Thursday, May 12, 2016

Nissan's Z still thrills after all these years

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo reviews of the latest motor vehicle models also can be seen on The Sacramento Bee’s website at

This review first appeared in the April 2016 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California Me and Nissan’s Z-car go way back.  How far?

I called it a Datsun 240Z.  That’s how far.  Back then, it was one of the first purpose-built sporty cars I’d ever driven.  I was instantly hooked.

All these years later, the Z still thrills.

My tester was the 2016 Nissan 370Z Sport Coupe, with a surprisingly reasonable starting price of just under $35,000.  For that, you get a lot, and yes, there are much fancier and more powerful versions of the Z available.  You can match one to your budget and sporty expectations.

For me, the 370Z Coupe was plenty of fun as is.  The power curve underneath the hood now comes in at a hefty 332 horsepower.  Even with that much juice, fuel mileage is not all that bad at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

From the outside, the 370Z’s look is straightforward, promising muscle and power.  It looks racy even when it’s creeping into a tight parking spot.  Nissan says it incorporated DNA from the original 240Z into the design.

The modern Z has a rigid suspension that is perfectly equipped to handle the 100-inch wheelbase.  Nissan has incorporated a fair amount of aluminum into the model, which has undoubtedly helped on several fronts.  The contemporary Z feels much more stable than previous generations.

On the fly with the 370Z, the old memories come flooding back, keeping in mind that the current Z is ridiculously stronger than that old 240Z of yesteryear.  Response from the 3.7-liter engine is instant, and best of all, a satisfying rumble makes its way into the cockpit.  Outside the cabin, it’s a near-roar, a loud sound that I find completely satisfying.

For all its instant oomph, steering remains remarkably light.  I could move the car on a razor’s edge, and at no time did I feel that I was overstepping the vehicle’s limits.  My ride was equipped with a seven-speed automatic, which handled all conditions with seamless perfection.

The contemporary Z is far more civilized on the inside that the Z-cars that rolled off the line decades ago.  Interior seat comfort was good, the audio system was nicely balanced and the list of standard convenience features was exceptional.

The deeply set instrument panel was easy to use and understand.  That also brought back memories; some of the first “fighter pilot-style” cockpits I remember experiencing were behind the wheel of a Z-car.

I have been somewhat stunned by fellow reviewers who basically said the 370Z was OK for an old car.  Really?  You mean like the Corvette and Mustang, other old cars?  Those two models seem to remain rather popular.  I chalk it up to contemporary merchandise attitudes.  Alas, cars aren’t like mobile phones.  Vehicles actually retain character, and consumer loyalty, over time.

I can say without shame that I did not want to step out of the 370Z when my testing time was up.  I was having that much fun.  This is a top-tier sports car, and yeah, it had plenty of room to carry a ton of fond memories.


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  2. I have always loved the Z! I remember when I was at my 20s, my brother had a 240Z. I will never forget how much fun that car was to drive and to ride in--hopefully the new 370Z will bring as many great memories to today's teenagers as the 240 brought me back in my heyday.