Nissan 370Z in India test drive


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Riding bikes and not driving cars is my favourite hobby for the weekend. Yes, inspite of the fact that I write about cars so much, I am not interested in them as I am in bikes. The thrills of open air riding and cutting lanes (of course with the turn signals on), riding past heavy traffic has a charm of its own. Last weekend, I happened to ride a Suzuki GS150R and also a Yamaha Enticer. Both are totally in a different world of their own however just the very fact that I get to ride these machines is what gets me excited. So when the chance came for driving a sports car machine in India, I was game for it. The machine needs no introduction as it is a world famous one. Yes, you guessed it right. It is the Nissan 370Z in India and I am about to embark on a Nissan 370Z in India test drive for you guys. Fasten your seat belts and let the thrills of open air motoring take over. Check on Road Price

Way back in 2008, after the famous Tokyo Drift movie showcased the drifting potentials of the Nissan 350Z, Nissan brought in a new model to replace the car. This is the Nissan 370Z that we have in India now. Unfortunately a full review of this car wasn’t possible due to the very fact that it attracts so much attention that I couldn’t get space enough to check out its capabilities without having to worry, who would come in the way of the drift. Anyways, the Nissan 370Z is a radically designed car however not much differentiates it from its predecessor. Moreover, the car that I had on test with me is a coupe and not a convertible where open air motoring can be down. But then driving around in a sports car is more fun and almost similar to driving an open top vehicle. The first look of this car mesmerized me. It may look like small car in pictures but then it is really big. It has got a wheelbase of 2550 mm. The boomerang shaped head lamps along with the GTR styled air dam are uber cool. The sharply raked bonnet also is good and incorporates European spec pedestrian safety standards. 19 inch Rayz alloy wheels along with the Z logo on the side also doing double duties as turn indicator is icing on the cake. Where the BMW Z4 looks like a shark on the prowl, the 370Z is a dolphin in contrast. Nissan says that aero-dynamism was one of the main things on which the new Nissan 370Z has been built upon. Its drag coefficient is as low as 0.30. I am sure that anyone driving or atleast looking at this car would certainly have a check on the door handles. Man, they are amazing looking as well as chrome garnished. The rear portion features an integrated spoiler and tail lamps which look exactly the same as the head lamps. Lightning bolt anyone? There is a large single wiper doing duties of cleaning the rear glass. Twin tail pipe diffusers at the rear also ensure that the sports part is taken care of.

The common feature to be found on all Nissans, the keyless entry system is also present in the Nissan 370Z in India.  Crouch into the car and you would be disappointed, not due to the lack of space, but due to the cabin quality. As much as you would be drooling over the car’s exteriors, the interiors wouldn’t even make you go wow. The 3 spoke steering wheel which is rightly contoured gets paddle shifts behind it for the auto version whereas the usual audio control, cruise and Bluetooth sync are available as standard. The power window switches reminded me of the Maruti SX4 which I test drove recently. The engine stop start is located on the central console. There are AC vents near the door opener handle inside. Somehow, the car feels a generation behind in front of the BMW Z4. There is a cup holder for the driver but not for the co-passenger. The anti-submarine bucket seats are comfortable but not so comfortable are the seat adjustments which unlike other cars is at the back of the seats. The drilled aluminium pedals with good spacing between them feel perfectly at home for a sports car. Three gauges in the dashboard house the rpm meter in the center, speedo to the right and fuel, temperature gauges to the left. Apart from that, in the central console, there are three separate gauges. One shows the temperature of the coolant, the other shows the battery voltmeter and the third displays the time. There is a huge glove box in the center as also two bottle holders. Automatic climate control and a 6 CD changer BOSE audio system complete the features list. 230 liters of storage space is what one gets if you want to own a Nissan 370Z in India. The whole instrument cluster tilts once the steering wheel is tilted. A novel feature indeed.

Ride and handling is one part which is said to be enhanced in the new Nissan 370Z in India. Been a rear wheel drive car, it is natural to expect this car to engage the driver in some tail sliding antics. And tail sliding it did on the small time that I got to spend with it. This car gets the four link aluminium alloy suspension at the rear and in the front, double wishbone alloy suspension. Needless to say, it is stiffly sprung but then I didn’t feel the ride quality to be amiss. For one, it is perfectly suited to our roads. Were it for the perfectly laid roads in Germany, then it could have posed a problem. Handling is at par though not BMW type razor sharp. Speaking of BMW, the steering wheel is also accurate but then not so much as the Bavarian. Unlike the Germans, there isn’t a host of electronic nannies to take care of the wheel spin and there is only the VDC stability control and guess what, you can turn it off for some wheel spinning antics. NVH unfortunately is on the higher side and no, I am not referring to the howl of the V6 engine. It is rather the road or tyre noise. So much so that I am sure, that if I or anyone else were to spend a full day with this car, then they would be tired. The engine in the meanwhile just purrs like a kitten. It doesn’t take on a sinuous blast even when revved hard.

