Just in case Porsche’s new 2022 718 Cayman GT4 RS isn’t intense enough for you, a new Clubsport model adds a handy helping of track-ready components after almost completely gutting the interior, resulting…
Just in case Porsche’s new 2022 718 Cayman GT4 RS isn’t intense enough for you, a new Clubsport model adds a handy helping of track-ready components after almost completely gutting the interior, resulting in one of the most enticing OEM race cars the auto industry has ever produced.
Let’s face it. The 718 Cayman GT4 RS is already one of the best road-going performance cars available, thanks to a lightweight mid-engine layout, plenty of 911 components, and a 4.0-litre horizontally opposed six pulled from the fabulous GT3 RS, this mill good for a sensational 500 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. The engines spins to a stratospheric 9,000 rpm, makes peak thrust at 8,300 rpm, maximum twist at 6,000 rpm, and comes with a special six-speed manual transmission that’s said to be pure bliss to shift.
The new Clubsport version does away with the DIY gearbox, however, substituting it for a quicker shifting seven-speed dual-clutch PDK with paddles, which is more ideally suited for track use, while additional racecourse-ready performance parts include a gargantuan swan-neck rear wing that teams can adjust for optimized downforce or increased straight-line speed, while under this special Cayman are two-way adjustable shocks as well as a set of anti-roll bars that can be tweaked individually too. Likewise, the Clubsport’s ride height, toe, and camber can also be adjusted as required, plus teams can opt for one of three pre-set spring rates with either the front or rear axle.
Clamping down on velocity, performance calipers bite into sizeable 15.0-inch front rotors that are actually cooled by the big NACA vents atop the 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport’s hood, while enhancing braking control and handling further is race-tuned stability control system.
A quick peek inside shows an interior devoid of the types of leather, microsuede, carbon fibre and electronics normally found in a 718 Cayman GT4 RS, instead replaced by white painted metal for most surfaces, along with a welded-in roll cage, one sole Recaro driver’s seat with a six-point racing harness, and a fire extinguisher. The Clubsport gets a built-in air-jack too, while an optional 138.2-litre (30.4-gal) fuel cell can be included for longer races.
All added up, it only makes sense that removing the high-end hides, metals and electronics should decrease the price, right? Hardly. In fact, all the Clubsport fittings nearly double the window sticker, from a base of $160,600 for the 2022 718 Cayman GT4 RS, to $229,000 USD, or approximately $293,400 CAD for the race-spec version.
The new Clubsport is nevertheless considered a good value within racing circles, however, something you’ll know all too well if you’re actually considering buying one. Everyone else would be better served behind the leather-wrapped wheel of a regular 718 Cayman GT4 RS, and currently Porsche is offering factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent, while CarCostCanada members are saving an average of $1,000 off of retail. Check out how the CarCostCanada system works, and remember to download their free app from the Google Play Store or Apple Store.
The new 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport (12:18):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Is there a meaner looking sports car available anywhere? OK, an argument can be made for some multiple-six-figure sports and supercars, but within the more affordable mainstream volume-branded sector,…
Is there a meaner looking sports car available anywhere? OK, an argument can be made for some multiple-six-figure sports and supercars, but within the more affordable mainstream volume-branded sector, the Challenger is one tough looking customer.
Of course, Dodge follows up the Challenger’s menacing appearance with a range of powertrains that borders on the otherworldly. There’s nothing particularly exciting about its base 3.6-litre V6, except for the ability of a budget-conscious buyer being able to get into this fabulous looking car for just $36,265 (plus freight and fees), the SXT and GT models’ 303 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque just barely capable of making their respective 1,750-kilo (3,858-lb) and 1,772-kg (3,907-lb) curb weights feel sporty. It gets even more challenging to do so when all-wheel drive is added to the mix, due to the just-noted models’ curb weights bumped up to 1,840 kg (4,057 lbs) and 1,847 kg (4,072 lbs) apiece, but muscle car fans wanting more get-up-and-go can always opt for a V8.
RT trim is the most affordable way to get into Dodge’s 5.7-litre Hemi, which is good for a healthy 372 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque through the rear wheels, while only adding 117 kg (258 lbs) to the rear-wheel drive GT. The mind-blowing SRT Hellcat, on the other hand, and downright insane Hellcat Redeye make concerns about mass less of an issue, at least in a straight line. The former makes a sensational 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque from a 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi V8, while the latter puts out an absolutely outrageous 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque from a higher output version of the same engine, both of which are available in either the Challenger’s regular body style or the Widebody design introduced for 2018.
The R/T Scat Pack 392, also available in both body styles, splits the difference between the regular R/T and Hellcat with a 6.4-litre supercharged Hemi V8 making 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque, an engine that adequately compensates for the car’s 1,924 kg (4,242 lb) curb weight by launching it from standstill to 100 km/h in about four seconds before attaining a top track speed of 273 km/h (170 mph). My Scat Pack 392 Widebody tester adds a bit more mass, 33 kg (73 lbs) to be exact, resulting in 1,957 kg (4,314 lb), but once again this additional weight more than makes up for itself in handling performance, thanks to meatier 305/35 ZR-rated Pirelli P Zero rubber on 20×11-inch Devil’s Rim forged aluminum wheels, which compare well against the regular Scat Pack 392’s 245/45ZR20 performance tires.
To be clear, Widebody Challengers only add a competition suspension with active damping, plus fender flares to allow for beefier tires, which means the track of both body styles maintains a sizeable 1,610 mm (63 in) up front and 1,621 mm (64 in) in back. All that extra rubber combines ideally with the 392’s well-sorted independent short/long arm front and multi-link rear suspension setup, making for mostly confidence-inspiring stability through fast-paced corners.
Mostly? I won’t lie, this isn’t a car for the faint of heart. What I mean is, you’ll be able to feel the Challenger’s transitional weight when flinging it through sharp curves, and while much of that mass is up front, therefore causing a tendency for the car to understeer, or push out at the front, unless getting too hard on the throttle mid-corner and breaking rear grip, it’s the exact opposite of the performance spectrum than something extremely lightweight, like the Alfa Romeo 4C (also under the Stellantis group umbrella).
This said, I pushed my Challenger R/T Scat Pack 392 Widebody tester hard around some very tight sets of mountainside curbs and never had an issue. It actually feels pretty well balanced, with that just-mentioned slight tendency to push out at the front wheels in fact confidence-inspiring, as it informs a driver of its breaking point before it’s too late, and due to this feedback, much attributed to the car’s electrically-assisted rack and pinion steering system, I was able to instantly compensate by applying a bit of input at the wheel to make the rear step out ever so slightly. So, it’s not that this car can’t perform with the best in this pony car crowd, but instead it comes down to the sensation of its mass transitioning from side-to-side so obviously, that might make some drivers feel a bit uneasy.
