The Nissan 370Z GT Edition – A Pure, Blissful Sports Car
It was 3:45 pm and I had to rush to a hotel next to Abu Dhabi airport to meet my school-time buddy, Hassan who was transiting for few hours before heading for his final destination, Karachi. However the trip wasn’t planned last minute, the itinerary was set, yet the eagerness was there to meet the friend after 20 years.
At 10ish while I was asleep, I received the phone call from Bilal, an account executive from Nissan’s media and public relation agency telling me that I may not be able to receive the car as they observed engine heating up beyond the normal limits and it was due to the fact there was no coolant either, heck! This definitely requires troubleshooting, I thought. Bilal continued in his thick voice that makes you think about a scene from a film where the person is trying to disguise his voice by keeping hankie over the phone’s mouthpiece,”so the car now needs to undergo a full inspection”, confirming my initial thoughts. Still, I asked, “if after replenishing the coolant was there any leakage observed and how was the engine behavior then?” here to my surprise Bilal gave me a response that sounded too positive for me and I blurted without a second thought: “ just send me the car, if at any given time I observe any erratic behavior I’ll take it to the service center myself”.
The car arrived at 3 pm, right on the dot, as promised! Excitement sparks to fuel the passion and the rest is all in the rearview mirror.
But I won my ticket on Titanic here in a lucky hand at poker. A very lucky hand.” – Jack
It was the last week of Ramadan, during a casual conversation with Alaa (account manager from Ogilvy & Mather, PR Company for Nissan Middle East), I enquire the availability of 370Z and without much ado to my surprise, I received a follow-up email the next day with a reserve date set right after Eid. Kudos to the boys making it possible, this was beyond expectation.
Before I log down my account, I would like to impart a few important facts here: Even though the 370Z is given as a review on a test drive, still I won’t consider this as a proper test drive with the scoring based on our criteria due to a subsequent reason; This particular Nissan 370 Z GT Edition is an early 2014 model and wasn’t registered in 2015 as a 2015 model year car.
The car has around 25K km on the odo, but more than anything the bodywork: front lip spoiler, bumper and side skirt have been exposed to the battery of rough behavior by previous promotional/ media outings. The important point here is that; every time the car is returned back to base after the series of activations: test drive and promotional events it undergoes the stringent checks. This requires 2-3 days of garage time, as these preparations are highly important to the car manufacturer because the car has to be ready and dialed back to the factory condition so that the experience remains fresh for the next presentation. However, damages to the body parts may incur extra down time which subsequently leads towards a loss.
The Ol’ Jap Beaut.
The Nissan 370Z has been around for as long as an eon. It started its life as 350Z back in early 2000 and then it was succeeded by the present day 370Z in 2009. Hence, to me, it remains one of the few true, genuine sports cars. Otherwise, there’s so much of cross breeding in designs that it’s now hard to understand, which one is a true sports car?
The long, low-slung hood with short rear deck and smallish greenhouse, wider squat are all the characteristics of the true sports car. Interestingly rather surprisingly the 370Z being at 166.9 inches, is almost 9-10 inch smaller than the new C7 Stingray Corvette and the Porsche 911 (991). However width wise, it’s quite similar at 72.8 in. the bulbous 370Z is further adorned with GT Edition appearance pack that includes front valance and side skirts with a big spoiler on the tail. Also the 19’ Rays super lightweight forged alloy wheels are painted in contrasting dark color.
With the added zing in the design of the headlights and tail lights, the 370Z clearly sets apart from 350Z. In the end, it’s fair to say that if there’s such a thing as the Japanese muscle car, then 370Z fits right into that category.
The Samurai Ride.
Time for the ride now, as I am getting late I need to hit the road now. The measured distance from my abode in Sharjah to the hotel next to Abu Dhabi airport is about 170 kilometers. Needless to say, it would be the same distance on the way back as well. I estimated an elapsed time would be about 6 hours. In the back of my head, there was a constant warning light of engine getting heat up. (At present the temp indicator displaying 44C). The 370Z is equipped with all the necessities (luxuries) like Bluetooth mobile connectivity, sat-nav, and Bose sound system. Once snuggled in the air-conditioned leather sports bucket seats, I am found myself cocooned in a jet fighter like driver-focused cockpit. Everything is business, where business means race! However design look dated, but who’d care?
370Z felt like a flashback from the 90’s where the buzzword was “AnaDigi”. It sounded just like, where my memory lane was filled with the pure act of punk rock, Nirvana and the masters of grunge, Pearl Jam. The naturally aspirated 3.7-V6 belting out a raw sound from the dual channel exhausts that was music to my ears
This 370Z is the car that is devoid of modern gimmicks: there is no lane assist control or Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW) with Forward Emergency Braking (FEB). No, it’s pure organic pleasure as much as you can have these days. It’s like a backup restoring feature on your computer that says “restore the computer to an earlier date”. That’s why the steering felt bit heavier than today’s electronic steering the 7 speed automatic (paddle-shift) is still the single clutch as opposed to the dual clutch system. The engine is all naturally aspirated 3.7 DOHC V6 that pumping out solid 328hp with a sonorous sound filling the ears. The engine happily sings up to 7500 Rpm and reaching 0-60 in 5.3 seconds is as easy as fun. Tapping the accelerator on the high-speed Abu Dhabi bound highway and I found myself reaching way above the legit 140Km/h speed limit. But very soon I got bored with a straight road, and this gave me a time notice other things. The most prominent one was the well-pronounced road noise! I returned back home after clocking some 375 km on the odo. The surprise element was the superb observed fuel economy of 12l/100km.
I thoroughly enjoyed the drive, the car has the tendency to oversteer easily or fishtailing around even with the traction control switched on, adds up the drama in the exhilarating driving experience. No wonder as the Nissan 370Z sets the Guinness World Records title for the longest twin vehicle drifting. Two Nissan Z cars drifted around a track at the same time without stopping for 28.52 kilometers.
Other times on the meandering road through the mountainous region, it’s comforting to know that the 370Z is equipped with 14 inch vented discs up front with 4 rotors to confidently jam at the next blinder. The 370Z is further augmented with Nissan handling wizardry for such situation called Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) continuously monitors the speed of each wheel, steering angle, yaw, lateral G-forces, and even breaking under pressure. If at any given time understeer or oversteer is detected, VDC do intervene and brakes individual wheels and/or reduces engine power to help to keep the confidence high.
I kid you not, throughout the test drive days, I hardly find myself distracted with the available features such satnav and aircon vented seats and a reverse camera. There could more options thrown in, though I couldn’t be bothered.
The Last of the Mohican
Before I sign-off some information I would still like to share. The replacement Z car may be further delayed. A possible hint received from Nissan design chief and senior vice president Shiro Nakamura said to Australia’s Drive “there could be a gap between the end of production of the 370Z,” “We haven’t decided anything about the next-generation Z, whether it should be larger or have more power,” Nakamura explained. “We need to take another pass.” What’s more predictably smaller 4 cylinder engine forced fed with twin turbos and also at a start-up level, most likely to rival Toyota GT 86, a new pocket rocket based on the stunning IDX concept.
Till then, for and engaging and true driving experience this tester was reasonably priced at AED 149,000/-. There are many cars that I had in-the-flesh experience and falls in the similar price bracket. But if you are looking for a car that is easy to take care with performance on par look no further than 370Z. Important thing: there was no engine heat up or more coolant leak, the trip was good, life is blissful!