First Drive: 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster

Jeffrey Jablansky

When Nissan dropped off the new 370Z roadster for us, I couldn't stop thinking about how little I cared for the uninspiring 350Z roadster. What a difference a generation makes. The 370Z might be the only car where I'd prefer a convertible over a coupe. This particular unit was loaded to the brim with options like the navigation package, sport package, and a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

Nissan says the transformation from coupe to roadster adds 200 pounds, but the 370Z roadster feels lighter than the coupe when you're tossing it in and out of turns, thanks to Nissan's efforts to retain structure rigidity in the Z roadster, which can be a challenge for droptops. Top movement is a bit harsh and noisy, and hopefully will smooth out as production begins. But a soft top that can open with a push of a button is always appreciated; with no latches to pull and no levers to grab, it's easily a one-person job.

Although our test car didn't have Nissan's syncro-rev manual transmission, the seven-speed automatic did a great job of keeping up with aggressive up and down shifts. Like its manual counterpart, it will blip the throttle for you when you downshift using the paddles. The new Z roadster is night and day compared with its predecessor.

Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator

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