2010 Nissan 370Z
How about right now.
The Nissan 370Z is the sixth generation of the venerable Z line, and was introduced in 2009 – 40 years after the original Z went on sale in Japan as the Fairlady Z. Over the years, the overall look has remained similar – a 3 door hatchback sporting a long hood and short (or no) rear deck – but the size and power has increased significantly.
The first Z was powered by a 2.4 liter inline 6 developing 130 horsepower. The front-engine/rear-drive layout satisfied sports car traditionalists and allowed Nissan to develop a devoted following in Japan and North America.
Intervening generations added displacement to that original engine and pounds to the svelte 2300-pound frame. By the time the mid-80s rolled around, the Z car had transformed from a sporty 2-seater to a bloated 4-seat boulevard cruiser. In 1990, the fourth generation car, while still rather portly, introduced an optional new turbocharged engine developing 300 horsepower to motivate the car’s mass to 60 mph in the low 5-second range.
Changing tastes in the United States – a shift to SUVs mostly – led to the car taking a several year hiatus after 1996 (there was no such gap in Japan – the fourth generation ended production in 2000 to be immediately replaced by generation 5 in ’01).
The 350Z came out in ’01 in the US with the base engine being a 287-horsepower V6 – nearly matching the top-of-the-line turbo model of the previous generation. Several years later brought the 370Z model seen here, with its 332-horsepower V6 and high-four-second 0-60 time.
Taken from the previous “Bloat” post and subsequent discussion – is today’s version better? What defines better in this case? Power and 0-60 times or balance and simplicity? Is it truly better to drive a slow car fast? Or do you like brutal, but safe (by way of gadgetry), power?