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Thoughts on Z-Cars: The 370Z

December 5, 2011 by Matt

Nissan 370Z Blue

I don’t want to like this one. It disrupts my narrative that the Z-car series has been going downhill since the introduction of the ’90-’96 Z32 300ZX. But so help me, I actually like the changes Nissan made over the outgoing 350Z. And if the 370Z could truly handle (and went on a diet), I’d think even more highly of it.

Nissan 370Z Blue

That said, I do—predictably—have some bones to pick with the styling. The biggest is simply the jarring awkwardness of the proportions. Nissan clearly attempted to reintroduce some early Z-car styling cues, notably the shape of the quarter lights and the long-nose fastback sports car shape. There’s just one issue with that approach: The 370Z is still obviously a mid-cab car, and no amount of line shifting will change that fact short of actually moving the cab rearward in the car’s profile. As it is, there’s an uncomfortable visual tension between what the car wants to be, and what it is.

Beyond the proportions, most of the details are well done. I don’t have a problem with the head- or taillight boomerang shape; it’s different but not overdone, and it works. The “teeth” in the grille are a bit much—a better way to differentiate the car’s grille from its predecessor’s rectangular shape would have been to alter the shape itself instead of adding doodads inside it. But now I’m splitting hairs.

Nissan 370Z Interior Inside Cockpit Gauges Dashboard

The 370Z’s interior is a welcome improvement over the 350Z’s stark cockpit, with colored inserts on the doors and a bit more shape to the dashboard. The jury’s still out on the SynchroRev Match automated rev-matching system offered with the 6-speed manual transmission. My first reaction is that it seems like it would detract from the satisfaction of driving a manual and acquiring the skill necessary to rev-match and heel-and-toe, but who knows; in practice it could be worthwhile, as long as it’s not too intrusive.

No, overall, I like the 370Z a good deal. Fix the proportion issues, shave 200+ lbs off the 3200 lb curb weight and add a suspension package and I’d be an even bigger fan.

Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series discussing various generations of Nissan’s celebrated Z-car series. Read the other installments here:

Filed under: Datsun, Nissan, Thoughts On Z-Cars

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