Of course, Dodge provides all of the latest traction and stability control functions, which help to keep the rear end in check if it were to suddenly let go, while the big fat Brembos at each corner provide plenty of stopping power with very little fade, so my only advice to new owners would be to keep the traction and stability control systems on as you gradually get familiar with those breaking points, and then when finally ready to test its boundaries, make sure it’s not on a circuitous canyon road with a rock wall on one side and cliff on the other. A local autocross course in a parking lot, where you’ll only be destroying orange cones might be a better idea, but I digress.
I’ve delved pretty deep into this review without mentioning anything about the Challenger’s transmission choices, so here goes: all V6-powered Challengers are only available with an eight-speed automatic dubbed TorqueFlite, a name that’s been used for branding all of Chrysler group’s in-house autoboxes since 1956 (when it replaced the two-speed PowerFlite), but this unit, and all eight-speeds currently available from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or Ram, are in fact rebranded versions of the ZF 8HP, albeit built under licence at Chrysler’s Kokomo, Indiana casting plant since 2013.
Incidentally, the first vehicle in the four-brand lineup to receive ZF’s 8HP was the 2011 Chrysler 300, but it soon expanded to the 2012 Dodge Charger, 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2013 Ram 1500, and now encompasses all vehicles in the four brands’ ranges using longitudinally-mounted V6 or V8 engines in RWD and AWD applications (hybrid transmissions included).
To say this was a good decision would be a massive understatement, as most familiar with the multitude of multi-speed automatic gearboxes on the market would claim ZF’s 8HP as the best compromise between quick-shifting performance and overall smooth-operating civility, not to mention superb reliability. The aforementioned four brands have sold well over one million vehicles equipped with the TorqueFlite eight-speed, and thanks to said dependability and just how thoroughly engaging it is use, especially when employing its Sport mode along with manual mode and its steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, I can attest that it’s a key reason you should consider the Challenger over its competitors. Then again, you might want to opt for the available six-speed manual, a gearbox I thoroughly enjoyed in a 2015 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker, way back in the day.
As yet one more side-note, I can’t just mention Sport mode without adding that it turns off the traction control (and includes a warning in the gauge cluster), so those who aren’t accredited professional drivers may want to put some track or autocross time into learning the car’s boundaries before doing so (as noted a few minutes ago). This said, you can modify Sport mode from the infotainment system, by entering the Apps page, then the Drive Mode Set-Up button, then Sport-Mode Set-Up, at which point you can reconfigure Sport mode to include traction control. This means you can use most of the power without constantly lighting up the rear tires at takeoff, or overcooking them when applying too much throttle in tight corners.
You can do the same to decrease engine response and the transmission’s high-performance shifting mode, but I can’t think of many applications I’d want to do that, or for that matter disengage the paddles, which is also possible. Likewise, you can make Sport mode’s more direct steering-feel less engaging via either Normal or Comfort modes, which hardly makes sense either, but I suppose it’s nice to have the option. These features are helpful in default mode, however, where you can leave engine/transmission in normal mode while making sure the paddles are still working, plus leave traction control on, and steering in mid-range Normal mode.
You can quickly review your personalized setup on the Performance Control page within the infotainment system’s Performance Pages section, the latter being a real bonus as it’s filled with active graphical info designed to get the most out of your driving experience, including digital coolant temp, oil temp, and oil pressure gauges on page one, boost pressure, air fuel ratio, intercooler coolant temp, and intake air temp gauges (plus battery voltage and trans temperature for the automatic) on page two, a timer page for keeping track of your reaction time off the line, as well as lap times and more (you can save this info to a USB to review on another device later), a g-force page for graphically displaying the amount of lateral and longitudinal force (current and best) your car is experiencing through curves, and an engine page for horsepower, torque and engine related info.
Right next to the Drive Mode button is one for “LAUNCH” control, a feature that’ll make sure driver error doesn’t impede any future drag races. After setting it up in the infotainment system by going to the same Performance Control page used for reviewing your personalized driving mode setup, go to the Launch RPM Set-Up page, set your launch revs between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm (you can also set the Shift Light rpm on this page), and then activate the Launch mode. Next, press your left foot hard on the brake to hold the car in place, floor the throttle with your right foot, and then release the brake, after which Launch control takes care of the rest, automatically optimizing traction and wheel spin balance along the way.
Just be smart about launching your Challenger R/T Scat Pack 392 on public roads. It’s a sure-fire way to get a ticket or worse, and remember, if the steering wheel isn’t straight, or you don’t completely floor the throttle, it’ll automatically kick out of launch mode and you’ll be on your own. If you want to deactivate the program manually, you can do so within the same performance page, and it goes without saying you should be in Sport mode to get the most out of Launch mode. Just in case you’re sitting in a six-speed manual-equipped car while reading this review, launch mode works the same, but instead of releasing the brake pedal you’ll be releasing the clutch. The only difference is in setup, where you’ll be setting your engine revs between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm.
As far as non-performance equipment goes, all Challengers come well-equipped with items like automatic halogen headlamps featuring halo LED accent lighting, LED taillights, proximity access and pushbutton ignition, a 7.0-inch full-colour customizable in-cluster driving display (set between two gorgeous analog dials), a tire pressure monitoring display, a centre touchscreen (7.0 inches for the base model and 8.4 inches for all other trims), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, two USB ports, six-speaker audio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (flat-bottomed in the Widebody) and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 10-way powered driver’s seat with four-way lumbar adjust, and much more.
Moving up through the trims will provide exterior upgrades like larger wheels and tires, an SRT front splitter, fog lamps, a functional hood scoop (or performance hood with dual heat extractors for the 392), active exhaust (V8 only), remote start (with the automatic), paddle shifters, bright metal foot pedals, heated front seats and steering wheel rim (that get quite toasty), cooled seats, navigation, a 276-watt amplifier (in the 392), satellite radio, and more, while options include a powered glass sunroof, Harman Kardon or Alpine audio, etcetera, plus loads of packages.
My Challenger R/T Scat Pack 392 tester reached near-premium levels of interior finishing too, with soft-touch surfaces almost everywhere. Even the front roof pillars are wrapped in plush Alcantara-like pseudo-suede, the same as used for the perforated seat inserts. This came as part of the Carbon & Suede Interior Package, the psuede also covering the roof liner, while the carbon fibre trim looks fabulous.
Those seats are wonderfully comfortable, with excellent side bolstering. The driver’s seat has superb adjustability, including the four-way power lumbar support noted above, which is highly unusual in this class, and not even available in some entry-level luxury models from brands like Lexus. The driver’s position is excellent too, with generous reach from the upgraded powered tilt and telescopic steering wheel, plus there’s plenty of room for larger drivers.
Rear spaciousness isn’t quite as good as the four-door Charger sedan, but there’s not all that much difference between the two cars. Headroom is actually better than you might expect, despite the narrow side windows, although rear passengers might feel a bit claustrophobic due to small rear quarter windows, but they won’t be uncomfortable. Dodge includes a flip-down centre armrest with dual cupholders, standard across the line, while the trunk is fairly large, but access is not all that easy due to a high lift-over. The rear seats fold down in the usual 60/40 configuration, making the near full-size coupe quite practical.
