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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