For the new model Nissan 370Z in India, Nissan Motors have provided two transmission options. One is the 7 speed automatic which I had with me and the other is a 6 speed manual version. The kerb weight of this car is only 1500 kgs. Nissan have granted this car a 3.7-litre V6 engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) which makes 332 Bhp at a lofty 7000 rpm whereas the peak torque of 370 Nm is developed at 5000 rpm. I am not sure how but then Nissan have given this car good driveability as well as the upper end punch. Unlike other sports car, you don’t have to rev the nuts off this car for extracting the performance that one wants. On the contrary, a light tap on the pedal is all that is needed. The engine is indeed a gem in this regard. The gearbox also deserves a special mention here as it downshifts when required and even upshifts are silky smooth. The gear ratios also complement the engine and they are all nicely spaced out. Brakes for India are the Akebono aluminium caliper with 4 pistons at the front whereas the rear one gets twin rotors with two pistons. Braking feel is progressive after the initial wooden feeling. Safety is taken care by 4 air bags, collapsible steering column, 3 point seat belts and side intrusion beams. Can’t say about fuel efficiency as this the Nissan 370Z in India test drive and not review. However expect this car to return about 5 kmpl in city and 9-10 kmpl on the highway.

After the test drive done and feeling like a star, I am back in the cool confines of my office room. Sitting down to think about the car, I feel that it is a good drifting tool. After all, there wouldn’t be many automobile aficionados present, who wouldn’t have seen the Fast and Furious series of movies. The Nissan 370Z in India is available in only two variants and the two variants differ on the basis of their transmission options. The manual Nissan 370Z price in India starts at Rs 53.5 lakhs whereas the automatic model goes for a lakh more. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. As for me, I am already back to humming “At the starting of the week……………”.

Technical specifications of Nissan 370Z

Engine details: 3696 cc DOHC 24-valve V6 with VVEL
No. of Cylinders: 6
Maximum Power: 332 Bhp at 7000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 370 Nm at 5000 rpm
Valve Configuration: DOHC
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Fuel Supply System: ECCS
Bore x Stroke: 95.5 x 86.0
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Transmission Type: 7 speed Automatic/ 6 speed manual
Gear box: 7 Speed/ 6 speed
Front Suspension: 2-link double-wishbone aluminum-alloy suspension with aluminum subframe
Rear Suspension: 4-link aluminum-alloy suspension
Steering Type: Hydraulic power assisted with Rack and pinion
Turning Radius (wheel base): 5.2 m
Front Brake Type: Ventilated discs
Rear Brake Type: Hydraulic discs
Mileage-City (kmpl): 5.0 (estimated)
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 10.0 (estimated)ss
Fuel Type: Petrol
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 72
Tyre Size: 245/40R19 94W, 275/35R19 96W
Wheel Size: 19 x 9J RAYZ , 19 x 10J RAYZ
Seating Capacity: 2
No of Doors: 2

New Rs 500 crore engine plant for Toyota in India

Toyota Kirloskar Motors, on seeing the unprecedented demand for its Toyota Etios sedan, has stepped on the gas and are constructing a new engine plant at its existing Bidadi plant. The Etios sedan currently has long waiting periods of 5-6 months and this is causing the customer interest to wane away. Moreover, the Toyota Etios hatchback, named as Toyota Liva would be launched in April 2011 and if orders for the sedan can be taken into account, the hatchback would be a much more desirable thing.

Currently the 1.5 liter engine for the Toyota Etios sedan comes directly from Tokyo. Once the new engine plant comes up in Bidadi, localization for the Etios twins would be up to 90%. The company may translate its savings to the consumer, thus bringing down the prices of the cars even more than what they already are priced at. Also Toyota are looking to employ atleast 500 more workers for the new engine unit. Also some of the transmission components would be manufactured here. This new plant would only be ready by the year 2012 and from thereon, every year, there would be around 1 lakh engines made from the plant. The production of transmissions would take a bit longer and only by 2013 would the target of 2.4 lakh transmissions would be achieved. As of now the transmission for the Fortuner as well as  the propeller shafts for the Innova are been manufactured in this plant. These parts are also exported to other countries hosting these vehicles.

