I could have guessed it would snow. I mean, having a Nissan
370Z Roadster in January is just asking for it and sure enough the weatherman gleefully obliged.
The Nissan 370Z
I had on test in June last year had shown me that this is a powerful, lively beast. So, as the road grew steadily whiter, so did my knuckles.
To be fair, the electronics did quite a pretty good job of keeping the 370Z roadster on the black stuff... well, in reality, it was now the white stuff. But I really did have to drive with the metaphorical eggshells on the throttle and brake pedals. Even then there were some slithers and slides that – but for the traction and stability programs – might have developed into something more lurid.
Although the actual snow was quite localised and very short lived, there was no chance across my five days with the 370Z Roadster to get the roof down – even if I had been daft enough to do so in January temperatures.
So what is Nissan doing building such a no-compromise sports car? Well, while they are probably better known for worthy, if not charismatic hatchbacks, Nissan have actually quite a history of sports cars.
There was the original 240Z – the car that inspired the modern day Z-cars. Then, more recently, there have been really hairy sports cars including the benignly-named Nissan Skyline GT-R. If the name conjures up images of peace, placid landscapes, think again, it was a real hooligan in sheep’s clothing.
Did I mention the time that a certain British Rally Champion gave me a real white knuckle ride in a Skyline GT-R once... I did. OK, I won’t mention it again. Back to the 370Z Roadster.
When I fitted myself behind the wheel (I really would have liked between one and two inches more legroom) and powered it up, I had forgotten how responsive this 370Z is.
Slot the car into “drive’ and the merest tickle on the throttle results in a scrabble of the wheels as the 370Z takes off. That ultra-responsive throttle and sharp uptake makes it nigh impossible to take off in placid manner. Just the lightest touch on the throttle seems to send all 328PS scurrying through the seven-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels.
This car is quick. Acceleration 0-62 takes just 5.8 seconds.
Indeed the Nissan 370Z Roadster is an all-round sharp car! Sharp responses. Sharp steering. Sharp handling. Sharp styling.
So sharp is the steering and the handling that every drive in a Nissan Z car reminds me of the 350Z I had on test a few years ago. I actually pulled that car over in the first few miles, so convinced was I that I had a puncture. Then I realised I was being fooled by the ultra-responsive steering. Every little movement of the steering wheel results in a reaction, which can lead to an overly lively, fishtailing driving style until you get used to it.
This level of responsiveness is not to everyone’s liking. Mrs Driveblog, for example, was clearly disconcerted after driving the 370Z home from its collection point. Me? Well it took me a few miles to reacquaint myself with the lightning reactions and to tighten the grip on the steering wheel determined to tame this beast.
Once you get the measure of the 370Z it really is an entertaining car drive. But – apart from the rather nervous responses – there are other compromises you have to make for having so much fun.
The Nissan 370Z’s ride is firm, to the point of being uncomfortable on some of our horribly cratered roads. You feel every ridge and pothole. Unless you are a truly died-in-the-wool enthusiast, I reckon you might well begin to tire of this constant vibro massage.
The interior is not exactly spacious (I’ve already mentioned my legs feeling a tad cramped). Visibility with the hood up is rather limited. You have to approach oblique junctions as you would in a van, because over-the-shoulder three-quarters vision is simply non-existent.
Sticking with the practicality theme, the boot is a good rectangular shape, but it is quite small at 140 litres and quite shallow. But, then, sports cars are for taking two toothbrushes and a change of clothes in an overnight bag, aren’t they?
The official combined fuel consumption figure is 25.9 mpg and, on my five days of driving country roads and city streets I averaged just over 20 mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions are 254 g/km.
So if practicality and effortless driving are your goal then you should look at the other cars in your local Nissan showroom. But, if you crave a more exhilarating experience, the 370Z Roadster could be for you, if you promise to treat this car with respect. If you don’t it most assuredly will bite back.
At £37,300 on the road, the Nissan 370Z is quite an expensive plaything. Apart from that worrying few miles snaking through the snow, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
But, then, I knew I could jump back into my own car, for a more effortless, less frenetic drive, after I had my adrenaline fix.