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December 18, 2009

New Car Review: The 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster

By Bob Plunkett

2010nissanzcoupe This is too easy:  Just one finger punching a console switch is all it takes to whisk aw  ay the roof structure on Nissan's slinky two-door sports car, the racy 370Z.  Nissan labels it as the all-new 370Z Roadster of 2010, an al fresco variation spinning off the wicked 2009 370Z hatchback-styled hardtop coupe.  The convertible carries special high-back bucket seats and unique materials for the cockpit.  Z as a roadster looks like it's speeding even when parked.

Contributing to that expression of speed is the exaggerated prow fixed with fierce boomerang-shaped HID (high intensity discharge) bi-functional xenon headlamps, fenders bulging to cover the oversized rubber rollers, a windshield cocked back at an extreme angle and the strong horizontal belt line interrupted only by the vertical slot of a door handle and the muscular bulge of the tail.  Behind this too-cool package, you'll find a genuine sports car in classic format -- with the engine mounted up front and all power directed to the big wheels in back.

The 370Z convertible comes in two different trim flavors -- Roadster and Roadster Touring.  Each version stocks the same V6 engine and suspension system, along with a driveshaft composed of strong carbon-fiber material, an electronically controlled drive-by-wire throttle and an exhaust with twin pipes out back.  The V6 displaces 3.7 liters and carries dual cams on top with VVEL (variable valve event and lift control).

A sophisticated independent suspension at all four wheels employs aluminum-alloy components to trim the unsprung weight.  Other weight-saving components include aluminum for the front hood, trunk lid and both side doors.  Special shocks set up responsive control yet also deliver a stiff and sporty ride quality.  For keen stopping power, the standard brake package consists of ventilated discs (12.6-inch front and 12.6-inch rear rotors) with computer linkage to an anti-lock brake system (ABS), brake assist (BA) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD).  Further, every Z-car carries Nissan's vehicle dynamic control (VDC) device which checks lateral skidding.


To test the new Z-car we slip into the driver's bucket and buckle up. Z's cockpit, snug in fit and 
oriented around the driver, has only two seats in a cozy space divided by the center console. The driver's seat varies from the passenger's seat -- the seat cushion has cut-outs on flanks so a driver can pump the pedals without bumping the seat.  Now fire up the six-pack, shift down to the bottom gear and let it rip.  It's so strong and quick that posted speed constraints prevent a full exploration of this car's potential, yet there's far more zip to this Z than you'll ever use if keeping it legal.

Standard gear on a 370Z Roadster ranges from Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Start to power controls for windows and door locks, active head restraints and an audio kit with AM/FM/CD/AUX.  The 370Z Roadster Touring brings four-way power for heated and cooled leather net seats, a deluxe Bose audio system, Bluetooth phone kit and aluminum-trimmed pedals.

Nissan's new 370Z Roadster lists for $36,970 (manual shift) and $ 38,270 (automatic) or $3,550 more for the Touring versions.

For more information see RTM's Nissan Buying Guide or visit

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