I used to believe that once you go European, you never go back with cars. My last car was a BMW and I loved its luxury look and feel, but I got bored. I wanted more from the driving experience and something really fun. I also wanted a manual car and unless I was going to splash out on something like a M3, nothing European seemed like a sensible manual choice when considering resale value.
But one car that always caught my eye on the road, despite being a Nissan was the 370Z Coupe. It has sexy styling and looks like it is doing 100km standing still. This is a car that gets a lot of attention on the street, so don't buy one if you're not a show pony!
I fell in love as soon as I drove it. Not only did it have the looks, it also had performance. Packed with 245kW and 363Nm of torque, the 6 speed manual Z achieves 5.3 sec 0-100km and the thrill of taking off from lights and slamming through the gears (until the speed limit of course…) is something that never gets old.
The engine comes alive with a throaty growl when you push the start button and the sound of the Sports mode as your move through the gears excites. The Z's SynchroRev Match technology maintains revs on downward gear shifts making for a very smooth ride. Those that are fond of the heel and toe method can rest easy and let the car take care of it.
You'll certainly hear that engine roar as cabin noise is quite loud, but not enough to become tiresome. The suspension is tight like a sports car should be, but not excessive and it is a comfortable ride. The Bembo brakes have exceptional stopping power, and the flashes of red behind the silver cage style alloys add to the sporty look.
The manual Z at $62K driveway, or $65.5K for the auto is well priced for a 3.7 ltr petrol V6 that has true sports car styling, as well as superior driving performance. The interior is not luxurious, it has a ‘plasticy' feel but the bolstered seats are comfortable and it's good enough. It is also thirsty at 10.5L/100km, but the drive is well worth it.
The Australian Z comes with pretty much everything you will need and there are hardly any factory options to add. You'll get 19” alloy wheels (unfortunately there are no factory variants to select between), keyless entry and ignition, electric and heated seats, sat nav and reversing camera.
Purchasing a new Z gives you all the usual Nissan perks of a new car. This incudes capped price servicing for up to 6 years or 120,000 kms, a 3 year/100,000km warranty and 3 years free roadside assistance.
There is so much to love about the Z and it's a real driver's car, but there are some frustrations. I've found the sat nav to be terribly unreliable, sending me on strange routes despite having played with all the settings and it often cannot find addresses that have obviously been around for decades.
Despite the comforts of electric seats and auto headlights, they have fallen short in completing what I now consider to be standard driving equipment with the omission of auto wipers.
The steering wheel is adjustable up and down, but does not telescope which could affect driveability for some. Leg space is lacking for taller drivers, and at 5'10” I drive the Z with the seat as far back as it will go, so those +6 foot may struggle.
The sound system has amazing potential being a 8 speaker Bose that includes a clever subwoofer that sits in the spare wheel hub. However the Bluetooth quality is poor for both phone and playing music and you'll only get bass that thumps in the back of your seat by plugging your device in through the USB cable.
The Z is also not the car for you if you need to carry much. There is handbag sized space behind the two seats and the boot is also small and shallow. You'll fit overnight bags in there only, but on a positive note you'll never have to drop friends at the airport again!
Three months into ownership of the Z, it's too early to comment on reliability or durability, but overall I am very satisfied with my purchase as it is a car that thrills me every time I get in it.