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Nissan 370Z is old school muscle

13.03.2018

In an era where manufacturers are seeking to reduce emissions by equipping their newest models with turbochargers hooked to a dual- clutch gearbox of some description, the thought of a big, naturally aspirated mill mated to a manual gearbox has become part of the automotive past unlikely to be revived in great numbers anytime soon.

This is, however, a recipe Nissan has stuck to for over 10 years with the 370Z, having applied minimal changes but keeping true to the formula that started with the original Datsun 240Z almost five decades ago. As a car that has eluded me until now, I had no hesitation in accepting the keys when the updated 370Z recently arrived outside the Autodealer office.

An icon now looking even better

Like its 350Z predecessor, the 370Z became an instant icon thanks to its V6 engine, manual gearbox and rear wheel drive configuration.

Shown for the first time at the Festival of Motoring at Kyalami last year, the 370Z’s new additions include chrome door handles, new LED daytime running lights on the flanks of the front bumper, dark headlight clusters, a redesigned rear bumper, 19-inch alloy wheels a striking new Magma Red paint finish and red brake calipers.

As minimal as the changes are to the 370Z, they only add to its macho appeal with a silhouette that is unmistakably Nissan Z-car.

Inside

Inside the cabin, very little has changed with a seven-inch touchscreen system that features satellite navigation, a DVD player, 9.3 GB hard drive and a reverse camera.

While I found the interior to be surprisingly spacious and indeed driver focused, the aforementioned infotainment system is not the easiest thing to use as both editor Sean Nurse and I had to consult Google to find out how we could connect our smartphones via Bluetooth. 

That said being though, I hardly had the radio on because the car makes a sound that is becoming so rare to find, I just had to enjoy every single note.

That sound

As its name suggests, that noise comes courtesy of a 3.7-litre V6 that makes 245kW/363Nm, and which comes on song from rather low in the rev-range. More of a howl than a rumble or scream, which could perhaps have been louder.

The engine sends its grunt to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual ‘box equipped with not only a new Exedy high-performance clutch but also the Syncro Rev Control system that automatically blips the throttle on downshifts. 

On the road, I also noticed that the 370Z is rather stable despite its big power and rear-wheel drive, with the traction control not intervening each time you hit the loud pedal. Switch it off though, and you need to grab the car by the horns to really work it. It is, however, a rewarding experience and one we are soon going to miss.

Verdict

Unfortunately, the performance advantages of turbocharged cars with seamless automatic gearboxes can’t be ignored, but at R669 990, making it cheaper than the BMW M240i and just a tad pricier than a Volkswagen Golf R, the 370Z is a pure old-school sports car that will thrill and delight each time you slot it in gear and exercise your right foot.

Article written by Justin Jacobs
13.03.2018
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