I reckon that what the M3 is to BMW and its owners/fans is what the Z-series is to Nissan and its own cult following, especially in the last decade. The analogy is more than an emotional and aspirational standpoint; I am actually concentrating on the actual evolution methods of the cars, yes both engineering and design. Just like with the BMW E92 M3, Nissan has several models within the range and flexibility in individualization as well. Mechanically however, both surgical driving tools have been gently honed every year with minute improvements to perfection. The methods maybe similar but the final products are ultimately vastly different, the similarity ends here.
Technically the Z-car has been around longer, with direct lineage originating as far back as 1969 with the S30. This is no mystery; the Z-car has serious pedigree and engineering, with every generation being remarkable and desirable in its day. I personally coveted the twin-turbo 300bhp 300ZX (Z32) back when I was at University! They were all driver centered sportscars with traditional characteristics intact with the best technology Nissan had at every generation. In fact the Z-car is arguably the very best selling and most successful sportscar ever made with supposedly over 2 million cars sold since its original debut.
When the 5th generation model emerged in 2002 it was an instant hit. The 350Z stole sales from the Europeans with affordable yet still dynamic and practical thrills while at the same time made the younger set start dreaming again of a Z-car. Ironically it was Nissan’s very own GTR Skyline that eventually would knock the wind out of the sails of desire and stole the limelight when Nissan decided to share the model range with the world. Still the Z-car remained more affordable, practical and hugely fun. C! Magazine has tested every single Z-car made and I have to say that the most recent test car you see on this page is by far the most well rounded and can stand proudly next to its supercar killing brother the Skyline GT-R.
Nissan has clearly maximized every ounce of power from its now 3.7 liter normally aspirated V6 sportscar. It always handled well, but the updated 6th generation car feels completely alive and exciting compared to the previous model. The current model is leagues more refined and wonderfully satisfying to drive. It may be a bit too loud for some but at least now the progress matches the posing. It also looks and feels its best too even when cruising along the boulevards at a pedestrian pace. I used to think that the last model’s interior in particular had lost a lot of class and needed to be updated heavily.
This Touring model had everything I would want in a perfect Z-car which includes the 7-speed automatic that functions as close to a DSG as possible but with the smoothness of a traditional automatic. It works in perfect synchronicity with the potent and ever so willing 332 bhp engine, razor sharp suspension that isn’t harsh anymore, meaty forged Ray’s 19” wheels with massive mixed rubber and the relentless speed that you can generate and maintain even in some almost impossible corners where the 370Z should have lost its grip much earlier in my favorite stomping grounds in the countryside. The optional LSD definitely helps in that routine.
I simply love this car and how attainable it is. It is undoubtedly superior in every way to the Hyundai Genesis Coupé and is only bested by the newly updated Ford Mustang GT in terms of affordable driving pleasure, outright performance and character. It’s a crime that this car is not sold officially in the Philippines.
Specification – 2011 Nissan 370Z Touring
Engine: V6, 3696 cc, dohc 24V, VVEL, 7-Speed AT
Max power: 332 bhp @ 7000 rpm
Max torque: 269 lb ft @ 5200 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62mph): 5.2 sec.
Top Speed: 250 km/h (156 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 19 mpg City & 26 mpg Highway
Price as tested: US$ 40,745.00
+Best of the breed
-Ummm, not sold here at the moment
C! RATING 10/10