Yes, there are a lot of reasons to love the Challenger, especially when putting out the kind of power my tester came with. It might be big, bold, brash and some might say brutish looking, but it’s wonderfully refined inside and surprisingly easy to live with.
Sure, it’s a glutton on fuel, although its eight-speed auto helps reduce its claimed 15.9-L/100km city rating to a pretty decent 9.6 on the highway, leaving its combined rating at an estimated 13.1 L/100km. With fuel prices rising that might matter to some, but most buyers nevertheless love their Challengers. In fact, the Challenger won its “Sports/Sporty Car” category in AutoPacific’s 2020 Ideal Vehicle Awards, which recognize vehicles that best meet owners’ expectations. It also achieved runner-up status alongside the Mustang in the Canadian Black Book’s 2020 Best Retained Value Awards, so you’ll be able to hold on to more of your money when it’s time to sell.
While the base model starts at just over $36k, as noted earlier in this review, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 392 will set you back $54,465 (plus freight and fees), a very reasonable price considering all the performance and refinement included. My R/T Scat Pack 392 Widebody pushed the price up to $62,465, still a good deal for such an impressive car, and significantly less than the $79,215 Hellcat. The top-line Hellcat Redeye Widebody costs a cool $105,215, incidentally, but once again, for a muscle car that’ll take off like a supercar, it’s hard to beat both literally and from a value perspective.
Review and photos by Trevor Hofmann
If you want the purist of 911s, look no further than the fabulous GT3 coupe (we covered in detail here). While not as ultimately fast as the previous-generation GT2 RS, that turbocharged super-coupe once…
If you want the purist of 911s, look no further than the fabulous GT3 coupe (we covered in detail here). While not as ultimately fast as the previous-generation GT2 RS, that turbocharged super-coupe once again winning bragging rights at the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife just a week ago, this time chopping a sizeable 4.747 seconds from the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series lap time on its way to claiming fastest production car status, the naturally aspirated GT3 nevertheless churns out 502 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque from its 4.0-litre six-cylinder engine, and makes beautiful 9,000-rpm music while doing so.
How does the GT3 stack up on the track? Of the top-10 fastest production cars to ever course through the old 20.8-km portion of the Nürburgring track, which incidentally is known affectionately as “The Green Hell” due to its forested, mountainside surroundings, 300 metres of elevation, 73 turns, and legendarily challenging nature (racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart originally coined the phrase), five are Porsches and two are GT3s. Sitting in eighth is the current-generation (992) GT3 RS, with a lap time of just 6:55.34 minutes, while the ninth-placed car is a previous-generation (991.2) GT3 RS.
While the GT3’s track exploits are praiseworthy to say the least, it’s a race-ready supercar that can be easily seen as such by passersby (including the constabulary) while also purposely lacking a few modern-day 911 refinements, with an obvious leaning toward sport, rather than luxury. Porsche hopes its new Touring Package, available at no additional cost to 2022 GT3 buyers, will help those wanting to fly under the radar escape scrutiny, without being forced to give up on owning one of the most sought-after 911 models available.
Visually separating the regular GT3 from the new Touring Package-equipped variant is a switch to the more conventional deployable rear wing used on most other 911 models, which pops up out of rear deck lid when needed and otherwise hides away. This provides a more classic 911 coupe profile that attracts a lot less attention than the super-sized carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) one found on the original, but of course doesn’t deliver the same level of ultimate downforce, therefore reducing high-speed stability through corners. It’s a trade-off that some buyers won’t mind, however, especially when laying eyes on the specially designed rear grille. Additionally, the front fascia on Touring Package cars is body-colour, while high-gloss anodized silver-tone aluminum trim surrounds the side windows and polished metal highlights the tailpipes (Satin Black is an option for both).
The Touring Package doesn’t swap out the regular GT3’s CFRP hood and front spoiler for lesser variants of each, fortunately, and doesn’t mess with anything under that just-noted rear wing either, although a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission can now be had with either GT3 model, and like the Touring Package itself, is a no-cost option.
Silver-painted versions of the same 20-inch front and 21-inch rear forged alloy rims come shod in respective 255/35 and 315/30 ZR performance rubber with the new Touring Package, once again encircling Satin Black centre locking caps with regular Porsche crests rather than “GT3” logos.
If you choose a subtler exterior colour when for your Touring Package-equipped GT3, like Agate Grey Metallic or GT Silver Metallic, rest assured GT3 badging will still be part of the ownership experience. Still, along with the new rear engine grille, Porsche revised its designation to read “GT3 touring”. Of note, this wide-body 911 is still available with every exterior colour and shade offered for the regular GT3, including Chalk and more outlandish hues like Lava Orange, Python Green and Shark Blue.
The Touring Package interior gets upgrades too, including an extended black leather upholstery package that enhances the steering wheel rim, gear lever, centre console lid, door panel armrests, and door grips, while edging the dash and both door uppers with a special embossed surface treatment.
This said, quick glance at the racing-style seats in the Touring Package might make you believe they’re unchanged, but closer inspection shows a unique fabric used for their centre panels, plus embossed Porsche crests in place of the usual GT3 logos on the headrests. Finally, Touring Package door sill guards receive a brushed black aluminum treatment that’s also applied to some dash and centre console components.
It should be noted that GT3 Touring Package buyers can also opt for multiple two-tone cabins that add coloured leather to the interior’s lower half.
Those wanting to upgrade their GT3 Touring Package-equipped car even further will be happy to know that most regular GT3 options can still be had, including all wheel colours, the Porsche Dynamic Light System and Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus, every driver assistance system, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), Smart Front Axle Lift, and all the same alternative seats, while an available Bose Surround Sound System is on the menu too, plus, of course, the Sport Chrono package.
Any added weight (which is not accounted for on Porsche’s retail site or in any press releases) hasn’t impeded performance, with both regular GT3 and Touring Package-equipped models sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h in only 3.9 seconds when fitted with the six-speed manual GT Sport transmission, or 3.4 seconds with the standard paddle-shift-operated seven-speed PDK transmission. Likewise, terminal track speeds remain identical at a respective 320 km/h (199 mph) and (318 km/h (198 mph), but it’s possible that removing of the larger rear wing could allow Touring Package-equipped cars a slightly higher top speed, possibly even 322 km/h (200 mph).
The two GT3 models incorporate identical suspension setups as well, including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with ride-height lowering (by approximately 20mm). Therefore, both should provide near identical handling, although once again, elimination of the fixed rear wing will make a difference at high speeds, not to mention when scrubbing off speed via both GT3s’ sizeable 408 mm front and 380 mm rear brakes.
For a bit of history regarding the “Touring Package” name, it first came in use for a version of the 1973 911 Carrera RS, likewise providing a more luxurious trim upgrade for a model that could be seen as the GT3 of its generation. The Touring Package name was also revived for the sixth-gen 991-based GT3 in 2017.
