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Nissan 370Z Gets to the Heart of the Matter: Fun

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SEE ALSO: Nissan Buyers Guide

According to James Healey at USA Today, a casual glance might not say so, but Nissan did a major overhaul on its Z sports car — first on the 370Z coupe about a year ago as a 2009 model and lately the convertible version that went on sale last fall as a 2010 model.

The redesigned Nissan 370Z convertible is about four inches shorter and 1.5 inches wider than its predecessor for a beefier, more stable stance. It amounts to the first full redo of the Z since it was launched as a 2003 model.

Metal panels replace some plastic panels, allowing tighter fit and "higher perceived quality," says Larry Dominique, vice president in charge of product planning for Nissan North America. The new Z sits on a shorter wheelbase. It has a bigger engine that offers more power while using less fuel. And — big change — it looks very good as a convertible.

The test car, a well-furnished top-end Touring model, was $45,265. You could get into the base model for less than $38,000, if you don't need gizmos and will accept (or prefer) a six-speed manual instead of the seven-speed automatic.