2012 Nissan 370Z Review

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2012 Nissan 370Z Overview

“If it ain’t broke…” The 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe continues its dominance in the U.S. sports-car market by sticking to that adage and making no substantive changes to the line for this model year. And that is a good thing. This car is designed for the sports-car enthusiast who doesn’t have deep pockets.

The 2012 370Z lineup consists of the Base trim, which includes power doors and locks and audio/cruise controls on the steering wheel; the Roadster, which adds a latch-free power convertible soft top that opens in seconds; the Touring, which sexes up the interior with leather-appointed heated seats, a digital Bose audio system with 8 speakers, XM radio and Bluetooth; the Touring Roadster, which merges the two; and, finally, the NISMO, which beefs up the already impressive Z specs to true sports-car power.

Let’s look under the hood: The Base, Roadster and Touring come with a 332-hp 3.7-liter V6 with 270 lb-ft of torque and the choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The NISMO super-sizes these specs with 350 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque with a 6-speed manual transmission. All trims are rear-wheel drive.

Package options are the Sports Package that adds SyncroRevMatch, allowing extremely smooth downshifting by matching the throttle to the engine RPM (standard in the NISMO), and the Navigation package, which has a Nissan HD Navigation System and USB audio port.

Outside, the Z is sleek, sporty and modern – just what you expect from a high-end vehicle. All trims have a slightly different color palate, but most include the stunning Monterey Blue and the more sinister Gun Metallic (the NISMO sticks to mainly blacks and whites). Arrowhead-shaped head- and taillights add to its splendor. The Base comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, and the Touring has the option to upgrade to 19-inch with the Sports Package. The NISMO comes with specialty 19-inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels manufactured by RAYS.

The interior, with its dial-heavy dash, isn’t quite as stylish and the outside; however, people that like sporty cars will appreciate all the goodies to look at. The seats are comfortable enough, and the Roadster and NISMO add zazz, but road noise is still a problem (all those horses under the hood don’t help).

But in the performance department, the car is extremely agile, just like the race vehicle it aspires to be. The Base trim has been clocked at 0-60 in 5.2 seconds – not quite Speed Racer, but still plenty quick. The manual transmission boasts 18 mpg city/26 highway, with 19/26 for the automatic.

All safety features come standard on all trims and include antilock brakes, stability control and side/front curtain airbags.

While the Z model has achieved nearly iconic status, its lack of refreshing leaves some wanting more; it just doesn’t feel as new as it should. There is speculation that Japan’s tragic earthquake and tsunami have stalled innovation and that a refresh will occur next model year.

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