The new Nissan 370Z coupe has been out for a few months and has been getting astonishing reviews. If has a more powerful engine than its predecessor, but still manages better fuel economy thanks to some lightweight materials. The suspension and steering are tight and responsive, and the purr of the 3.7-liter V6 engine will put a smile on the face of any enthusiast. The new 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster convertible model takes the coupe’s speed pedigree and drops the top, and the results are spectacular.
Usually the transition from a coupe to a convertible is not without its problems. The body rigidity provided by a hard roof usually helps the handling of a coupe. Cut off that roof, and you need to reinforce the chassis with additional suspension (which adds a lot of weight) if you want to have a convertible that drives anywhere near as good as the coupe. The 370Z Roadster is no exception to this rule, but the Nissan engineers have managed to minimize the impact, adding only about 100 pounds of weight. This extra weight will make the roadster a bit slower, and probably reduce the coupe’s 0-to-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds down a few tenths of a second, but that is a fair trade off for having the wind in your hair.
The roadster’s roof has also been reworked over the previous 350Z model, with the soft top dropping or rising in only 20 seconds. Also, the rear window has been enlarged. Anybody who has driven a 350Z convertible can tell you that looking in the rear-view mirror was a bit useless due to the small rear window, but that has been rectified, thankfully. One thing you’ll notice when looking back is a new wind deflector between the seats. Most convertibles have removable deflectors, but the 370Z has a mounted glass plate, emblazoned with the Z logo. On paper this sounds a bit off, but the overall effect is well-done and elegant.
While all trim levels of the 370Z Roadster have the same 332 horsepower 3.7-liter V6 under the hood, true enthusiasts will want to get the Touring Sport package. It includes new 19-inch wheels (the standard models have 18-inch wheels) and the brake rotors have been increased to a 14-inch diameter in the front and 13.8 in the rear (over the standard 12.6). And the big addition to the Touring Sport Package: a limited slip differential. The 370Z roadster has a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic for transmission choices, and both provide a fuel economy of 18 mpg city / 25 highway, which matches the coupe for city mileage, but loses 1 mpg for highway.
The 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster will go on sale in late summer of this year, and have a base price of about $40,000 (exact pricing hasn’t bee released at the time of this writing). For the true roadster enthusiast, the Touring Sport package, paired with the limited edition Black Cherry paint option, will create a 370Z that will hold a place in your heart for decades to come.