The wind in your hair experience is exactly what a drop-top is all about. The sky, the car and you in-between the two having the time of your life on a beautiful summers day. This highly desired formula for this mode of transportation is one that has created an extremely competitive market within the industry, and so manufacturers have really had to raise the bar with their next generation models. So what has Nissan brought to the fray?
This is the Nissan 370Z Roadster, a car designed to take on the likes of the BMW Z4, a task nobody envies. But less about other cars, let’s focus on what the 370Z can offer. The 370Z replaces the aging 350Z that as a coupe was a fantastic car, but as a roadster was as floppy as a damp cloth. This car however is in a completely different league. Let’s start with those swooping lines that make up that fantastic bodywork. I must say when I first saw the car I though its design was questionable, those lights far too ostentatious for my liking and don’t even get me started on the aerial that pokes out of the boot like an out of place hair. But then I took a step back, yes some of the design elements in solitude are questionable,nevertheless the car as an entirety is unquestionably gorgeous. The lines that run down the body work are as elegant as bird flight and the subtle budge in the bonnet is the perfect understatement that just hints at what power is being contained beneath. It’s not a subtle car but it is acceptable in its own way.
Cocooned within this sleek profile is the cars 3.7 litre V6 that produces 332 wild horses that are all ready to play. Thanks to this the car will accelerate from 0-62MPH in a g-force inducing 5.5 seconds and won’t stop until it get to 155MPH. This means that the car has plenty of grunt for those B-road thrashes that you crave. Working in harmony with this fantastic engine on the GT model is the ingenious Synchro Rev system built into the gearbox. Now for those of us who don’t speak Nissan technology centre, this clever system basically matches the revs to what gear you change into. For example if I’m in forth and change to third that car will up the revs seamlessly in the time it takes for me to change gear. This makes for the perfect gear change every time, no heal and no malarkey, just the inability to mess up changes. It’s a very simple idea but the best ones often are!
Now the chaise of this car has been purpose built for the roadster as opposed to just taking the once from the coupe and cutting its head off. This means that unlike the 350Z, the 370 is the perfect match for its hardtop counterpart. This makes for one of the most tantalizing driving experiences on offer today as this car takes every one of your nerve endings and plugs them into the mains. It’s just so well balanced, and with that magnificent gearbox it’s effortless. The short wheelbase means that the tail can be let off the leash at your command making for some epic moments behind the wheel. Well done Nissan, top of the class… That is until you stop being a hooligan and have to drive it home. The cars handling may well be fantastic thanks to its taught suspension, but it’s that very same suspension that causes your vertebra to disintegrate like Lego in an earthquake. It seems like the 370Z can magnified even the smallest of potholes into something that would register on the Richter scale. Occupants are jiggled around like a basket of fruit until they reach their destination, and that’s a great shame.
Unfortunately the shortcomings continue whilst you are inside the 370Z for extended periods of time. Although the interior isfantastically designed using complimenting shapes and materials, it is very much style over functionality. The buttons on the steering wheel look like something from Star Trek but I don’t recall Captain Kirk accidently hitting the skip track button whilst attempting to navigate a junction. Also the slender rear window may do wonders for the cars overall appearance, but it certainly makes life hell whilst trying to park or even just use it as a window to view the traffic behind you. I would love to stop ranting now because I love this car, but I can’t because the cars biggest downfall is the thing that gives it the roadster name. The roof whilst neatly stowed away causes no bother; though the process of it folding into its compartment is one that is compliment by the soundtrack of a car compactor. The clunks and crunches at one point led to believe something was broken, but apparently not. Air flow is my final issue with this car as having a convocation in the cabin at anything over 40MPH with the top down is impossible without the aid of a megaphone.
On paper this car is head shoulders knees and toes above many of its competitors and as a driving sensation within its class, it is untouchable. However we don’t live in a paper world and in reality I feel this car would become tedious to live with. All those little niggles may not be worth it in order to enjoy your country drive on the weekends. And that’s rather unfortunate.