Nissan 370Z: real-wheel Zenith

By Botchi Santos Philippine Daily Inquirer March 15,2020

In a nation where the vast driving generation is so accustomed to front-wheel drive, here comes Nissan unveiling a rear-wheel drive living legend—the 370Z—made it available to the local market complete with full factory support and warranty. It’s been a long time coming but some things are worth waiting for.

The Z Legacy began in 1969, and Nissan has produced six generations of this sportscars for the world, starting with the S30 240Z, and with the latest iteration, the Z34 370Z, a pure, two-seat sports car with cutting-edge technology made affordable and available for the everyday man looking to buy something with more excitement aside from the usual executive sedan or SUV.

The heart of the 370Z is the VQ37HR, a 3.7 liter V6 built on an aluminum alloy block with an open cylinder deck design, helping keep weight down and the V-configuration makes it more compact, helping keep the heavy masses in between the front and rear axles for better weight distribution, which in turn aids handling, acceleration and braking. Power ranges from 318hp for the regular Z, and 339hp for the NISMO variant. The twin-intakes also deliver a very fruity, sonorous wail, and revs cleanly all the way to the 7,500rpm redline. Torque checks-in at 363 Newton-meters for the regular Z and 371 Newton-meters for the NISMO. Of course, the VQ37HR is well-supported by the aftermarket industry: from simple intake, headers and exhausts, to more aggressive and serious stroker kits to increase displacement, forged internals to handle more stress, and turbochargers / supercharger kits are available from Japan and the United States to give the Z more power, torque and excitement.

A limited slip differential transfers power to the rear wheels via a choice of a 6-speed manual with an industry-first SynchroRev-Match system, which automatically blips throttles to match a downshift, mimicking the benefits of a properly executed heel-toe downshift, smoothening chassis movements when attacking corners and under hard braking. A 7-speed automatic transmission with magnesium paddle shifters are also available. The NISMO variant however comes exclusively with the 7-speed automatic, along with black magnesium paddle shifters. All variants feature a staggered wheel set-up, measuring 19X9 front and 19X10 rear wheels for the regular Z’s, and 19X9.5 fronts and 19X10.5 rears for the NISMO, sporting 245/40R19 fronts for all variants, 275/35R19 rears for the regular Z, and 285/35R19 for the NISMO.

Massive 4-piston front calipers and 14-inch rotors and 2-piston rear calipers with 13.3 inch rotors clamp down on the speeding Z repeatedly on track and on spirited drives, and of course features the latest in ABS and Brake Assist emergency braking assistance technology. For the uninitiated with RWD, the 370Z also comes with traction and stability control to tame the rear-end. A carbon-fiber composite drive-shaft and a strut-tower reinforcement bar for added rigidity are standard on all models, while the NISMO variant gets a NISMO-branded strut-tower bar and exclusive forged alloy wheels from RAYS Engineering, a well-known supplier for aftermarket wheels and a technical partner for Nissan in Motorsports at Super GT and Le Mans / WEC Racing Series. The NISMO variant also adds a special body-kit with front and rear spoilers designed to add downforce, and are inspired by the Z’s forays into motorsports like Time Attack, drifting and Super Taikyu Endurance events in Japan and across the globe.

Along with the engine, there are a myriad of upgrades available for the Z, from simple wheel / tire upgrades, suspension upgrades, chassis stiffening and various full bodykits to totally transform the look and simpler body enhancements as well to make your Z stand-out and be different.

The interior gets power adjustable seats, a BOSE 8.8 surround sound system and the latest infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto plus regular Bluetooth Telephony.

How is it to drive? While we have yet to sample the latest version, previous drives on grey-market Z’s prove one thing: the driving experience is classic RWD fun at its finest: fast but not too scary, direct and connected than any other FWD offering you can ever sample, tuneable, excellent on track and on winding roads, and the VQ37HR has very long legs to deliver true long-distance grand-touring abilities a four-cylinder engine coupé simply can’t deliver out of the box. The experience will always be far more involving; it will never get old, but only get better over time. As your time grows with the car, so will your skill. It’s a car you would want to grow old with; mastery of RWD being the most satisfying experience behind the wheel. Plus that sensual, voluptuous silhouette will always arouse your senses for a drive always.

And the best part? The price. The regular 370Z Premium starts at P2.779 million for the manual, while the automatic is pegged at P2.879 million. The NISMO variant, which comes with so much more goodies and a useful bumper in power, clocks in at P3.888 million which comes solely with the 7-speed automatic. Considering that a top-spec 7-seat diesel SUV is in the ballpark of P2.2 million, suddenly, owning a sexy, stylish and iconic sports car becomes realistic and attainable.

It might not be the newest, latest model compared to its competitors. But the 370Z is a legend and legends live forever!

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