If you’d like to bring your GT3 Touring Package experience into the office or back home, a special Porsche Design chronograph watch can be had as well. It boasts a sophisticated mechanical movement with a flyback second hand function, plus its winding rotor, seen through a caseback window, shares styling cues with the car’s wheel design. The rotor is even available in six different versions to correspond with your car’s personal configuration.
Each dial bezel is finished in Agate Grey Metallic, however, plus all dials receive a matte black surface, but each chronograph hand matches the bright luminous yellow colour of the GT3’s tachometer needle for another nice tie-in to the actual car. Attaching the beautiful watch head to your wrist is a strap made from the same embossed leather as that used in the Touring Package-equipped GT3, along with some black decorative stitching. This new chronograph is made in Porsche Design’s own Swiss watchmaking factory, and is only available to GT3 customers.
The New Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package (2:13):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Focusing on practical considerations when spending between $120,000 and $220,000 on a new car might not seem rational to those not able to do so, but not providing stowage for multiple bags of golf clubs…
Focusing on practical considerations when spending between $120,000 and $220,000 on a new car might not seem rational to those not able to do so, but not providing stowage for multiple bags of golf clubs can be a dealbreaker for plenty of would-be buyers in any class.
Enter Porsche’s Taycan Cross Turismo, a more pragmatic approach to the blisteringly quick, sport-luxury EV revolution. Building on the Taycan four-door coupe introduced last year, Porsche has raised and extended the rear roofline, resulting in a sort of sport wagon-like shooting brake design, not unlike the German brand’s own Panamera Sport Turismo.
Altogether, the new Cross Turismo adds 793 litres (28.0 cu ft) of available cargo capacity for a new maximum of 1,200 litres (42.4 cu ft), which is a big step up from the regular Taycan’s 407-litre (14.4 cu-ft) trunk; not including the 81-litre (2.8 cu-ft) “frunk” (front trunk) included with both models.
If you still need more room, Porsche will supply you with a specially made roof-top cargo carrier that’ll hold fast up to 200 km/h, just in case you want to do a few laps on the track when before heading home from skiing (those who ski at Quebec’s beautiful Mont Tremblant may want to invest in this accessory, being that the fabulous Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant is only a few minutes away in St. Jovite).
Just like the regular Taycan, the new Cross Turismo can manage such speeds and more (from 220 to 250 km/h depending on trim), due to housing the same 800-volt battery-electric plug-in power unit. The impressive lithium-ion Performance Battery Plus provides a total capacity of 93.4 kWh, which should allow the new wagon-style model similar maximum range to the regular Taycan four-door coupe, at about 320 kilometres between charges depending on weather conditions, driving styles and other factors.
One hundred kilometres of range can be had after just five minutes of charging when hooked up to a DC fast charging station, by the way, but expect considerably more time invested for the usual 80-percent top-up during a normal 240-volt charge.
The time to charge will change depending on model chosen too, as will the Taycan Cross Turismo’s performance from standstill to 100 km/h. The “laggard” of the bunch is the base Taycan 4 Cross Turismo, which still blasts past 100 km/h in a speedy 5.1 seconds thanks to its 375-horsepower dual-motor electric powertrain. Upgrade to the 4S Cross Turismo and you’ll see a full second get chopped off its zero to 100 km/h time, due to 482 horsepower at all four wheels.
Porsche hilariously uses its “Turbo” moniker for top-tier trim designations, incidentally, but take heart that few on-road rivals will be laughing at your car’s silly name when it leaves them trailing behind in literal dust. The near top-line Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo makes a respectable 616 horsepower that results in a scant 3.3-second sprint from zero to 100 km/h, while the Turbo S Cross Turismo’s mind-blowing 750-horsepower power unit breaks the 3-second barrier completely, managing the feat in just 2.9 seconds with launch control engaged.
All Taycan Cross Turismo trims use an identical chassis and adaptive suspension design as the regular Taycan coupe, not to mention standard all-wheel drive for excellent all-weather traction. Even better, Porsche provides a standard “Gravel Mode” as well, which adjusts the car’s throttle response and chassis control for optimal grip on slippery surfaces.
What’s more, Porsche will add even greater crossover SUV-like presence to the new Taycan five-door via an available Off-Road Design package that increases ride height by 30 mm (1.2 in) while providing a more capable appearance with mud flaps and other rugged upgrades.
Speaking of appearances, the new Cross Turismo pumps up the regular Taycan’s flanks with SUV-like matte black cladding around the wheel cutouts, along the rockers, and at each end, the latter extremities enhanced further via silver undertrays.
Take note that customers will start taking delivery of the new Taycan Cross Turismo this summer, so contact your local Porsche retailer if you want to be one of the early adopters. Pricing starts at $119,900 for the base Taycan Cross Turismo 4, and moves up to $126,800 for the Taycan Cross Turismo 4S, $178,000 for the Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo, and finally $218,000 for the top-line Taycan Cross Turismo Turbo S.
Of note, the Cross Turismo’s base power unit is not available in the regular Taycan coupe, so the two models’ base pricing aren’t wholly reflective of each other. Where the 2021 Taycan 4S starts at $120,500, it uses the Cross Turismo’s more potent 4S powertrain. A more direct price comparison can be made against the $126,800 Taycan Cross Turismo 4S, showing a reasonable $6,300 price increase for the newer crossover body style. Cross Turismo Turbo and Turbo S trims are an even better deal, only costing $3,000 more than their Taycan coupe equivalents.
A quick glance at CarCostCanada’s 2021 Porsche Taycan Canada Prices page will show the differences, and allow you to configure the current coupe model as well. Porsche is offering the 2021 Porsche Taycan coupe with factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent, by the way, while all CarCostCanada members will receive access to additional important information, such as manufacturer rebates when available, plus dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands more on any vehicle currently sold in Canada. Learn how an inexpensive CarCostCanada membership will save you money when purchasing your next new vehicle, and while you’re at it, be sure to download their free app so you can have all this critical info at your fingertips when you need it most.
The All-New Taycan Cross Turismo (1:29):
Taycan Cross Turismo: Digital World Premiere (17:40):
Taycan Cross Turismo – Inner Space (2:30):
The Camouflaged Taycan Cross Turismo Hits the Road (1:57):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Few sports car concepts excited the motoring masses like the original Porsche Boxster prototype did when debuting at the Detroit auto show in 1993, and not many cars introduced 25 years ago have been…
Few sports car concepts excited the motoring masses like the original Porsche Boxster prototype did when debuting at the Detroit auto show in 1993, and not many cars introduced 25 years ago have been as successful, or are even around anymore.
In order to mark the occasion, Porsche has made a new 2021 718 Boxster 25 Years edition available for order now. The new model combines classic design elements from the original concept with the myriad upgrades found on the sportiest version of today’s 718 variant, resulting in a much more modern yet very classy little two-seat roadster.
