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Nissan 370Z and Nissan Cube

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Nissan has two newcomers on display in LA and they couldn't be more different. The 370Z, the company's latest raw-meat sports coup, lines up alongside the next-generation Cube, a city car which is exactly what its name suggests.

The two previous versions of the Cube were Japan-exclusive models, but as more people became aware of them through fashion houses, art magazines and the web, other countries decided they wanted Nissan's Oxo-shaped, asymmetrically-designed runabout, too.

The outcome is that the new car is going global, though Nissan admits it is something of a 'Marmite car' which people will love or hate.

Based on the same platform as the Micra and Note, it has a long wheelbase, a wide body and a high roofline, giving excellent flexibility and passenger space within an overall length of less than four metres.
It's no MPV, but if you're looking to downsize this is one way to do so without feeling you're sacrificing space.

Proof than Nissan really is internationally-minded with the new Cube comes from the engine line-up. Europeans will be offered a 1.5-litre turbodiesel as well as a 1.6 petrol and that's as much as they're saying at this stage.

It arrives in the UK in late autumn next year and is likely to be pitched at the Mini rather than the Fiat 500 as far as pricing is concerned.

The 370Z, using the V6 engine and platform of the Infiniti G series models, replaces the 350Z. It is lighter, larger and more powerful and is available with seven-speed auto or six-speed manual gearboxes.
The manual has what's called 'synchronised downshift rev-matching' which basically means it blips to match road and engine speeds.

The new Z is shorter, wider and lower than the 350 not that you'd instantly notice. Nissan has learned a thing or two from Porsche about continuity in sports-car design.

It will be with us in April and is expected to cost about the same as a 350 between 26,000 and 27,000. There will also be a convertible, based on the Infiniti G37 convertible also unveiled at Los Angeles, in 2010.