Superb handling

Mabuyane Kekana

Mabuyane Kekana

Most of us do not realise when buying a brand new car that it can also have a mechanical problem or a puncture.

This is the first thought that came to mind when I recently test drove the new Nissan 350 Z convertible, and it had a puncture.

Because the 350 Z is such a fabulous car, you almost forget that it too can have a puncture.

I was driving on the N14 on one of those beautiful, sunny Gauteng days when I suddenly heard a big bang.

"What was that?" I asked my friend, but before I could get an answer I saw smoke behind the car.

But the 350 Z proved just what it is made of.

It didn't go all over the highway like most cars would and I was able to control it.

Because the 350 Z is a stable car, it held onto the road. Now that's what I call superb handling.

I can vouch that the 350 Z is by far a much better car than the outgoing Audi TT.

The 350 Z has increased power and acceleration, improved handling, and subtle changes inside and out that enhance its bold, fluid and expressive styling.

Both the 350 Z Coupe and the Roadster are similarly enhanced.

Power from the 24-valve 3,5litre V6 engine, normally aspirated in the interests of instant throttle response, has been upped from 206kW to 216kW at 6400rpm compared to the original car's 6200rpm, producing performance figures of 0-100kmh in about six seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 250 kmh.

The close-ratio six-speed gearbox and a limited-slip differential help the torque, which is now 350Nm at 4800rpm, reach the road in an orderly fashion.

The interior is high quality and includes new soft-feel surfaces and materials with genuine leather seats and softer armrests, a centre console lid, door grip, added soft padding and insert trim.

The addition of brushed aluminium also enhances the appearance and quality of the interior.

The interior now offers added storage space in the form of lit door and console-mounted cup holders, easy-access door pockets and optimised positioning of switches and controls.

There are now lights in the steering-wheel- mounted audio controls.

But no matter how wonderful the car might be, it is the small things that can irritate the driver.

The irritating thing in this case is the smaller spare wheel of the 359 Z.