For those who like the classic look of a traditional sports car, the new 25 Years edition will be all upside, until they find out that it’s limited to only 1,250 units. Alas, you’ll need to be ultra-quick to claim yours, especially if you want to choose the metallic silver version that’s most closely related to the original Boxster show car.
The new 2021 version comes in three colours, black and white also on the menu, but gold highlights complement the front fascia, side engine vents, and “25” year insignia fixed to the rear bumper cap beside to the usual “Boxster” script. Porsche sprayed the gorgeous set of five-spoke alloys in gold too, while the race-inspired aluminum gas cap unfortunately hides from view beneath a cover, instead of being fully exposed like the original.
Just like the original Boxster, the new commemorative model’s powered fabric roof is finished in a deep red and boasts embossed “Boxster 25” script on each front outside section so that it’s displayed when folded down. This rich red colour makes up the majority of the interior, which includes unique leatherwork and special red carpeting. What’s more, the dash trim inlay on the passenger’s side provides a base for this special edition model’s “Boxster 25” plaque, which comes with 0000/1250 numbering, while another “Boxster 25” badge adorns each floor mat.
The new 718 Boxster 25 Years provides a sharp contrast to the car that underpins it, Porsche’s 718 Boxster GTS 4.0 that’s blackened all of the usual bright and brushed metal bits, including the wheels. At the heart of both cars is a 911 GT3-inspired naturally aspirated 4.0-litre flat-six good for 394 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque when mated to the standard six-speed manual, 317 lb-ft of twist when hooked up to the seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK.
With its Sport Chrono Package that paddle-shift actuated transmission will get up and go from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.0 seconds flat, while the DIY shifter will take 0.5 seconds longer to achieve the same feat. Likewise, the manually shifted 718 drop-top moves off the line to 160 km/h in 9.2 seconds, whereas the PDK version once again slices a half second from the same sprint for an 8.7-second time, all ahead of respective top track speeds of 293 and 288 km/h.
The GTS 4.0, 25 Years and all 718 Boxster models for that matter, rival the mighty 911 when it comes to performance, especially when it comes to handling, and out-manoeuvre their competitors as well, which is one of the reasons the entry-level Porsche has had so much success over the decades. Such steady sales chart performance is rare amongst its sports car contemporaries, with the number of discontinued rivals littering the automotive landscape.
Names like XLR (or Allanté) won’t likely be offered on the new market again, while other premium drop-tops to fall by the wayside include Buick’s 1990-1991 Reatta Convertible, Volvo’s 1996–2013 C70, Chrysler’s 2004–2008 Crossfire, Tesla’s 2008–2012 Roadster, and Mini’s 2012–2015 Roadster (the regular convertible is still available). Not all of these were two-seat roadsters, and some didn’t compete directly with the Boxster, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been casualties amongst the entry-level Porsche’s more direct challengers.
The Boxster was introduced in 1996, just three years after Alfa Romeo’s classic Spider was eliminated from our continent. The stylish German was joined that year by Mercedes’ SLK, both of which followed BMW’s Z3 that initiated the compact luxury two-seat roadster renaissance a year earlier. Audi’s TT followed in 1998, combining for Teutonic dominance in the segment. After initial popularity and a relatively successful three-generation run overall, the TT will be discontinued at the end of its current model cycle, this move following the SLC (the SLK’s successor) being dropped at the end of 2020.
BMW’s Z4 (the Z3’s successor) will be the only luxury roadster nameplate that remains when the SLC disappears, 718 Boxster aside, but the wholly new fourth-gen model now shares components with Toyota’s Supra, so it’s not fully German, let alone European. The latter comment is a nod to Jaguar’s F-Type, a slightly larger rival that entered the market in 2013 and was fully updated for 2021, competing with the Boxster in its entry-level turbo-four and V6 variants.
Those wanting to get their hands on a new 718 Boxster 25 Years shouldn’t expect to get a discount, although the special financing rate should be available. You’ll need to apply it to a pricier 718 Boxster however, the usual $96,900 base price of Porsche’s GTS 4.0 raised to $106,500 when adding all the 25 Years updates. Anyone serious about purchasing should stop reading and call their local retailer now, leaving the rest of us to enjoy the complete photo gallery above and four videos below.
Boxster 25 Years: Walkaround (6:29):
Boxster 25 Years: Forever Young (1:37):
The Boxster at 25: An Homage to its Inception (4:59):
Well executed, affordable sports cars are few and far between these days, with Subaru’s BRZ being much-loved amongst purists. It’s compact, lightweight, nicely finished inside (for the money), adequately…
Well executed, affordable sports cars are few and far between these days, with Subaru’s BRZ being much-loved amongst purists. It’s compact, lightweight, nicely finished inside (for the money), adequately powered and fabulous through the corners, therefore the BRZ has been a performance enthusiasts’ go-to alternative since arriving on the scene nine years ago, at least for those choosing not to purchase the import sector’s best-selling Mazda MX-5, or a Fiat 124 Spider (that shares the latter car’s underpinnings), an entry-level Nissan 370Z, or of course, Toyota’s near-identical 86 (née Scion FR-S).
After no shortage of rumours that both the BRZ and 86 would get the axe after the first-generation cars ran their course, lo and behold an all-new second generation of Subaru’s version was unveiled online earlier this month, and at first glance it just might offer the right mix of ingredients to give the previously-noted MX-5 a run for its money.
Most immediately noticeable is a fresh new look that tosses aside the old car’s simpler, sporty elegance for arguably more aggressive character traits. Many of the new BRZ’s design cues pay homage to the one it replaces, such as the general shape of its front fascia, long hood line, fender bulges, arcing greenhouse, and short rear deck lid, but a great deal has changed too, and while some of its updated details could be arbitrarily, and possibly unfairly attributed to other sport coupes that have come before, on the whole its appearance stands out amongst its peers.
In an automotive world that seems to be augmenting front grilles beyond reason, Subaru chose a welcome reduction in grille size for the 2022 BRZ, or at least it looks smaller now that the bumper is more cleanly integrated within the design instead of topping off the outgoing model’s central opening. Air vents are once again housed to each side, but they now look larger and more pronounced. On the contrary, the simpler headlamp design doesn’t appear as wide, narrow and eye-like when seen from the front.
More side creases and new front fender ducts that pay respect to those found on Subaru’s own ultimate performer, the WRX STI, embellish the BRZ’s flanks, while the aforementioned fender swells and sweptback rear glass now culminate into an integrated ducktail-like deck lid spoiler that sits above the new three-piece combination taillight’s narrow, centre strip for a totally new look from behind. It doesn’t hurt that the license plate cutout has been moved much farther down the rear fascia, this causing the need to carve some space out of the more organically shaped rear diffuser that continues to house twin exhaust ports as well as a centre-mounted reflector and backup lamps, although Subaru has squared the latter lighting elements off compared to the older model’s angular design.
