2009-04-20

Some see a letter, others see a car... that could have been

Test drove the famed Nissan 370Z on Saturday. Thoroughly unimpressed.

The main reason I wanted to try it was for the SunchroRev Match function. And that was the most exciting part of the test drive. That and the torque.

It is almost eerie when the car rev-matches on downshifts, smoothly and precisely, each and every time. However, when that function is active, upshifts become very twitchy. I am dealing with a fairly touchy S2000 clutch day in and day out, and can assure you that if I set my mind to it, I could transport an open glass of water from A to B and not spill a drop. As a matter of fact, I did transport a vase with a bouquet of flowers in the passenger footwell once already. So I know what I am talking about when I say it was impossible to make a single smooth upshift with the rev-match function turned on.

The car has a standard-enough looking H-pattern shifter, which somehow felt electronic, like there weren't any actual gears moving and engaging as I was rowing up and down through the gears. That provided for just another degree of separation between driver and the road. The Z is very softly sprung for the torque it has, which results in a fair amount of squat and nose-dive on acceleration and braking.

The torque is nice, but that was it.

Plus, with 15 mpg city to 18 mpg highway, the fuel economy is simply pathetic. For that kinda money, I'll go get a 2 year-old Z06 and get all the torque and then some, and better gas mileage.

Exterior is a definite step up from the couch-potato looking predecessor 350Z. The wheels on the new Z are beautiful. Don't know how heavy they are, but they look very nice in real life. Even nicer than in pictures.

Interior was not cheap-looking, but not very awe-inspiring either. Granted, I only saw the basic interior package. There is a leather upgrade, which--let's hope--comes with higher-quality door and dash plastics. Probably not.

Anyway, it's a good thing I started the quest for my next car early, because the Z definitely ain't gonna be it. :)