2011 Nissan 370Z Touring

Matt Tierney

If Eric Tingwall thinks he's going to outdo me with references to old Pontiac executives, he's got another thing coming. To wit, Jim Wangers, one of the godfathers of the GTO, stresses the important difference between racing and performance: enthusiasts think they want a race car, but they actually want a performance car. That, in a nutshell, is the problem with the Nissan 370Z. Weekend track car? You bet. The Z eats up straightaways with V-8-like hunger and strikes a good balance between playfulness and surefootedness. You surely won't find anything better for $35,000 (among new, unmodified cars, that is). On the street? Thanks, but I think I'd rather drive a Ford Mustang. The reasons, which Tingwall already illuminated, include a lugubrious and noisy engine, an overly stiff ride, and an unnecessarily beefy transmission (270 lb-ft of torque shouldn't require a rock crusher gearbox).

Having said all that, I would not go so far as to say I don't like the 370Z. For one, it might be the best looking sports car in its price range - more athletic than the chunky looking Mustang and Chevy Camaro, and yet far more emotional and graceful than a Mitsubishi Evo or Mazda RX-8. The interior, once a sore spot, is now executed to nearly the same level as that of an Infiniti G37. And then there's the aforementioned fact that it is a fine track machine. If you think you might want to chase BMW M3s on the weekend and drive a reliable Japanese commuter during the week, here's your car. I only wish the 370Z could make those commutes more interesting.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

Great article, thanks guys and gals! It just goes to show that everyone can have a different reaction to this car, and the fact that Nissan can still make a car in this day and age that can polarize a group of auto journalists says a lot about it and the intentions of the Z car too. It's definitely an acquired taste! And the fact that is nearly keeps up with a Mustang 5.0 with almost 100 less horsepower is pretty amazing. Most tests show the 370Z is only .1 or .2 tenths of a second off the 5.0 in acceleration tests and a 370 that is properly prepped for the track should eventually pull away from the Mustang.
Tingwell said it best ... I was soooooo underwhelmend when I test drove this car recently ... heavy feeling ... slow revving .. difficult to shift, etc. Everyime I floored it I said "where's the beef"??? Outside the car's exhaust sounds great .. inside its like a constant droaning sound ... yuck.

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