No JLR in London Stock Exchange

Tata Motors have strongly refused that they wouldn’t be listing their English acquisition, Jaguar Land Rover in the London Stock Exchange. Earlier on we had reported how the company had big plans to list JLR in the stock exchange program but now Tata Motors have strongly stamped their feet claiming that as of now, there are no such plans and if at all, there is one, the media would definitely be in the loop.

To increase its profitability in India, Tata Motors have chalked out a new plan for Jaguar Land Rover. The Indian company is thinking of procuring components from their Indian suppliers for the English brand. Apart from the investments ranking in millions that Tata is thinking of pouring into JLR’s development coffers, they are also thinking of ramping up production. Off late, Jaguar cars are in demand in India due to their exclusivity factor and Tata is looking to take advantage of the situation as early as possible.

It is also said that many of Tata Motors’s existing component suppliers like Lumax Auto Technologies, have already bagged orders from Land Rover for their LED stop lamps. The localization would be as far as 20% in Jaguar Land Rover vehicles from India and subsequently from other low cost countries as well. Above all, Tata Motors wants to take this number to the tune of 35% and at the same time ensure that the local manufacturers maintain the quality expected from a Jaguar car. Moreover, this parts would also be imported to the company’s UK facility.

New Tata Indica BS4 to be launched soon

One of India’s largest passenger car manufacturers, Tata Motors have announced that they would launch a new version of their popular Tata Indica car, a BS4 version to be exact, very soon. The new BS4 version would be a common rail direct injection diesel engine. Tata Motors have gone so far as to tell the media that this version would be the most fuel efficient engine in India. Now that is a claim that would only be substantiated once the car comes in the market and we test drive it.

Moving further, Tata Motors have disclosed that the new engine would pack in 70 Ps of peak power at 4000 rpm and a good 140 Nm of torque from as low as 1800-3000 rpm. They also said that there has been an increase in torque by 65%, peak power increase has gone up by 32% and the fuel efficiency has gone notches above, to be precise 46% more.  The biggest thing is that the car is now lighter, more peppier and fun to drive. There would many new features inside the car and it is said to sport a refreshed exterior as well. With all this tempting things that Tata Motors has said about the new car, we are sure that most of the car buying public would defer their buying decisions until the new Tata Indica BS4 is launched.

Rolls Royce aims for a century

With the advent of car companies muscling their way into India, it is imperative that the current companies maintain their lead. Not one to be left behind is the BMW owned luxury brand, Rolls Royce. For this very fact, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos has declared that the company would settle for nothing less than 100 units for the year 2011. The company has recorded a record growth of 600% in the year 2010 and wants to extend this streak to 2011 as well.

With China been in the forefront of the company’s operations, India is scheduled to be one of the fastest growing markets for Rolls Royce. As of now, the company only has dealerships in India in two places, Delhi and Mumbai. The first and foremost requirement that the company would fulfill would be to increase their dealerships and service network. The CEO was quoted as saying that they are looking to open two dealerships in the northern territory of India namely Punjab region as also in the South in Hyderabad. As of now, Rolls Royce only have two models in their Indian portfolio namely the Ghost and Phantom. Both are priced upwards of Rs 2.5 crores. In the forthcoming Geneva show, Rolls Royce would show off the world’s first Electric Concept Ultra Luxury car. It has been code-named ‘102EX’.

Audi A3 saloon to debut at the Geneva Show

Audi haven’t been as innovative player as its other two German compatriots namely BMW and Mercedes. This perception about the German company would change soon as Audi released the teasers of its Audi A3 based saloon concept. Needless to say, this car would be unveiled to the public at the Geneva Motor Show which would be held next week.

Audi would start marketing this car by the year 2012. It would also spawn a 5 door sportsback, 3 door hatchback as also a 2 door cabriolet versions. Sedan loving countries like China, North America and also Russia are expected to lap up this car. This new car would have Audi’s family face with an extension as also complete LED graphics. In the sketches, this car looks like an Audi A7. It would actually fill in the gap between the Audi A4 and the Audi A6 and customers would get a slightly more better option than the Audi A4. It is touted to have a 2.5 liter 5 cylinder petrol engine which will have an output of 408 Bhp and will be mated to a 6 speed auto transmission. This car would be built on an entirely new platform and one which would eventually replace the ageing PQ 36 platform. The new platform is dubbed MQB.

