2010 Nissan 370Z RoadsterEnlarge Photo
The basics: A 332-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 engine, with either a seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive
Price: $30,000 and up
Fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (18/25 mpg Roadster, est.)
Rating: 8.2 out of 10
The Nissan 370Z roadster is just hitting showrooms, and in truth, even our data partners haven't added the latest information on the droptop version of Nissan's powerful two-seat sportscar. (We've referred to the identically-ranked 2009 370Z Coupe where needed.) But already, the comparisons between the new Z Roadster and Coupe are holding water.
To start with, there's the 370Z's tight styling. It's much improved this time around, migrating from the boatlike shape the previous edition wore to a more softly cut suit that's still more modern in its influences. The Nissan V-6 is a marvel of flexibility, torquey and powerful throughout its midrange. Either transmission's a joy to shift, but TheCarConnection.com's editors prefer the click-and-shift feel of the seven-speed paddle-shifted automatic for sheer entertainment value. With your other foot free to brace yourself, it's beyond easy to hustle the Z around very tight corners. Its responses never vary: direct, crisp, immediate. It's also lost the tight, nervous ride that marked the last-generation car, and while it still can be a noisy car to drive, the 370Z Roadster and Coupe have the dynamics to equal Porsche's primetime coupe and convertible--and fall down in the same slight ways, in trunk room and interior storage.
TheCarConnection's Bottom Line? What's most surprising about this new Z coupe and roadster is that the Porsche comparisons make you think, instead of guffaw.