The 370Z Roadster is still fast, fun and cozy comfy for two. But there are others that do it better and have a bit more room without feeling it, blogs Dan Scanlan.
But as we checked out the ‘16 Nissan 370Z Roadster on a chilly winter week, it’s hard to forget that this version is more than six years old. So in a world where other marques’ lightweight sports cars remind us what “sports” means, has the 370Z aged into the grand touring class?
The latest Nissan 370Z Roadster Touring Sport weighs 3,521 pounds vs. 3,353 for the top coupe model, added weight due to the top mechanism and chassis stiffening like a suspension tower cross-brace. That didn’t seem to blunt the performance of our 4,400-mile-old, 332-horsepower V-6. A 370Z Coupe we tested a few years ago with a six-speed manual hit 60-mph in 5.7 seconds, while a 350-hp 370Z NISMO we tested in 2015 did it in 4.9 seconds.
The double-wishbone front suspension with forged aluminum arms and aluminum-alloy cradle, and a four-link rear suspension delivered a firm yet supple ride that handled bumps and expansion joints without drama. It wasn’t soft, but it buffered potholes well, giving it a supple grand touring ride.
The flared bulging front fenders frame wide and low-profile Bridgestone Potenza P245/40R19 rubber on smoked gray forked 5-spoke RAYS alloy wheels. Inside, bright red calipers clamp big vented disc brakes. In back, slightly wider 275/35R19 rubber under pronounced rear flared fenders. Classic amber side marker lamps with Z emblems are on the front fenders, and twin roll hoops behind the seat head restraints when the top is down.
The audio system can kick out tunes loud enough to be heard with the top down at 70-mph, where wind buffeting is livable thanks to a clear wind-blocker between the roll bars. But there is wind noise from the top when it’s up, making the cockpit noisy at highway speed. The trunk is boxy but very small. Visibility with the top up is OK, with a slim rear window.
There are a few other rear wheel drive convertible sports cars out there – the new Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring roadster that starts at $30,000, as does the Ford Mustang V-6 convertible. The Chevrolet Camaro 2LT is $37,000, the Audi 2.0T TT Roadster is $46,000 and the BMW M235i $49,000. The Mazda is still the corner-stitching king, fun to toss around, with just enough power and grip to play with. But the latest Camaro is pretty swift in curvy bits, as is the all-wheel-drive Audi, with the BMW and Mustang not too far behind. The Camaro and Mustang are the biggest and the most practical, with back seats and trunks, while the BMW has smaller versions of both. The Mazda and Audi are true two-seaters like the Z. My favorite: Mazda!
For more information about the 370Z Roadster, please visit http://www.nissanusa.com/sportscars/z-roadster