Ever since it first appeared in the late ‘60s and early 1970s, the Nissan Z sports coupe has been fascinating drivers with its enviable power, handling and accessibility. Always ahead of the curve with regard to each of these named attributes, the Z car is still – more than 40 years on – one of the best sports car buys on the market. Nissan probably puts it best right on the car’s Monroney sticker: the Z exemplifies “Passionate Performance at an Excellent Value.”They’re right, particularly if one sticks with the base model of the 2010 Nissan 370Z. The redesigned Z appeared in 2009 with up-rated engine and enhanced bodylines. For once, the manufacturer didn’t make a hash of what was, with the 350Z, a very classic design. The styling continues to be seductively sexy and the dimensions are just right for a party of two. There are large wheels and tires to aid handling and Nissan finally includes standard heated side mirrors for its classy sports coupe.
The sizing of the 2010 Nissan 370 is Goldilocks “just right” at 167.2 inches long, 72.6 inches wide, 51.8 inches tall on a 100.4-inch wheel base. Curb weight is 3,232 pounds and turning circle for this rear-wheel-drive car is a dandy 32.8 feet.The power comes from Nissan’s delightfully powerful and tractable all aluminum 3.7-liter V-6 that makes a raucous 332 horsepower at 7,000 rpm (redline is 7,500) and 270 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. Mated to a beautifully tuned close ratio six-speed manual, the package is, dare I say, nearly mechanically perfect.
Nissan fits double-link, double-wishbone aluminum front and four-link aluminum rear suspensions with front and rear stabilizer bars. Ripple-control shock absorbers and a three-point front strut tower base aids body rigidity and enhances the sporting character of the Z, as does vehicle speed-sensitive power steering. Nissan includes ABS-equipped vented brake discs all around with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. It all works perfectly.The 2010 Nissan 370Z is a complete head-turner in the Monterey blue exterior with black cloth inside. The Z driven here has a starting price of $30,710 including destination. Nissan bills $115 for floor mats, $200 for illuminated Z kick plates, $580 for the NISMO performance brake pads (no wonder this car stops so well) and another $3000 for the fabulous sport package of SynchroRev Match manual transmission, viscous limited slip differential, 19-inch RAY’s forged five-spoke wheels (riding on Bridgestone 245/40R front and 275/35R rear tires), front chin and rear spoiler (a small one, thank goodness) and Nissan sport brakes. The total is $34,605 and I challenge you to find a better sports coupe for this price. Still looking, I’d bet.
The value of the 370Z is not just in its pricing and exterior styling, but also in its ability to keep a driver comfortable and alert throughout every drive, long or short. Nissan does such a beautiful job of making a driver and passenger content in the cabin and enhancing the driving experience with all the values applied to this Z. Shifts are easily accomplished, gearing is lovely, and power is exemplary – yet the 370Z can be driven lazily without complaint. The steering feels tight and perfectly weighted. The clutch action is delightful.There were nearly 9000 miles on this 2010 Nissan 370Z at pick-up, so it was already broken in and had lived a hard life as a media tester prior to this test. Even so, all doors close neatly, thanks to the slight dip at entry and return at closure. Seams are even and construction is, as expected, world class.