Goodyear tyres roll out Assurance Fuel Max tyres

We had reported earlier that the tyre industry has also got a boom due to the heavy demand for cars in 2010 and the same seems to be continuing for the year 2011 as well. Barely has a month passed and everything looks so promising that tyre companies are ready to roll out their new brands and versions in India. The early bird amongst them is definitely tyre giant Goodyear. Not only are they looking to launch bus and truck radials in the Indian market but they have already launched a specific product for the fuel conscious Indian buyers. The product is named as Assurance Fuel Max and it is a 15/16 inch tyre with very low rolling resistance. The company claims that not only will the tyre life be 15 percent longer but the fuel efficiency would also go up by 4%.

As of now, the company is only thinking of importing this special tyres but as and when demand picks up, the company would be looking to manufacture the same here in India. Obviously prices are on the higher side as compared to the others in its class. Also reported is that the tyre manufacturer is testing its truck and bus radials for the Indian conditions. It is estimated that this testing phase would be over within 18 months and after looking at the feasibility status of the tests, the radials would be introduced to the Indian customers. Currently the company manufactures only cross ply tyres. For the same, the company has a very small presence in the truck and bus tyre market. The company also says that India is one of their most important markets in the Asian zone and plans are on for further investment as well as expansion of the Indian subsidiary, Goodyear India.

Rolls Royce on a roll in India

Luxury car market seems to be expanding on a large scale in India. It seems that all the recent reports about the automobile market have ensured the entry of various other world famous car manufacturers. Already some of the major car manufacturers have announced their entry in the Indian automobile market. It seems that Rolls Royce is on a mission to improve its grip. Rolls Royce is planning to improve its hold of the Indian automobile market by a new expansion plan. Under this plan they will ensure that they will improve the network all across India in order to get a better grip of the second largest growing car market.

Recently, Rolls Royce reported that the rise in demand for its two models that are available in the Indian market has grown so much so that they have to keep half of its customers on hold. Now it seems that the company is trying to enhance its capability in order to enhance the customers support. They are aiming to target the same or more sales figure they captured last year in China. Last year Rolls Royce reported that they have sold over 600 cars in China. But this couldn’t be possible in India as their network was weak. According to them their demand mainly comes from Punjab and Hyderabad. But they are planning to open at least two more dealerships in India. They are mainly targeting a three digit sales figure this year.

Pioneer introduces 2011 multimedia range in India

Seems like Shahid Kapur is going to be busy for quite a while. Don’t get us wrong. We aren’t covering Bollywood news. It just happens that Shahid is the brand ambassador for Pioneer audio systems and the company has introduced an entirely new range of car sound systems for the year 2011. Pioneer India Electronics has decided to provide complete in car solutions to the buyers of after market stereos. They have got a new range of “Champion series” speakers which enhance the bass output of the stereo system as well as the “AVH” series which has 3 models to choose from and one which is compatible with all the multimedia inputs.

There is also the DEH range which has a 2,16,000 multicolor illuminations which can suit the mood of the user as also enhance the interior ambience. It also provides 8 in-car CD receivers. Present on the occasion were Shahid Kapur as well as the MD of Pioneer India Electronics, Tomoyuki Komiya. The latter said that Pioneer wants to capture the market as there are many cars lined up for launch in the year 2011 and the need for the hour is for good music systems. Moreover, most of the products that Pioneer offers is the same what they offer internationally and so in short, the company is giving Indians an international experience as far as sound is concerned. We couldn’t agree more with you sir.

Maruti Alto ranked number 1 in Total Customer Satisfaction

The TNS Total Customer Satisfaction for 4 wheelers 2010 is out and the results are for all to see. As expected, Maruti vehicles topped the list and the numero uno spot in the compact car segment was clutched by Maruti Alto by a whopping 91 points out of 100. It is succeeded by the Maruti Omni and Maruti 800. This survey included 56 different car models along with 9,300 car buyers.

Ranked the lowest in its category was the Tata Nano. Customers said that the vehicle didn’t provide for the advertised fuel efficiency and it was more or less similar to what a Volkswagen Polo gives. The survey also revealed that car owners in South were pretty much satisfied with the after sales service of their car manufacturers rather than the ones in the North. Also customers in larger cities were a much more satisfied lot than the ones in towns. In the premium compact car segment, again Maruti came out on tops with its Estilo and A-star topping the charts.

For the upper premium segment, Volkswagen Polo and once again a Maruti, the Maruti Swift came out on tops. For the entry level midsized sedan, it was Maruti’s Swift Dzire which was on top of the heap. For the premium mid sized sedan tag, the Toyota Corolla Altis was the best whereas in the SUV category, it was the Mahindra Scorpio and Toyota Innova. Volkswagen Passat and Honda CR-V were crowned the king in the entry level luxury sedan and premium SUV category.