They may only have 1bhp, but that's all these angry little cars need...
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The Top Gear car review:Nissan 370Z
For:Old-school charm, new-school power, all-round entertainment
Against:A bit pricey to run, engine is rather drony
3.7 V6  3dr
TG is first to try the new 340bhp Nismo Zed in the UK. How does it cope on road and track?
Nismo’s legendary rep gets tarnished with this marketing exercise
The best iteration of a good sports car. We’d delete the side stripes, though
You’d still have the manual in an ideal world and save the cash, but the auto suits the 370Z well.
Put simply, the new 370Z is awesome. Bang-for-your-buck-wise, this could be the car of 2009.
What we say:
A thug in a suit that loves to go sideways. Old school cool
What is it?
It is a handsome, brutish and striking front-engined rear-wheel-drive sports coupe hewn from the rock of old school. The 370Z is bigger and tauter than its 350Z predecessor and has refined that car’s wayward raucousness by adding a touch of refinement.
But it’s still a 3.7-litre V6 with 326bhp, a roaring soundtrack and a tail-happy chassis. Even better is a huge price cut that makes it even more of a bargain. Admit it, at £27,860, you’re sorely tempted. As for the far more expensive Nismo - its appeal is a bit less clear cut.
The basic Nissan 370Z is a bit less eyeball-joggling than the stiff and focused 350Z, making it a better all-rounder. The purpose is still there but it’s pliant when cruising too. Should you yearn for a bit more sportiness, there’s a stiffer Nismo model that’s apparently been tuned especially for Europe’s roads. Even this isn’t concrete-dampers but is a bit more focused (the steering is quicker, too). In both, power oversteer is always only a dab of your right foot away.
And, with that torque-laden engine, the temptation to indulge in a spot of hooning is irresistible. 326bhp and 267lb ft of torque equals a 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds and a limited top speed of 155mph; that bold-looking, bewinged Nismo version takes this up to 344bhp (its bespoke exhaust makes it sound less droney).
To make flogging this engine to obliteration that much more enjoyable, you must spec the synchro rev, surely one of the finest modern car gadgets of our time. It automatically blips the throttle on downshifts to match engine speed. Instant driving god beckons.
On the inside
Nissan has been busy on the interior of the Zed, upgrading the quality of materials substantially over the 350Z. Where that car was an artless affair of brittle, unattractive black plastic with functional ergonomics, the 370Z is a more agreeable mix of leather, alcantara and more solid, quality points.
The high-tech instrumentation feels like it was made with intent and adds to the feeling of expense in the cabin as a whole. Yet the major controls feel lovely and meaty and focus the strong-arm attitude of the Zed.
The 370Z might be a welcome shot in the arm of a body sedated by economics and the environment, but you’ll pay quite handsomely for that shot. Yes, the V6 makes a lovely noise and you’ll never tire of it, but with emissions of 248g/km of CO2 and a combined mpg figure of 26.6 – less so when you inevitably have an ankle spasm – it is rather pricey to run on a daily basis. But, and this is a justifying but, it costs £27k for the entry-level model and that, dear readers, makes it astonishing value.