to hear it, because the cabin is so well insulated. Nissan's V6 features VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift Control) technology, like having four camshafts, two for torque and two for top end. Redline 7500 rpm is reached with little effort, and the rev limiter strikes softly, after a convenient red light in the tachometer starts blinking at 7000 rpm, where horsepower peaks at 332. There are greedy few who will pine for more, because 332 feels just right, given the car's size. 

    The Z accelerates from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds. Its 270 pound-feet of torque peaks at 5200 rpm, quite high, but there's still plenty of torque down low, enough torque to easily spin the rear wheels coming off a second-gear corner with the stability control turned off. The VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) is fairly sensitive in a straight line, and will barely let the wheels bounce under acceleration if the road is bumpy, but it leaves sideways room to kick out the tail without interfering. 

    With that torque, third gear has a broad range, to take the work out of cruising. Sixth gear is a super overdrive to achieve 26 highway miles per gallon, while making 75-mph cruising understated. 

    The rigid chassis uses ultra high-tensile steel, a triangular brace over the engine and aluminum cradle under it, a carbon-fiber box around the radiator, and inverted struts and a crossbrace in the cargo area. It's still 88 pounds lighter than the 350Z, thanks to the double-wishbone suspension and aluminum hood, doors, and hatch. 

    The Roadster is inherently less rigid than the Coupe, but it's exceptionally solid. It's beefed up at the A pillars, side sills and behind the seats, and adds a brace under the body. Drivers who don't regularly push the car near its limits won't notice any difference in the handling between the Roadster and Coupe, but if ultimate performance is the goal, the Coupe is the choice. 

    The cornering is supremely tight, on a short 100-inch wheelbase, with the rotational pivot point in the chassis in its ideal position of balance, right under the driver's seat. It's called the moment of inertia or, in layman's words, the spot where the spinout starts. 

    In those places and situations where you might expect a car to dance around, the 370Z turns. For example during hard cornering on uneven pavement, it grips like a cat. It might twitch once, and then take a set. If it responds this way to big challenges, it can breeze through others. 

    The Z steers with precision and turns in decisively. It changes directions dynamically. It encourages smooth driving. The threshold of grip is impressive. Feels like a big go-cart. Doesn't need much road. 

    The long high-speed straight ends with a sudden S curve behind a 35-mph sign. No worries about the brakes not bringing you down. Especially the big brakes on the Sport package, 4-inch rotors in front, 13.8 inches in rear (12.6-inch rotors are standard). But, like a racecar, you have to release the brakes smoothly, especially at turn-in, because the car responds so quickly. 

    In manual mode, the 7-speed automatic shifts quickly, 0.5 seconds, as fast as some sports cars costing two and three times as much. Drivers can use the paddles or lever. The shifts feel direct, like a manual transmission, thanks to what Nissan calls torque converter lock-up logic. 

    With the 6-speed manual transmission, heel-and-toe downshifting easy. The clutch, gearbox and pedals work well together. So it's ironic that the Z is the first car equipped with a computer-controlled throttle blip during the downshift, called SynchroRev Match; it comes with the Sport package. However there is a debate: Maybe you don't want the car to take over your right foot during downshifting; only dolts need it. However, it's moot because: If you don't like it, or if it gets in the way, you can turn it off. Mechanically, it only makes sense. During aggressive downshifting, four limbs have to do five things. Left hand steers, right hand shifts, left foot clutches, right foot brakes and blips the throttle. SynchroRev relieves your right foot of multi-tasking. We tested SynchroRev on the track and we can say its timing was perfect even if we don't like the concept. Notably, it seemed to stay out of the way and let the driver take control whenever we blipped the throttle for a downshift. We wouldn't have known the feature was there except when it stepped in and blipped when we lazily coasted up to an intersection. 

    We also got seat time in a Nismo 370Z, whose suspension tuning makes the ride too harsh for the street, if you care about a comfortable ride. But it sure is great on the track, where we tested it. It's totally confidence-inspiring. At Willow Springs Raceway in Southern California, we ran a couple laps on the tail of a Mustang Shelby GT driven by a racer, and it was the best four minutes of a day full of testing hot cars. 

    Summary

    Great power, light weight, fantastic handling, beefy brakes, slick aerodynamics, bold styling, good fuel mileage, great 6-speed gearbox; optional 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters, even a Roadster. Base price $32k out the door, whale of a performance bargain. 

    Sam Moses reported from the Pacific Northwest, with Barry Winfield reporting from Spring Mountain Motorsports Park in Nevada, and Kirk Bell in San Francisco. 

    Model Lineup

    Nissan 370Z Coupe ($31,200); Coupe Touring ($35,900); Roadster ($37,900); Roadster Touring ($41,900); Nismo Coupe ($39,190). 

    Assembled In

    Japan. 

    Options As Tested

    Navigation System with rearview monitor ($2,150). 

    Model Tested

    Nissan 370Z Coupe Touring ($35,900). 

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