08 April 2009

Off with its Zed

Nissan’s lovely 370Z goes convertible. Proper soft-top convertible, too…

Nissan 370Z Roadster

See more 370Z Roadster pics

The 370Z Roadster has landed. This is a good thing. We’ve just driven the hard-top version of Nissan’s new Z-car – check out the May edition of Top Gear magazine, on sale next Thursday, for the full story – and, in short, it’s a deeply good thing.

No reason why the convertible should be any less excellent. It has just been unveiled at the New York Auto Show and, happily, has shunned the fashion for folding hard-top roofs in favour of a simpler, lighter fabric affair.

Electrically operated, it’ll raise or lower in 20 seconds, folding neatly below the boot-top tonneau cover. There’s an inner fabric layer which, says Nissan, reduces noise levels, though don’t expect the 370Z to be quite so hushed at speed as, say, the tin-topped BMW Z4.

It should be lighter, mind: though Nissan hasn’t confirmed the weight of the 370Z convertible, the coupe is a full 155kg lighter than its 350Z predecessor, so we’d expect the soft-top to be commensurately lighter, too. Strengthening has been limited to reinforced A-pillars and side sills.

Speed shouldn’t be a problem. The convertible gets the same 326bhp 3.7-litre V6 as the coupe, up 26bhp on the previous generation Z. The coupe will hit 60mph in 5.4 seconds, and the soft-top should be no more than a tenth or two slower. That’s Boxster-rivalling pace, especially if you opt for the six-speed manual ‘box with ‘Synchro Rev Control’, a neat system which heel-and-toes downshifts for you.

We’ll see the 370Z convertible in the UK later this summer. Expect prices to start around £30,000. 

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