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The Mercury Cars Guide : March 6th 2010
12--- Classifieds 62 300 400 carsguide.com.au Saturday, March 6, 2010 small torque Nissan 370Z Roadster Price: $74,990 (manual), $77,990 (automatic) Engine: 3.7L/V6, 245kW/ 363Nm Transmission: 6-speed manual, 7-speed automatic; rear-wheel drive Economy: 11.2L/100km (man), 10.9L/100km (auto) Rivals BMW Z4 from $89,500 Porsche Boxster from $114,800 Mazda MX-5 from $42,460 Halo hovers over snazzy sports car DYNAMIC AND DESIREABLE: The Nissan 370Z Roadster tackles a corner. Nissan has a new hero --- and the 370Z Roadster is stunner. Kevin Hepworth reports It has always been our policy to tick all the boxes when we plan a car like this and the 370Z Roadster is no different' NISSAN'S new 370Z Roadster is turn- ing heads. Built around the same mechanical package as the Coupe which was launched last year, it is a very appealing option with a convertible-specific chassis and body stiffening. The new Roadster has hit showrooms priced at $74,990 for the six-speed manual and $77,990 for the seven-speed automatic. That is a $7000 premium over the Coupe. ''There is only one specifi- cation level for the car and that is all-inclusive,'' Nissan Australia CEO Dan Thompson says. ''It has always been our policy to tick all the boxes when we plan a car like this and the 370Z Roadster is no different.'' Thompson says that while sales expectations for the Roadster are not huge --- about 15amonthontopofthe50a month in Coupe sales --- the halo effect of the car is crucial to the brand. ''These are not a volume model, like the GT-R is not a volume model, but as a hero for the Nissan brand its importance can't be overstated. ''It is a desireable, dynamic car and offers great value for what it delivers.'' Powered by the same 245kW 3.7-litre V6 in the first Coupe, the Roadster features a fully- automatic cloth folding roof. The electro-hydraulic mechanism takes 20 seconds to fold or deploy and while it works efficiently, it is one of the noisiest on the market with all of the test vehicles delivering a solid ''thunk'' as the hard cover under which the folded roof is stored drops into place. The advantage of the more traditional cloth roof over a folding metal version is a claimed boot storage which doesn't change whether the roof is up or down. Standard equipment in- cludes a touch-screen satel- lite navigation system, an eight-speaker Bose audio sys- tem, a remote key with push- button start, automatic cli- mate control and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system. The safety component is rich with six airbags, includ- ing door-mounted curtain bags, a switchable VDC stab- ility control, and a strong brake package consisting of 355mm ventilated front and 350mm ventilated rear discs served by ABS, EBD and brake assist. The car rides on lightweight 19-inch alloys with 245/40R (front) and 275/35R (rear) rubber. On the road the most impressive feature of the Roadster is not what is different from the Coupe but rather what is the same. The dynamics of the Roadster lose almost nothing to those of its tin-lidded sibling, and that is an achievement to be proud of. If you are going to present a car like the 370Z to a prospective buyer it is compulsory to have curves --- lots of curves, both on the road and in the car. That becomes imperative if the car you are driving can go to- pless. Traditionally, gaining access to the open air in a car --- particularly a sports car --- meant giv- ing up a varying degree of connection with the road. Cutting the top off any half-way stable coupe is going to have a detrimental effect on the driving dynamics. The degree of that diminishment is deter- mined by two key factors --- how much engineering work was done on the original chassis and structure in anticipation of a convertible future and, equally as important, what steps are taken during the beheading process. In the case of the 370Z it takes only a couple of challenging corners to confirm that the com- pany engineers were thinking ahead. The superb torsional stiffness and focused steering architecture in the Coupe has been seamlessly transferred to the Roadster by virtue of additional bracing through the A-pillars, side sills and doors with a high-strength hoop frame laid horizontally around the boot. The result is one of the rare examples of open-top motoring without the fear that torsional twisting through the chassis is fighting to overcome balance and grip. The ride on the low profile tyres and sports suspension package double wishbone front and four-link rear is firm without being harsh. But the comfort trade-off is well worthwhile as the Roadster tips willingly into corners, glides through the apex and utilises all the benefits of the limited slip diff to get power down early and efficiently in search of the next challenge. The steering feel is excellent, brake package is strong and the pedal has a comforting firmness. FIESTA LX 5 DOOR $19,490 DRIVEAWAY† Price includes prestige colours Fuel ef cient 1.6L engine, 6.1L/100km with manual transmission* Driver and front passenger airbags MP3/iPod connectivity~ Bluetooth with Voice Control# MONDEO ZETEC HATCH PETROL $35,990 DRIVEAWAY† Price includes prestige colours Fuel econ. 9.5L/100km* 6 speed automatic with Sequential Sports Shift Bluetooth with Voice Control# Dynamic Stability Control FALCON XR6◊ $36,990 DRIVEAWAY† Price includes prestige colours Fuel econ. 10.5L/100km* Includes Bluetooth and full iPod integration#~ 5 speed automatic Dynamic Stability Control ABS †Limited offers available on new vehicles at participating dealers. Private and ABN buyers only. Stock may vary between dealers. All prices are recommended. Ford Dealers and Ford Australia reserve the right to change or extend these offers. *Figures obtained from controlled tests using ADR81/02. Actual fuel consumption will depend on many factors including driving habits, prevailing conditions and your vehicle s equipment, condition and use. Focus LX manual 7.1L/100km. #Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG Inc., and is used under licence. Some phones not compatible. ~iPod is a trademark of Apple Inc. Connection cable sold separately. ◊Pre March vehicles. DTA393_HM to have the smartest buys around? FOCUS LX AUTO $23,990 DRIVEAWAY† Price includes prestige colours 4 speed automatic with Sequential Sports Shift Economical 2.0L engine, 8.2L/100km* Dual front and side curtain airbags Dynamic Stability Control MP3/iPod connectivity~ TILFORD PTY LTD 6234 0200
February 27th 2010
March 13th 2010