Nissan 370Z on the Yamuna Expressway
While the Z we drove two years ago was an automatic, this one, belonging to Omar Ahmed, a businessman from Agra, is a 6-speed manual with synchro rev. So if you downshift, the engine automatically blips up to match the revs. Downshifting in this sounds like a heavy-duty drilling machine has come to life for a second and then died down. To drill the point home, you have a very intimate, no-nonsense, two-seat cabin. No Bluetooth connectivity, no USB ports, no cruise control.
Rather sparsely equipped compared to this road. This 165km stretch of unhindered road connecting Greater Noida (on the outskirts of Delhi) to Agra cuts down travel time to less than two hours compared to the five hours you need when you take the old road. Below its concrete surface runs a huge network of fibre-optic cables that go to the control centres. From here, they lord over the Expressway through CCTV cameras, respond to distress calls, transmit messages on the variable message signboards, monitor speeding cars, and have a chopper that 's an air ambulance.
The six-lane road, while efficient, is devoid of drama. The landscape around is rather plain and you are as likely to find curvy stretches on this road as you are a pothole-free stretch in Mumbai. But on one of those rare gently curving parts of the road, you realise the 370Z has the darting abilities of a wasp and the holding abilities of a leech. The steering and chassis are so communicative, you can make the car dart around in the middle of a sweeping curve, and still make it stick to that curved lane and line.