Nissan 370Z GT Edition driven

* Special-edition 370Z * Price £35,000, on sale now * MPG 26.6, CO2 248g/km...

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Barnaby Jones
20 June 2011

What is it?

A limited-edition version of Nissan's brawny 370Z coupe, built to celebrate 40 years of Z models in the UK.

Darkened alloy wheels and side stripes are the biggest visual clues that this isn't your average 370Z, but the biggest changes are under the skin.

The suspension has been fettled to provide a smoother ride and tighter body control, while there's better underbody sound insulation to quell some of the road noise that blights the standard models.

What's it like to drive?

Those changes are mostly successful. The ride is less punishing around town and on country roads, but drive on a particularly bumpy surface and the suspension still fights the road rather than working with it.

Road noise is still a major issue. It's particularly bad in the rain, and because the boot is open to the rest of the cabin (there's a retractable load cover to keep its contents hidden), the sound echoes through the car.

The V6 engine doesn't help either, sounding thrashy at high revs. A BMW or Porsche six-cylinder engine sounds far more cultured and expensive.

All of this isn't enough to spoil your fun, though: the 370Z is fast and engaging to drive, with the no-nonsense handling that enthusiasts love. The hefty controls are full of feel, too.

What's it like inside?

Loaded with kit: leather and suede seats, sat-nav, a reversing camera and keyless entry are all standard.

The driving position is suitably low and sporty, the seats hold you in all the right places and there are plenty of storage cubbies.

Unfortunately, the rest of the cabin is less successful. Everything feels solidly put together, but the interiors of rival coupes are nicer places to sit. Also, the quality of the materials is fine when you're in the £29k entry-level version, but the metal-effect plastics feel a little low-rent in this 35k model.

Some of the minor switches are scattered around the cabin and the shallow boot is pinched in the middle, so you'll have to pack light. The touch-screen sat-nav system could also be easier to use.

Should I buy one?

If you buy into the 370Z's character, you'll happily put up with its downsides and revel in its simple charms. For most other buyers, the (£39k, admittedly) Porsche Cayman will be even better to drive and far easier to live with.

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