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2010 Nissan 370Z Convertible

A 332hp successor to the retired 350z

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2010 Nissan 370Z Convertible Review

  • Feb 24, 2010
Rating:
+4
Right now we are seeing a renaissance of sports cars. Every company is making something fast, sleek, agile and beautiful (or trying to). So if you're in the market for a sports car, you've basically wandered in to the Baskin Robbins of car purchasing. There's 10 flavors that go fast, 9 flavors that go really fast but are insanely expensive, 4 that look fast but are actually slow, 5 that can actually take a corner and the rest fall somewhere in the middle. Throw in the fact almost all of them are available with a convertible, and you're probably feeling overwhelmed and ready to give up.


Well don't, because what the 2010 370Z Roadster is is the Neapolitan of sports cars. It's fast enough, plenty agile, and looks fantastic whether the top is up or down.

When I heard I was going to be driving the soft-top version of the new 370Z, I will admit I was disappointed. Convertibles usually don't do justice to the original coupe's design, they're noisy they're soft in the corners and pigeons have the option of bombing you and your passenger. Some people are drawn to open-air motoring as if it's some magical fountain of youth. I am not that person. So when I grabbed the keys, I thought I was going to be driving a heavy, ugly car with the moves of a manatee.

I was wrong. This car has so much grip and poise, that even on a racetrack with quick elevation changes-mid-corner mind you-it never missed a step. High speed corners are taken with complete confidence, and body roll could only be measured with a carpenter's level. Strucutural rigidity is usually the biggest comlaint about a soft-top, but you can erase that term from your dictionary. That's because Nissan planned to have a convertible from the start, so they put the right bits in to make sure it drove as good as the coupe and by achieving .94g (a mere .03 less than the coupe) is proof that Nissan did. It just feels planted.

It's also powerful, with a 3.7 liter V6 producing 332hp and 270 ft lbs of torque, it reaches 60 mph in under 5 seconds. That kind of acceleration is on par with far costlier, uglier convertibles. The powerband is high, with power peaking at 7,000RPM, but the thrust feels smooth and endless. You're not waiting for that big push right before redline, the 370Z urges you forward continuously, as if being pulled forward by an electro-magnet. It's also buttery smooth, with zero vibration, more proof of the exceptional build quality. The only complaint I have is the lack of a proper exhaust note. It looks and feels like a sports car, so it should sound like one.

The transmission in the car is a wonderful 6 speed manual that has a great mechanical feel, without feeling clunky or coarse. The throws are short, and I never had a problem finding a gear. It's fitted with Nissan's new Synchro Rev Matching system, enabling perfect throttle-blip downshifts every time. Heel-and-toeing is fun, but this system is so flawless it allows you to give all your attention to the driving at hand, be it hitting an apex or passing a truck. And to keep your "purist" friends happy, a simple button turns the system off. Altogether the drivetrain on this car is perfect for the car.

Nissan must have spent as much time on the interior as they did on the drivetrain, because it's laid out very well. It's a very driver-oriented cabin, with every button you might need inches away, and the ones you need the most often (stereo volume, bluetooth, NAV) mounted right on the steering wheel. The cabin is a mix of leather, Alcantara, feaux aluminum and quality plastic. A center-mounted tachometer reinforces the sporting nature of the car, as do the auxiliary gauges aimed at the driver. There's enough stowage for your gadgets and drinks, and even space behind the trick-looking, well-bolstered seats. The only problem arises when you try to look in the rear-view mirror with the top up. You can see cars behind you, but I wouldn't rely on looking over your shoulder to parallel park. That aside, the interior looks the part and plays it well.


Lastly, there's the view of the car itself. As I said above, I almost always prefer the look of a coupe to a convertible. The 350Z is a perfect example why; it's hideous. What happened is they designed a great coupe, then simply erased the top half of the car, leaving a belt-line as flat and boring as Arizona. This time around, as I said, Nissan planned to build a convertible all along, so the designers figured out how to make a car with no roof look good. And boy did they succeed. The long bulging hood leads back to high rear fenders and a wrap-around trunk. Long hood, short deck, prominent fenders; classic sports car. The metal has been sculpted into a shape filled with flowing lines and sexy curves and is easily one of the best looking drop-tops around.

This car exceeded my expectations, and not just those of a convertible, but of a sports car. For $44,000 it has every option available, a well-equipped, smart-looking interior, plenty of power, and grip that many AWD cars strive to attain. For that money you can only get a bare-bones Porsche Boxster, or a Miata that has have the power and isn't nearly as pretty. With the gorgeous sculpted body and a build quality on par with NASA, and you have one of the best sports cars, hard-top or soft, available today. In fact this car is so good, I would - and I can't believe I'm saying this- pick this over the coupe.

 
For the full test-drive, with specs and more info: 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster

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February 24, 2010
Wow, this car is hot, and your review is off the hook!  As a super girly girl -- one who likes eating at that -- I appreciate that you initially described this car in terms of ice cream ;)  I currently own a Camry, but I'd really love to get a sports car one of these years and you make this one sound great, so thanks for sharing your very helpful review, Zack! :)
February 24, 2010
Well the car made it easy. Had I had the keys to a Lexus IS250C I assure you the words would not have been as kind. Thanks for reading!
February 26, 2010
I think the Lexus is a pretty hot car, too, but of course, I haven't read the specs on it, so who knows!  By the way, I don't know if you're on twitter on not, but this review was tweeted out on the BestofLunch account yesterday ;)
 
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About the reviewer

Ranked #371
I'm an automotive journalist, actor and comedian. Currently I'm a writer for www.sub5zero.com, specializing in performance cars, and www.TheSmokingTire.com, an entertaining and informative automotive … more
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Wiki

The Nissan 370Z (known as the Fairlady Z in Japan) is a sports car manufactured by Nissan Motors. It was announced on October 29, 2008 and was first shown at an event in Los Angeles ahead of the 2008 Greater LA Auto Show, before being officially unveiled at the show itself. The 370Z is the sixth-generation of the Nissan Z-car line, succeeding the 350Z.

Almost every piece and component of the 370Z has been redesigned. It is powered by the VQ37VHR 3.7 L (230 cu in) DOHC V6 with Variable Valve and Lift Control and produces 332 bhp (248 kW; 337 PS). Power delivery to the rear wheels comes through a new 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters or 6-speed manual transmission which features the world's first synchronized downshift rev-matching system or SynchroRev Match. The differential offered with the Sport Package is indicated to be a viscous limited slip differential manufactured by Torsen.

Compared to the 350Z, the 370Z has a wheelbase 4 in (100 mm) shorter at 100.4 in (2,550 mm) and an overall length 2.7 in (69 mm) shorter at 167.1 in (4,240 mm). The overall width has been increased by 1.3 in (33 mm), the rear track by 2.2 in (56 mm), and overall height reduced by 0.3 in (7.6 mm). The smaller exterior dimensions and use of more lightweight materials help reduce weight. (Although it should be noted that a 2003-2005 base model 350Z is actually lighter in weight than the 370Z). The 370Z features a front aluminum subframe, aluminum-alloy engine cradle, aluminum door ...
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