If the Nissan GT-R was the car that gave me a huge dose of reality, the Z is the one that left me completely infatuated. How so?
Well, to me, the R35 is a cold, calculated robotic monster (think Mechagodzilla) that would devour anything in its path with ease for the chap behind the wheel. Meanwhile, the 370Z felt the exact opposite. It’s an analog experience, where a little more effort is rewarded with plenty of smiles per gallon.
Yes, this is an old car. Thirteen years old, to be exact. The newest model is on the horizon, and it addresses many of the Z34’s flaws. But this (old) lady takes its age in stride, using it as what makes her attractive to many people in the first place. The way I see it, you’re getting everything from a ’90s to early 2000s JDM hero with the refinement and the engineering of modern-day vehicles.
The Z34’s design is one I consider timeless. It’s mostly the same as when the car first debuted in 2008, but with small cosmetic updates here and there to keep things fresh.
Even today, nothing out there looks like it (maybe the Juke), and its beautiful fastback shape makes it instantly recognizable as a Z car. Just be cautious with 125mm of ground clearance, and try not to graze those gorgeous 19-inch forged Rays wheels.
You can appreciate its looks by feeling the bodywork, quite literally. Call me weird, but this was the first time I found washing a car myself a sensual activity—feeling those large, curvaceous fender flares and shapely bodywork under a wash mitt.
The same can’t be said about the interior. While it’s a logically laid-out cabin, with easy-to-read (and useful) analog gauges, it looks straight out of 2009. Perhaps Nissan took the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy to heart with the Z34.
Materials-wise, there is a good amount of soft-touch areas, Alcantara trim, and leather upholstery. The heated, electronically adjustable front seats are also very supportive and provide an excellent driving position.
Unfortunately for my larger-than-average frame, the driver’s seat (even with the additional manual adjustments) gave me lower back pain after extended periods of driving, and I could feel the posts of the headrests poke my back at times.
It’s also a surprisingly usable car if you’ll have to run errands. The 235L boot can easily swallow a week’s worth of groceries (you’ll need to use your Tetris skills to make sure the hatch will close shut), and there are luggage shelves behind the seats which can fit a bag or two.
One deal-breaker in the car is the eight-inch Blaupunkt head unit (which is a dealer option). While it provides conveniences like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it freezes a lot and there’s a constant hiss from the speakers. It’s a shame, as you can’t fully enjoy the excellent eight-speaker Bose sound system packed into the cabin. There are also no parking sensors and reversing cameras, by the way.
But I have to admit that there is a certain charm about how intimate and analog the entire experience is, especially when you’re actually driving around instead of fiddling with the cabin in a parking lot.
The 3.7-liter, naturally aspirated V6 (code-named VQ37VHR) is something that will be sorely missed once replaced by the turbocharged engine found in the next Z. It’s a very smooth engine, and the effortless linearity you get urges you to rev it to hear the exhaust note that only a Nissan VQ engine can deliver. I assume that an aftermarket exhaust is on the top of the mod list of any Z owner.
I believe that 327hp and 363Nm are the sweet spots for a sports car of this size. Just the right amount of power to inject some excitement on your Sunday drives while not being too wasteful. It’s an effortless highway cruiser—the V6 just happily hums while barreling down an expressway at 80km/h to 100km/h. I saw great fuel economy on the highway, netting 12.2km/h to 14.3km/L.
The same can’t be said for the city. In weekday traffic, I saw figures as low as 3.3km/L. Weekend traffic saw a reasonable 5.6km/L to 6.2km/L, but this is one car you wouldn’t want to be daily driving with today’s gas prices.
The engaging hydraulic power steering, the excellent visibility, the great handling, and the stopping power are part and parcel of the Z’s attributes. You can take this to a track day straight from the factory. It’s extremely stable and confident on the highway, and it’s just as easy to maneuver around the city.
Do you want one? Well, the automatic 370Z Premium will run you for P2,879,000. The manual costs P100,000 less and offers a more engaging driving experience, but you’re paying for the convenience that an automatic transmission brings.
It’s no 370Z Nismo, but it’s already plenty enough for those looking to graduate from their entry-level sports cars.
Of course, if you can wait, the newest Z is on the horizon. But for those looking for a bargain or the next classic, look no further than the fair lady that’s currently available. You won’t regret getting this.
NISSAN 370Z PREMIUM AT
|Engine||3.7-liter V6 gasoline|
|Power||327hp @ 7,000rpm|
|Torque||363Nm @ 5,200rpm|
|Dimensions||4,265mm x 1,825mm x 1,315mm|
|Upside||A beautiful, analog-feeling sports car that offers one of the purest driving experiences you can get today.|
|Downside||You’ll need to spend extra to fit it with features like a reversing camera, and there’s a newer Z coming soon.|