370Z: Officially Out of The Closet
I just got an up-to-the-minute email from Road and Track dot com announcing the official unveiling of the new 370Z at the LA Auto Show.
While the car is nothing new to those who have been paying attention, the final reveal of the new Z car now makes the whole thing real. Adios, old friend 350; bienvenuto to the evolved 370.
The car has shrunk some, losing a few inches and about 200 pounds, and that shrinkage is accompanied by an increase in power. The new motor now cranks out 332 horses, a formula guaranteed to increase power and performance and make a zippy car now spell its zip in capitals. There is no actual data yet on performance, but I’m sure the car has gained a few tenths in the quest for 60 and has probably shaved a few additional tenths off the quarter mile dash.
An interesting performance note–Nissan now offers what is called “Synchro-rev” to the 6-speed package, a device that blips the throttle during downshifts, mimicking a heel-and-toe maneuver beloved by speed racers, and the auto box is now a 7-speed.Also, the damnable, cubic volume eating strut bar that subdivided the hatch is gone, re-engineered into the trunk floor. Instead if stealing luggage space, I guess it now it robs space from the spare tire cubby.
Style wise, the car looks a bit squished and tarted up, with a larger, grouper mouth opening in front and a deep indent in the rear, all the better to showcase one’s license plate, I guess. Interestingly, the photos do not show exactly where a front tag will go. I guess you have to hang it within the grouper mouth. What that might do to the airflow to the radiator is anybody’s guess.
The once-unique triangular head- and tail-lights have adapted a Maxima-like Nike “swoosh” and appear somewhat contrived, a design born of cuteness rather than necessity, but what the hell–the designers needed to do SOMETHING to justify their jobs.
The outside door pulls are still vertical but are much more stylized, providing some nice jewelry to the sides of the car. The rear windows, never panoramic to begin with on the 350 are now teeny, tiny little triangular slits, too small to even stick your arm through. (If for some reason you needed to do that, well, you can’t anymore).
The overall body shape is a bit stubbier and more compact, and the new design cues cause the hatch to be considerably more horizontal, possibly compromising the driver’s view to the rear–which was never great in the 350.
Inside, everything looks pretty much the same. There have been upgrades in the materials, eliminating the faux carbon-fiber pattern on the doors and center stack that I thought was just pretentious. The 3-pod information gauges remain atop the dash, as does the Hole Of Mystery that contains the tele-screen, and the ancillary controls (for the dash light rheostats and information controls) located on the sides of the dash pod on the 350 have been placed up top and in front of the driver.
No word if a legitimate glove box, or an actual ashtray have been finally designed in to the dash, but the cup holders are more prominent.
It looks like a Z, just different, and it looks GREAT in yellow. I like the new design, but I’m not as struck by it as I was when the 350 debuted. Evolution is slow.
I’m very excited by the increase in the power-to-weight ratio, so excited that I’m making a point of dreaming about the car when I sleep. I’m booking a couple hours of dream time for tonight, imagining myself behind the wheel burning $1.89.9 gas as I drive my new 370Z up some Idaho mountain, Synchro-revving every few hundred yards and answering questions like “What the hell is THAT???” every time I stop.
I plan on dreaming up a clever answer.
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