The Nissan 370Z feels just as comfortable driving around on city roads as it is on the racetrack
Say hello to the poster boy of gorgeous yet relatively affordable fast cars. Yes, it looks stylish from almost any angle and it lives up to its looks with the help of a 3.7-litre V6 putting out 332bhp and 37.32kgm of pulling power (torque) via a seven-speed gearbox. It zips from 0-100kph in 6.5 seconds, and Nissan is proud of the Z's near-ideal weight distribution (claimed to be 53 per cent front/47 per cent rear).
The way the Z steers and handles is simply brilliant. Ultimate body control and outright grip take a back seat to the feel-and-fun factor on offer. The 370Z is great fun on twisty roads, combining taut body control with strong grip and meaty, communicative steering. It turns into bends sharply. Manual versions will benefit from a traction- and stability-enhancing limited-slip differential (it's an option on the automatic). The ride is surprisingly supple, which makes it all that more friendly on Indian roads. But there is one rather significant caveat that almost undoes all of the 370Z's good work here: the amount of tyre roar. How loud and how intrusive this becomes depends almost entirely on what sort of road surface you're travelling on. And, the six-cylinder engine sounds a bit like an appliance. Sportscars need to sound good, but this one simply sounds thrashy.
The 370Z is strictly a two-seater, but there's plenty of head- and legroom. The 370Z's cabin and driving position is good with the snug seats and a nice chunky steering wheel to hold. Build quality is flawless and everything in here is pretty uncomplicated to use. There are also several useful cabin cubbyholes, including bins behind the seats. But the boot is shallow and the suspension towers intrude into it quite badly. Still, it has got a lot more space than other sportscars' boots and there's a luggage cover to keep your valuables out of sight. Every 370Z comes with alloy wheels, powered seats, climate control, electric windows, keyless engine starting, Xenon headlamps, Bluetooth and a socket for an MP3 player. GT models get heated leather and suede seats, a CD-changer and cruise control.
The good thing about the 370Z is that if you drive it normally, it feels like any other car and feels just as comfortable driving around on city streets as it would out on the racetrack. Priced at Rs 53.5 lakh for the manual and Rs 54.5 lakh for the automatic transmission, the 370Z undercuts its main rival the BMW Z4 by a good margin. When Nissan called it an everyday sports car, it wasn't kidding.