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Roadshow Video Reviews
2013 Nissan 370Z TouringNissan is the last bastion of Japanese carmakers who still make sporty vehicles, and the 2013 Nissan 370Z continues to impress.
-You know Nissan must be the most committed major Japanese maker when it comes to sports cars. Toyota went off on their long humorless period, only recently fixed. You've got Honda that's cancelled their beautiful S2000 'cause it was too non-sober. Subaru, they basically make pedals and shirts on wheels until very recently. But the whole time, Nissan has been making the Z since 1969. Let's drive this sixth generation sample, the 2013 370Z. Check the tech. Now, the Z hasn't always been a car to celebrate over the great early years, then kind of the disco or Star Trek years, later came the pudgy years, but now, we're on to the sixth gen car that I think has the most spiritual relationship to the original Z. Quite a different vehicle in the numbers though, 2.2 times more horsepower than the original car with just 1.4 times more weight. Yeah, it's quite a bit faster. Spot the 2013, by the way, by a revised face and LED running lights. Now, at the very least to the Z, you're gonna have AM, FM, CD, and aux jack. Pretty basic stuff. If you don't try a little bit, you can get one of these cars like it was made in 1995. Luckily, our car is loaded up. We have the touring package which along with the nav package brings you all the toys. The navigation we've seen before, I don't see anything very different here. In terms of this Nissan interface, it's old, it's tired, but it's functional and at least the colors kind of match the colors of the instruments. I guess that's a win. Now, if you don't load this car up with at least a touring package, you don't get bluetooth handsfree or bluetooth streaming. That's kind of a shocker. The touring package also brings in Bose audio that's gonna take you from four speakers to six speakers Bose processing in amps and two-powered subs. Probably overkill for a car this size, but you can't complain about the thump. The navigation is separate on top of touring. You've got to have a touring level car to even option that. Once you do, you get the NavTraffic, Weather, the rearview camera even with the manual by the way, but no around view camera, which Nissan and Infiniti like. You just get backup camera in a Z. And that nav package brings you the bluetooth streaming, iPod plus USB here in the console, and DVD playback here in this slot. All right, folks, now, in the front of your Z, you're gonna find the classic, the bread and butter Nissan motor, one of their VQ family, V6s. They did make it living on these since 1994, and for good reason, it's a great V6. This one is a 3.7 liter, no direct injection by the way, and naturally aspirated kind of an old school engine at this point, but good numbers, 332 horse, 270-foot pounds of torque gets this 3300 pounds sports car to 60 in about 5.2. It's not screwing around, but delivers kind of [unk] MPG for today's standards, 18, 26. Let's go for a ride. The first thing you notice driving the Z is it is not a dainty car. All the inputs, the clutch, the transmission engagement, the suspension response, even the steering are kind of heavy, mechanical, nicely sort of weighted and it feels like you're really driving a machine as opposed to controlling a computerized thing. Six-speed manual on this car which I like a lot. Great clutch and actuation on the gearbox. Again, feels kind of old-school race car. There's this S mode button down here. If I engage that, I get an S alongside the gear indicator and now I've got rev matching. When I put the clutch in, the computer automatically sets the engine RPMs to match perfectly with the flywheel, so I could dump the clutch and step on it and I'm not gonna have any weird hiccups. It's kind of training wheels though. If you really enjoyed driving a car like this, you know how to do that or something close to it. So, I don't think it's kind of a gimmick. The automatic, by the way, is a seven-speed. I'm sure it's a lovely automatic, but it doesn't make sense in this car. This is one of the last sort of really visceral sports cars out there, even though it's not as lightest I would like it to be. So that brings up an interesting point. When will Nissan really revise this powertrain? Go to a smaller displacement direct injection, likely turbocharged engine, to take some weight off the nose and to give me more, shall we say, violent response to the throttle. There's plenty of power here, but this car doesn't come at you in a way that it's really outrageous. And I think their market would like that. The price of 2013 Z Coupe base is about $33,900 delivered with almost nothing in it. To go CNET style, you first wanna make sure you buy one in the touring level trim that gets you Bose, satellite radio, bluetooth handsfree, and power leather seats. On top of that, you wanna look at the navigation package, nav, bluetooth streaming, DVD, rear camera, USB, and iPod, $2150 for that. Automatic is $1300. You're not gonna do that. So, CNET style about $40,700, and you're on the road.