Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe Touring

The 2012 Nissan 370Z is the second time I've been in a 370Z. My first time is when I drove a 2010 Nissan 370Z NISMO on the roads of Tennessee. My time in the 370Z NISMO was fun and challenging because it was my first time in two years driving a manual (I'm still learning how). But this time around my tester came equipped with a 7-speed automatic, YAY! There are three Z's to choose from, including the coupe, the roadster, and the NISMO. My tester was a 370Z Touring that came in at $42,535.

In my opinion the 370Z is the best looking vehicle in the Nissan lineup. A lot of the Z
s design elements have trickled down over the years into the Maxima, Altima, and Murano CrossCabriolet. The Z features claw-like shaped headlights, plenty of curves, and a tooth in the grille that is going away for the 2013 model year. I am not a big fan of black cars but my tester's Magnetic Black Metallic color really stood out.

The 370Z is a small vehicle and sits EXTREMELY low. The interior of the 370Z is a big improvement over the 350Z. I am happy that the Z has no rear seats! This allows more room for the driver and passenger to adjust their seats. There is a mix of good quality and soft touch materials throughout the cabin. The seats in the Z are very comfortable and supportive. I do think that at $42,000 power adjusting seats should be standard. The knobs and buttons are of good quality and are easy to reach from the drivers seat.

There was little to no tech in my tester. The 370Z does have push-button start, and an eight-speaker sound system. Buyers can step up to a hard-drive based navigation system, 9.3GB of music storage, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, and a much needed rear-view camera.

Behind the wheel
The 370Z is powered by Nissan's 3.7L V6 engine producing 332 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the rest of the Nissan lineup the Z's engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. The transmission works really well and power comes on when needed. A lot of reviewers complained about the engine noise but I did not find it that annoying. But it could be that I was having too much fun on the roads of North Carolina. Majority of the time I had the car in manual mode and used the paddle shifters which to my liking are mounted to the steering wheel column instead of the wheel. Visibility in the 370Z is really limited. Driver's will have to pay attention to their blind spots. The ride of the 370Z can be pretty harsh and Nissan needs to find a way to improve ride quality.

I have always had a fascination with the Z going all the way back to the Datsun days. The 370Z is a blast to drive and is a great value. I think the biggest problem facing the current generation Z is price. The 370Z is in the same price field as the Infiniti G37 coupe and convertible. There have been talks that the next generation Z would feature a smaller engine which I hope is not true. The V6 is a staple of the Z and should not be replaced. If you're in the market for a sports car be sure to check out the Nissan 370Z at your nearest dealership (If you're in NC be sure to visit my friends at Greenville Nissan). You may be able to get a good deal because the 2013 370Z model is getting ready to roll out. A 2012 Nissan 370Z base trim starts at $32,280 and delivers 19 mpg city and 26 mpg hwy.

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