Those hoping for WRX STI levels of grunt under the new BRZ’s lovely long hood can begin their sob session now, as Subie’s new sports car won’t see a turbo attached to its 2.4-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine, at least not yet. It’s a bigger mill than the 268-horsepower base WRX’ turbocharged 2.0-litre four, incidentally, albeit 100 cubic centimeters smaller than the WRX STI’s 310-hp lump.
In fact, this 2.4-litre engine is a naturally aspirated version of the engine first introduced in Subaru’s Ascent SUV and now optional in the Legacy and Outback, so there’s always potential for the Japanese brand (or someone with tuning skills) to push its performance up to the three-row family crossover’s heights of 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Nevertheless, those wanting more power from the new off-the-rack BRZ can at least be satisfied that its stock powerplant produces 23 more horsepower and 28 additional lb-ft of torque than the outgoing model, the new specs being 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, so it should be a lot more fun to drive.
Another BRZ strongpoint was Subaru’s ability to maintain the car’s light curb weight, which only increases by a scant 7.7 kilos (17 lbs). It now hits the scales at 1,277 kg (2,815 lbs), even though it has grown from end to end by 25 mm (1 in) to 4,265 mm (167.9 in), and has a 5-mm (0.2-in) longer 2,575-mm (101.4-in) wheelbase.
At least as positive, the new BRZ’s Subaru Global Platform-sourced body structure is an impressive 50-percent stiffer than the outgoing model. Key areas of strengthening include “a reinforced chassis mounting system, sub-frame architecture and other connection points,” stated Subaru in their press release. What’s more, the car’s front lateral bending rigidity has been increased by 60 percent, which is claimed to “improve turn-in and response.”
The BRZ’s general suspension layout remains unchanged, however, including its front struts and double-wishbone rear design, but Subaru has reportedly made plenty of updates, while its standard 17-inch and optional 18-inch alloy wheels will be shod with 215/45R17 and 215/40R18 tires respectively.
Most BRZ buyers will probably choose the standard six-speed manual gearbox that carries forward from the previous car. It once again features a short-throw shifter, while a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters and downshift rev-matching continues forward into the 2022 model as well. Also staying the same, all BRZ trims will receive a standard limited-slip differential.
New BRZ owners will be able to see those revs spinning from an all-new gauge cluster incorporating a large 7.0-inch digital display, while a new 8.0-inch centre touchscreen will house standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration along with the usual array of infotainment and convenience features.
The larger centre touchscreen is housed within a new centre stack that boasts a larger more modern trio of HVAC dials above a fresher row of silver toggle switches, while those familiar with the old car’s arcing centre air vent module and rounded outer dash top sections will be greeted by a new more linear instrument panel design overall. Circular side vents are still included, albeit now infused with a propellor-style design featuring a control knob in the middle instead of the previous conventional flap system. Additional changes go even further to differentiate the second-gen BRZ from the first, all of which should be more appealing to sports car buyers.
Prospective customers in mind, the brutal truth (that Subaru would probably rather not have mentioned) are sales numbers, which as of 2019 (let’s not use 2020’s as they’re totally out of whack) were just 647 units for the entire year. While that will sound like peanuts when compared to Subaru’s top-selling Crosstrek that found 15,184 new owners last year (up 4.4 percent), it wasn’t actually all that bad when factoring in more than 7 percent in year-over-year growth and, even better, 348 more sales than Toyota’s 86 (Ouch! Toyota 86 sales were down more than 52 percent last year). The BRZ sold 147 more units than the 300Z too (its sales down 28.5 percent), and actually came very close to unseating the MX-5’s rather lacklustre 774-unit total (and it’s sales were up almost 26 percent from 2019, when these two models almost tied for popularity).
The big winners in this category are American muscle cars, however, notably Chevy’s Camaro with 2,220 sales (albeit down nearly 18 percent), the Dodge Challenger with 2,341 deliveries (up by almost 3 percent), and Ford’s Mustang with 7,628 units sold (down a hair over 5 percent). Interestingly, Volkswagen delivered 2,910 examples of its now discontinued Beetle last year, thanks to a staggering 40-percent upsurge in YoY growth.
Yes, it’s bizarre to contemplate why VW would cancel such a comparatively successful sports car when Subaru is renewing one that regularly sells at about one-quarter the rate in both Canada and the U.S., but the Japanese brand obviously believes the sportier side of its mostly practical lineup needs an image car, despite the more formidable WRX STI still being its performance flagship.
We’re not at all upset about this news, of course, being that Subaru’s BRZ and its Toyota 86 cousin are true sports cars that already were revered amongst enthusiasts long before the 2022 updates will arrive sometime next year, and on that latter note stay tuned to these pages for a similar overview of the incoming 2022 86 when Toyota drops the details.
All said, we’re not expecting a big price increase despite the improvements, but then again, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to get up to $2,500 in additional incentives on the 2022 when it hits Subaru retailers next year, at least not initially. Check out CarCostCanada’s 2020 Subaru BRZ Canada Prices page for more information, and while you’re at it, find out how their inexpensive program can save you thousands off your next car purchase, via timely information about manufacturer rebates, financing and leasing deals, and dealer invoice pricing that will really help when it comes time for you to negotiate your deal.
When an automaker creates a sports car as immediately classic as the now legendary 240Z, it’s often all downhill from there. It’s like the band that has a top-10 hit on their first album, and never achieves the same level of musical genius again. Could the next Z be the one that finally outdoes the original?
Sometimes we forget that Nissan (then Datsun in North America) had already experienced relative success with another great sports car before the 240Z arrived in 1969. In fact, the 1965–1970 1600 roadster (and predecessors), named Fairlady in Japan and raced in SRL 2000 form by actor Paul Newman at the very beginning of his motorsport career, was the 240Z’s (Fairlady Z’s) predecessor despite looking nothing like it. Where the 1600 roadster looked and performed similarly to British and Italian sports cars of the era such as the MGB, Triumph TR4/TR5, Alfa Romeo Duetto/Spider and Fiat Spider, the 240Z left every other entry-level competitor in the visual and literal dust, and became an instant hit because of it.
The Zs that followed gained displacement to overcome pollution equipment and therefore weren’t quite as appealing, while the 280ZX added luxury and weight, a scenario that continued to play out with the 300ZX, although the second-generation 300ZX was absolutely gorgeous and extremely powerful for the era, and is therefore considered by many as the best Z since the 240. This said the 350Z was lauded for styling and performance when it arrived, while the 370Z added more luxury and weight, and has kind of worn out its welcome after 12 years on the market. This brings us to the here and now, with hopes that the yellow beast before us all is a thinly disguised seventh-gen Z.
The Z Proto, as it’s called, appears more than just a concept. The name Proto is short for prototype after all, which outside of sports car racing circles means a near production ready concept designed to test the waters before a full introduction. Nissan has a history of near-production concepts, which bodes well for this car becoming the new 400Z, as netizen pundits are calling it.
