Our long term Nissan 370Z GT Edition hits the service centre for a 15K check-up. Then the track for some punishment[Not a valid template]
|Date acquired:||February 2015|
|Kilometres this month:||1125|
|Costs this month:||$90|
|L/100km this month:||11.4|
Not long after welcoming the 370Z to The Management Fleet, mechanical refreshments were needed at Nissan’s Technical Diagnostic Centre in Dubai after crossing the 15,000km mark. The team specialise in regular Nissan fare as well as slightly more sophisticated technology as used in the GT-R, so we were pretty confident the Z was in safe hands.
It wasn’t the easiest of starts though. Due to the low GT Edition side skirts, the lift forks couldn’t fit under the car, meaning a scissor lift – primarily used for more performance-focused models – was brought in to help. From here at least the dutiful TDC team could check tyre pressures and depletion on all five wheels – including the spare – each of which was given a clean bill of health as were the indicator and brake lights after a quick electronic systems check. Once the oil was changed and air filter replaced, the 370Z was given the green light for another 5000km, perfect for its next challenge at a track day hosted at the Umm Al Quwain Motorplex by Drift Republic. Well, after a few pre-event modifications.[Not a valid template]
First item on the agenda was to inflate the rear tyres from 35psi to 45, the extra air reducing friction to the road surface and consequently making them easier to spin. Weight shedding was also a must, the loss of the spare tyre, subwoofer and various other extraneous equipment helping the Z ditch 24kg. Finally we had to fully switch off the traction control, which it turns out is more complicated than ‘press and hold’. To do this, we had to remove the brake lamp fuse that also feeds power to the anti-lock braking and traction control. Harmless to the vehicle on-track, but you probably wouldn’t want to do that on the road…
Key factors required for any good drift car are rear-wheel drive, a manual transmission and a proper handbrake. Unfortunately the Z has neither of the latter two: on the 370Z, the rear assembly for the brakes consists of both a disc and a drum, and since the Nissan’s e-brake is connected only to the drum, fully locking the rear wheels was always going to be a fruitless ask.
Still, after several runs at the Motorplex, we were pretty happy with the Z’s performance. Sitting almost perfectly distanced between the front and rear axles allows for better balance – and thus more confidence – into the corners, as does the stiff chassis and taut suspension. With neither a clutch pedal nor a handbrake, getting the car drifting requires throwing the vehicle’s weight around to shift momentum (we’ve found under load into the corners, the rears’ natural tendency is to step out) and in this regard the 370Z proved very impressive. I do still wonder though what we could have managed with a manual and a handbrake.
I mentioned last month that the 370Z has been top of my ‘to buy’ list for quite some time, and given its recent performance on-track and its reasonable servicing costs, it’s an argument that’s getting stronger and stronger as the weeks go by. I’m beginning to wonder if hanging onto it for longer might be possible (wink, wink Nissan…).
– FULL GALLERY OF SHOTS AVAILABLE HERE – CLICK – Selected shots courtesy of Mayur Suresh and Faaiq Fazal
|Nissan||370Z GT Edition|
|Engine:||V6 / 3696cc|
|Power||332bhp @ 7000rpm|
|Torque||269lb ft @ 5200rpm|
|Transmission||Seven-speed automatic / rear-wheel drive|
|Front suspension||Double wishbone with aluminium component|
|Rear suspension||Independent Multi-link with aluminium and steel component|
|Brakes||Power-assisted four-wheel / 355mm ventilated disc front and rear / ABS / EBD / EA|
|Wheels||19 x 9" RAYS (front) / 19 x 10" RAYS (rear) / super lightweight forged alloys|
|Tyres||245/40R19 94W (front) / 275/35R19 96W (rear)|