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LIFESTYLE: The Nissan 370z and Lexus GS 350

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The Nissan 370z was the icon of Japanese muscle cars until the latest GTR took its place. However, the sheer price difference between these two vehicles must be borne in mind. The 370 (the cheaper of the two) also looks more like a sports car than the GT-style GTR.

The 370z’s styling is enhanced with unique swooping headlights and tail lights with jags of metal interrupting the smooth look – as if the lights melted while the car was accelerating. The body is a typical sports coupé, with an elongated bonnet and steeply raked rear window. The bonnet’s two distinct creases add a brutish stroke to the silhouette, and the sideways-placed door handles have matt finishes.

On opening the door, the frameless window shifts slightly to enable easy entry, and seals shut when the door is closed. Then your attention moves to the seats and you realise how low this vehicle really is – almost as if you need to go down on your knees. Once in, you sit snug and secure in the bucket seats, with the low roof just above your head. The best way to describe the dashboard layout is boy-racer, with additional dials central top of the dash that house the clock, voltage and oil temperature. Below this is a large touch-screen display with a gazillion buttons that looks almost like a keyboard and mouse set-up. However, once I got accustomed to it, it was an absolute pleasure to use.

Behind the steering wheel is a large display, with a smaller one on each side. The main dash features the rev counter – as that’s all you need to look at when driving this car the way it is meant to be driven. An outstanding feature is that the displays move up and down with the steering wheel so they are not obscured. The steering wheel is rather chunky with the usual radio, telephone and cruise control functions. The boot space is small, especially with the almost full-size spare wheel.

On the road you realise what this car was built for – neither looks nor the great-sounding engine, but rather for the sheer fun you get with your foot floored. The 3.7 litre turbocharged motor is no sissy, and with the car’s rather stiff suspension it corners like it’s on rails. With the seat a foot in front of the rear wheel, you can actually feel every squeak, grind and slide of the car. In experienced hands, this car instantly puts a smile on your face but, for an amateur, it can land you in a spot of trouble as the car is not forgiving, even with the anti-skid on. The quite firm manual gearbox takes some getting used to, but after a while, I did not want to drive another manual car. The 370z’s precise gear changes and solid feel complete the sports ride.

Overall, I really enjoyed the vehicle. It does have a few drawbacks, such as no rear seats, a rather small boot, a relatively hard ride and being fairly heavy on fuel. However, keep in mind that this is a sports car and it will have drawbacks – but it’s worth it for a person who really likes to drive a car that’s meant to be driven!

Manufacturer Specifications:
Engine:
3.7l V6 Cylinder Turbo

Power:
245KW

Torque:
363Nm

0-100km/h:
5.3 Sec (Claimed)

Fuel Consumption:
Average 10.5l/100km

CO2:
256.8 g/km

Price:
From R541 500,00

Car courtesy of
Nissan South Africa.

Lexus GS 350

The all-new Lexus GS definitely looks a lot more aggressive than any of its predecessors, yet it retains its sporty edge. At first glance, the new Lexus front-end is most striking, with squared-off edges and LED lights. Its rear-end is also perfectly sculptured, and the rear bumper has incorporated chrome exhaust outlets. The overall shape is good-looking but rather long.

Inside is absolute luxury; ultra-soft and super-comfortable seats covered in the softest leather. It makes you want to recline and watch a movie – but this is a car, so let’s get on with the real stuff: the driving. The leather-bound steering wheel is a pleasure and it manoeuvres effortlessly. The dashboard layout screams exclusivity and the large screen is one feature currently unique to Lexus.
The touchscreen has been replaced by – dare I say it – an awful, non user-friendly mouse system. The rear seat space is excellent and, as expected, is super comfy. The boot is so big it seems you will never quite fill it. I tried though, by transporting some filming equipment, but no luck – the carnivorous boot swallowed the three large cases and there was still space for more.

On the road, the car moves and feels like it’s floating on air with its soft suspension that just absorbs everything. This is good for passenger comfort, but the sheer lack of steering feedback was a real put-off for me – so much so that I found the car almost boring to drive.
In conclusion, this is a fantastic-looking and ultra-luxurious vehicle that comes standard with all luxury features and a very usable boot, but was designed for people who don’t like to drive. So if that’s your cup of tea, this is the car for you. ❐

Manufacturer Specifications:
Engine:
3.5l V6 Cylinder

Power:
233KW

Torque:
378Nm

0-100km/h:
6.3 Sec (Claimed)

Fuel Consumption:
Average 9.4l/100km

CO2:
223 g/km

Price:
From R584 900,00

Car courtesy of
Lexus South Africa.

Author: Azim Omar CA(SA) is a member of SAGMJ.

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