Nissan has been teasing the next-gen Z for quite a while, first with a teaser video showing the car in silhouette a few months ago. This caused quite the stir, with many expecting a production-ready car to appear, but alas we only have a concept, albeit a nicely fleshed out one at that. The Z Proto looks like it could easily be a production model, from its graceful lines that pay greater respect to the original than any Z since the ‘70s, to its fully formed interior that continues forward with many of the key design elements that have always been part of Nissan’s much-loved super coupe.
From the front, the Z Proto immediately reminds of the early 240, 260 and 280 Z cars, particularly the blocky, rectangular grille that seems to pay tribute to a popular mod of the era which saw owners removing the thin chromed front bumper (this practice became even more popular amongst 280Z owners due to its larger safety regulated front bumper), but also shares similar sizing to the current 370Z’s frontal opening. Just the same, this has been the new Proto Z’s most criticized design element, with some thinking it’s just too big and square.
The Proto’s elegantly formed hood plays off early Zs too, but with a much wider domed centre section that begins farther rearward after a more pronounced crease down the middle. The ovoid headlights are entirely new, however, sharing some circular symmetry with the first Z, particularly the daytime running lights that are supposed to represent the circular reflection of the transparent headlamp fairings used on Japanese-domestic-market (JDM) models (and aftermarket upgraded North American cars). Their flush glass-covered sealed beam look is more in-line with the fourth-generation Z32, mind you, which incidentally housed the Z’s first Xenon HIDs as part of its 1998 makeover, but the new concept uses LED technology.
The Z Proto’s roofline, rear quarters and hatch, on the other hand, pull cues from a variety of eras, albeit mostly from the ‘70s due to moving most of its visual weight to the rear, which sees nicely upswept quarter windows as well as pillars with integrated “Z” logos, paying direct homage to first-generation models. This said, the rear lighting elements and back panel garner more influence from both the refreshed 1987-1989 Z31 and all Z32 300ZX models thanks to their large, horizontal taillight treatments, while the entire car is a major departure from both 350Z and 370Z models, necessary to provide a fresh approach to such an outdated model.
For those wanting a return to what arguably made the original 240Z a great car to drive, its superb power to weight ratio, the Z Proto’s five-inch longer body won’t be good news unless Nissan constructs it from lightweight metals and composites. Doing so, of course, would drive the price up substantially, which means we’re only likely to see the same types of high-strength steels and alloys used in the platform-sharing Infiniti Q60’s body structure, with any exotic materials allocated to the much pricier GT-R.
The new Z Proto measures 4,381 mm (172.5 in) long, 1,849 mm (72.8 in) wide, incidentally, which is exactly the same width as the Q60, plus it’s 1,310 mm (51.6 in) tall. We can expect a production version to use at least as much aluminum for its body panels as the current 370Z, which gets a lightweight hood, door skins and hatch. Aluminum suspension components will make the grade too, the current Z already using an aluminum-alloy front subframe, engine cradle, and forged aluminum control arms (upper and lower in the rear), steering knuckle, radius rod, and wheel carrier assembly.
Within that just-noted engine cradle will be Nissan’s impressive twin-turbo 3.0-litre VR30DDTT engine, an advanced power unit that delivers superb performance and much better fuel economy than the 3.7-litre V6 currently in use. It comes in two states of tune in the Q60, including 300 and 400 horsepower variants, with most pundits expecting a 400Z nameplate to accompany the most potent version. This said it would be an unusual move to limit the upcoming Z to just the top-line engine, as a 300Z’s lower price point would allow for many more sales, while a potential 300ZX could denote available all-wheel drive, currently standard in Canada in the Q60, while provide an ideal marketing connection to the aforementioned historical Z models. A six-speed manual is shown in the concept, nothing new here, while it’s possible the new Z will debut more forward gears for the automatic, which currently houses seven.
As has mostly been the case through the decades, the new Z Proto’s interior is heavily influenced by first-gen Z cars, albeit with modern-day refinement and technology that far surpass today’s model. A key giveaway includes the sport steering wheel with its classic circular centre pad endowed with a “Z” logo instead of Nissan’s usual crest, but fans will appreciate the trio of driver-canted ancillary gauges atop the centre dash even more. Along with the usual oil pressure and voltmeter dials, the Z Proto replaces the current model’s digital clock with a boost gauge, a nod to the twin-turbo V6 housed just ahead.
The digital gauge cluster and large high-definition infotainment touchscreen are the most notable improvements over all predecessors, the former necessary for respect in this segment, and allowing for much more driver usability due to the ability to incorporate sophisticated performance readouts, while the latter should come equipped with all the usual modern amenities including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a big, clear backup camera with the possible option of a 360-degree overhead bird’s-eye view, and more.
The three rotating dials used for the heating and ventilation system strangely don’t appear to provide dual-zone capability, but it is automatic so this version is at least up to par with the current car.
Speaking of the current car, the Z Proto’s side-window defog vents on the outside corners of the dash, and its uniquely shaped door handles with integrated air vents, appear directly pulled from today’s Z, a strange choice if the brand wants to wholly differentiate the upcoming model from the one it replaces.
The seats look fabulous, but such can be said for the current model’s top-tier Recaros too, all of which help to make the new Z Proto appear like a production model in waiting. Then again Nissan is calling it a “development study vehicle,” so we shouldn’t get our hopes up too high, even though the 2001 Z Concept ended up looking a lot like the 2003 350Z. Reports claim the production vehicle has been signed off and development is well under way, but so far we haven’t been given a launch timeline. Considering today’s Z is now the oldest generation of any model sold in Canada, they may want to get a move on.
Did you see the new Z (check out the gallery above)? The Z Proto, which dropped on September 16, isn’t production ready, but its level of interior detail, its prototype-referencing name (prototypes normally refer to near production cars, rather than concepts that may only be built to gauge public reaction to a proposed design language or garner some press for a brand while having a little fun), and Nissan’s history of building production vehicles that closely resemble their prototypes/concepts, make it appear more like the real deal than merely a dream car. Either way one thing is clear, the 2020 370Z Nismo I’m reviewing here has quickly become last year’s news, if not the last decade’s news.
Unfair? That’s what I’ll try to determine in this review. After all, if you’re reading this review, you’re obviously still interested in a car that’s been around for a very long time. Nothing I can tell you here will be any different than what I could’ve told you a couple of years ago, other than news you may have missed about the 2020 370Z 50th Anniversary model, that gets two, thick diagonal stripes on each door along with special badging and some other nice extras.
Nice, but I’m reviewing a Nismo, which is the best Z currently available. Its seasoned 3.7-litre V6 gets an extra 18 horsepower over lesser trims’ 332 for a total of 350, plus 6 more lb-ft of torque for a maximum of 276, and can only be had with a six-speed manual gearbox, a seven-speed automatic with paddles available in lesser trims. This is a performance purist’s machine after all, so why bother with a slush-box?
