Nissan’s new 370Z, the upcoming replacement to the six year old 350Z, has just been driven by a select handful of motoring journalists before it goes on sale in Japan, followed by the key North American market and than in Europe towards the end of the first quarter 2009.
UK based Car Magazine were one of the lucky publications to attend and had a number of things to say about the sports car with a big name to live up to.
Firstly, the UK magazine loves the new styling, awarding the Z a feel good factor of 5 out of 5. Without seeing one in the metal we’d still have to agree, taking 100mm out from the wheelbase, adding bigger alloys and giving the sports car more of a ‘waisted’ Porsche 993 look has to be a good thing.
What’s equally impressive is that the power has increased by just over 20bhp, hefty crash protection has been added, yet by switching to aluminium doors, bootlid and bonnet no weight has been put on from the 350Z. Rejoice, a new model that is no heavier than the one it replaces. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re starting to feel confident that weight reduction will become a lot more commonplace in the decade ahead.
Back to the new Z, Car noted that body control is a big improvement over the 350Z as is steering feel and an engine that feels even more athletic. The journalist also loved the meaty and precise feel to the manual gearbox.
Heading inside, it’s no surprise that the interior gets the nod of approval over the existing car. The soft touch plastics are a big step forward from the hard plastic finish on the dash of the 350Z, and the leather seats now come with grippy suede inserts, perfect for keeping your backside nestled into the seat, as you flick through the gears.
It sounds like Nissan might have themselves another giant slaying new model on their hands. Just like the GT-R which has been busy winning awards over legendary sports cars like the Porsche 911, could the 370Z topple the more expensive Cayman? Well, we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves here, as Car stated the Cayman is still the more satisfying of the two to drive and with a significant lighter kerb weight, this comes as no real surprise. However, compared to its direct competitors (on price anyway), Nissan may have just done enough to take it all the way to the top step on the podium.
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