October 2015

I’m a showoff. I think we all are. When you’re in the possession of something new or unique, it’s all that you can talk about, and people need to know; even if they don’t care. We’re in a constant need to compete when it comes to material things. Gotta have the freshest clothes,  the newest phone, the nicest ride.

People need to know that this is yours, and they need to get on your level. And if they are, you better be on whatevers next.

I bought this car on a whim based on nothing but pride. My only previous experience in or with any of the Nissan Z cars were trace. A test drive back in 2009 made me contemplate a 370Z, but nothing more. If my coworker and my best friend didn’t say they were going to buy one that week, I would not be writing this review on my own car.

I’m glad they did.

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March 2015. GTM. MR2. SUPRA. Coworkers. Enthusiasts.

With one on order, rumors spread at work within the first hour. Everybody knew. By the end of the shift specs and prices were heavily discussed, and future modifications were already planned and on order. The guy with the Supra was getting a 370Z.

That weekend, the guy in the GTM stopped by a Nissan Dealer on his way home from work, and found 2 more. That only left me, Mr. 2. Number 3. I received a very enthusiastic call, and drove right over with deposit in hand. I went home that night in a 370Z.

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There was no prior test drive or number crunching. It didn’t matter that I already had 4 other cars and didn’t have space for a 5th. Or that it was going to be my 4th Pearl white car in the stable. I wasn’t going to be that guy without a Z.

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Interesting Monday.

3 cars in a week. Thank you and you’re welcome Nissan.

6 months in, and the wallet hasn’t been dented. Just how affordable is this thing?

The Differences

Back in 2015 Nissan announced that there would be a new base package available for the 370Z. That came with a $10,000 price drop from the touring and minimal features to price it competitively.

For under 30k CAD you could have the basic 370Z. And all it really meant was that you didn’t get leather or an LSD. You still get the car with the stout 3.7L V6 VQ37VHR with 332 hp across the line. 350hp in the Nismo.

The previous “base model” Touring added a factory VLSD with Leather heated seats and a GPS touch screen. You still get the same car, with the same motor, and base model brakes. For an additional $10k.

This is where the catch 22 starts.

If you start with a Touring model as you would pre-enthusiast, you could add the sport package for an extra 3k which was a huge bargain for what was included. 14”Akebono brakes, 19” Rays wheels, Synchro Rev Match, and some aero bits. I can tell you right now, that the wheels alone would cost you about 2800. An absolute steal considering that you received a factory Big Brake kit for free.

Then comes the Nismo. An additional 4k option. +7K from the old base touring. This gave you everything from the Touring Sport, including a plethora of Factory Nismo appointed items. Special Nismo Rays wheels, full Aero kit, chassis bracing, Recaro Seats, gauge cluster, black housing headlights, and on and on and on. This was a game changer. Everything you could possibly want improved from the OEM, in a very affordable 7K option. Just try and price this out yourself.  You would be well into 15k before you’re even close to imitating the Nismo.

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The price difference from the base to the Nismo is 18K. Many would shudder at the fact that it’s the price of another car for the appointed options. However, what you receive in that package is everything that a typical car Enthusiast would want on their 370Z straight from the factory.

What Nissan has basically done is packaged a car so well, that you would be hard pressed to not tick all of the boxes. But why introduce the Enthusiasts Package?

Car enthusiasts and Import tuners looking for a 6sp RWD coupe were being pulled away to more affordable options like the Toybaru FRS/BRZ and Hyundai Genesis which started at under 30k. Exactly where the 370Z now starts. Both the Genesis and the 370Z received a recent face lift, with the Toybaru being the only newbie in the market, and the Z with the most power for the buck.

So where do we stand?

I test drove the Toybaru when it first came out, and it was slow. For an entry level car, it was too expensive with the dealer markups and not enough “car”. The Genesis felt soft and underwhelming, and while the turbocharged motor made it a performer, it was tempting, but couldn’t be justified.

So we’re left with the Z. Perfectly packaged across the board, with the performance to back it. Maintenance and running costs are low compared to any European competition in the price range.

If you have the money and you’re in the market, the Nismo 370Z is the perfect. Everything you want or need, save for lowering springs or coilovers to get rid of the horrendous ride height. The Nismo Suspension is great, but could use an extra drop.

And. If you have the money and you’re in the market, the base Z is perfect. This is Nissan’s “car in white” option. With the savings, you’re now free to do anything you want to the car, or just enjoy the car you’ve always dreamed of getting, for $10k less, new. Although it’s a soon to be outgoing model, Nissan has finally given us what we wanted at an unbelievable price.

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Fairlady On The Streets

Drive towards the on-ramp. Clutch in, blip, downshift. Or don’t. The power band is seamless and the torque will carry you to whatever speeds you wish to get a ticket in. 332hp. Bragging rights.

Synchro Rev-Match? Unnecessary for experienced drivers who have their footwork down, but nice to have absolute perfect downshifts when you’re trying to impress somebody. The drive by wire system requires a gentle stab and some getting used to, but you’ll get there. Expect ample applause when you point out that you didn’t opt for the nanny, and they were your own merits. Be aware of the quiet murmurs when people see that handy little button.

The base model grips on staggered Advan Sport tires, and the body roll is noticeable at very high speeds. The Grip is there, but you will likely back-off well before the car breaks out. Ham fisted drivers, leave the VDC on.

On second thought. Just leave the VDC on. The ample torque will spin the wheels at any RPM. Leaving a single tire mark is embarrassing, and you will wish you got the factory VLSD, or the Aftermarket Nismo. The VDC will save you during a high speed cornering attempt, and makes the open differential in-lift less pronounced.

6 speeds and plenty of torque down low make the drive effortless whether you’re stuck in traffic or flying down a back road.

Regrets.

I bought the car on a whim just to avoid losing to someone else. I never saw the car before signing any papers or even went through whatever features the car came with. Didn’t even choose a colour; it just so happened to be the one I wanted. I walked into the dealership and walked out an hour later with my brand new 370Z. Any inkling of buyer’s remorse or fear for personal finances went away as I drove home. There are now 4 370Z owners at work.

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Pros: Very affordable. Enough power to drive away worries. Suspension very capable.

Cons: I could’ve bought the Nismo. Kinda heavy, even with all the aluminum.

Seriously. That’s the only thing I regret. I’m into 6 months of ownership, and with the Modifications done, and still on order, I could’ve had a Nismo instead of waiting for some overnight parts from Japan to decimate all.

As an enthusiast, and a showoff. I’ll just have to modify it until it’s better than the Nismo. A losing battle, but not a bad way to spend 10 grand.

So walk into a Nissan dealer, and open up your heart and wallet. You might just drive out in a new 370Z, whatever the flavour.