It costs a lot more than the $30,498 base Z too, at $48,998, but for that money you get special red and black accented trim, a gorgeous set of 19-inch Nismo Rays forged alloy wheels wrapped in 245/40YR19 front and 285/35YR19 rear Dunlop SP Sport MAXX GT600 performance tires, a Nismo-tuned suspension setup comprised of increased spring, dampening and stabilizer rates, front and rear performance dampers, a reinforced three-point front strut tower brace, and a rear underbody V-brace, plus a Nismo-tuned free-flow dual exhaust system with an H-pipe configuration.
Fabulous black leather Recaro sport seats with red perforated Alcantara inserts and harness slots on their backrests are included too, as well as numerous comfort and convenience features pulled up from lower trims, a shortlist including auto on/off HID headlamps, LED DRLs, LED taillights, proximity entry with pushbutton start/stop, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated backup monitor, a HomeLink universal garage door opener, automatic climate control with an in-cabin micro-filter, navigation with SiriusXM NavTraffic, Bose audio with satellite radio, a USB port, and much more.
For all points and purposes the 2020 370Z Nismo is a great value proposition, that is until factoring in its age. In automotive terms its 11 years without a significant update make it ancient. In the entire consumer industry, Nissan’s own Frontier pickup truck is the only vehicle that’s has lasted longer, having arrived in 2004. A new Frontier is expected sometime in the near future, as is the redesigned Z noted earlier, and both will likely be much pricier than the vehicles they replace due to more sophisticated body shells, powertrains and electronic interfaces. The big question is whether the introduction of the new 400Z, as most are starting to call it, will cause today’s 370Z values to crash or, alternatively, allow them to hold in place thanks to the current model’s reasonably priced range. There’s no way this can be predicted, so we’re left with the gamble of choosing an ultra-old-school sports car that’s soon to be replaced.
Still, it’s a very good car with plenty to offer performance fans. Acceleration is strong, with its zero to 100 km/h time coming in under five seconds, which might seem like a laggard when put side-by-side with a GT-R Nismo that achieves the same in the low threes, but it’s still pretty good. Likewise, where the GT-R Nismo tops out at 321 km/h (200 mph), the 370Z Nismo hits its terminal velocity at a respectable 286 km/h (178 mph). Nothing wrong with that.
Fortunately braking is equally impressive, thanks to four-piston opposed aluminum front calipers clamping down on 14- by 1.3-inch vented discs, and two-piston calipers biting into 13.8- by 0.8-inch rotors in back, plus high-rigidity brake hoses and R35 Special II brake fluid. Stomp down on the centre pedal and speed gets scrubbed off quickly, but I recommend doing so in a straight line as the car’s 1581-kg (3,486-lb) mass can be a bit unsettling when diving too deeply into a corner without reducing speed enough first.
Of course, this can be said for a long list of performance cars, many of which cost a great deal more than this Z. Hidden below the shapely bodywork is a double-wishbone suspension in front and four-link design in the rear that collectively ride smoothly considering the higher spring and stabilizer bar rates, plus stiffer roll calibrations and increased damping levels. The Nismo even gets a 0.6-inch wider track than non-Nismo trims, which together with a carbon-fibre composite driveshaft and viscous limited slip differential that come standard across the range, add to that planted feel I noted earlier.
All of this is great, but the aforementioned six-speed manual is even better. It features SynchroRev Match, a technology that instantly spins engine revs up to the ideal rotation in order to synch up with the upcoming downward gear before it arrives, as if perfectly blipping the throttle yourself. It makes any driver feel and sound like a pro, and provides a nice, clean engine-transmission match-up in order to minimize drivetrain jolt. Shifter feel is excellent too, with a wonderfully tight, crisp, notchy feel and positive engagement, while clutch take-up is superb, and the overall pedal arrangement ideal for applying the right-foot’s heel and toe simultaneously on the brake and throttle, a useful technique for modulating engine revs when braking into a corner.
Those pedals are aluminum with rubber grips, incidentally, and look great, Nissan even finishing the dead pedal in vertically striped brightwork. There’s more brushed and bright metal throughout the cabin, but the theme is more of a red on black affair, the Nismo getting crimson red thread highlighting most of its key visual points, not to mention a red centring stripe at the top of the leather and psuede steering wheel rim, red gauge accents and those fiery red ultra-suede seat inserts mentioned earlier.
Suede-like Alcantara trims off the door inserts and armrests too, not to mention the sides of the lower centre stack, the latter protecting inside knees from chafing, while the dash top and door uppers were nicely wrapped in a thickly padded stitched leatherette for a premium feel. Following that theme is red-stitched leatherette flowing around the gearshift lever, and no I’m not just talking about the boot. Nissan actually finishes the top of the lower console in what appears like leather, making the car feel more like a luxury-lined Maxima than anything so sporty.
Back to those lightweight Recaro sport seats, along with superb support all over, their backrests get a set shoulder harness holes that look fabulous. The driver’s seat is eight-way adjustable and the passenger’s just four, and true to its performance mission these aren’t power-adjustable, but instead require hand-wrenching via a set of dials in the usual positions. Once set they deliver the goods, but those with oddly shaped bodies (like mine that has longer legs than arms) might find the steering column’s lack of telescopic reach disconcerting. This forced me to twist my seatback rake farther forward than I would normally have liked off the track in order to maintain optimal control, but it was never uncomfortable, just not as comfortable as it could’ve been.
If merely offering tilt steering wasn’t already enough of a faux pas, the 370Z’s gauge cluster and infotainment touchscreen are throwbacks to a bygone era. The former is actually quite nice for any lover of classic sports cars, thanks to a lovely set of analogue dials that include a centre-mounted tach and a right-side speedo, plus a tiny little red liquid-crystal display for the odometer (yah, an LCD, just like anyone old enough will remember from their high school calculator or better yet, early ‘70s digital watch, while the circular binnacle on the left is filled with two bizarre rows of tiny red diodes that light up to show the fuel tank level and engine temperature. This hover above and below another red readout, but this time more of a heavily-pixelated monochromatic Minecraft encounter trying to double as multi-information display, albeit with less convincing graphics.
Comparatively the centre touchscreen is advanced tech, but don’t get too excited just yet. Features include navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and a number of car settings, but it’s displayed with yesteryear’s resolution quality, processing speed and graphic designs. My recommendation is to use its functions as required, because all work reasonably well, and then rest your eyes on the always wonderful row of ancillary oil pressure and voltmeter dials (plus a digital clock) just above (the upcoming Z Proto is showing off a boost gauge within its hooded threesome, hinting at the twin-turbo V6 ahead of the firewall).
Cargo space isn’t the 370Z’s forte, but you should be able to throw in a weekend’s worth of bags for two if you pack light. Forget the clubs, of course, and don’t even think about going camping, the sporty Nissan’s gear-toting capacity just 195 litres (6.9 cu ft).
Getting a new 370Z for less than $30k would be quite the bargain, or for that matter lopping a couple of grand off the price of this Nismo model, or one of the 2020 370Z 50th Anniversary editions if any are still available. None provide fresh styling or new-edge tech, but each one looks great, delivers superb performance and pampers with a reasonable level of refinement.