You sexy thing

You sexy thing

Being practical is not what the Nissan 370Z was designed for. It excites every pleasure nerve, going straight to the heart, not the head, as Philip Hesketh finds out.

Y6mots main2Most couples I know need three cars. They may only have one or two, but really need three. There’s the large, practical, vehicle that can carry golf clubs, dogs and suitcases and cruise up and down the motorway to ferry us to our work or leisure, then the small, nippy, “easy to park” car to get in and out of town easily and then there’s the one you want.

The “nice” car, two heads and one heart. The Nissan 370Z is a heart car. When I saw it come down the drive it was all I could do not to run alongside barking. People stare at you as you park.

Men of all ages look longingly at it like it as though they had seen Marilyn Monroe in a vision – at her pouting best. I’d describe the drive as “muscular”; not that it’s heavy work, anything but. It’s like taking a keen, young butcher’s dog for a walk; you feel like it wants to be let off the leash.

I didn’t reach the claimed 62mph in 5.3 seconds, but I don’t doubt it could. The sound from the very first push of the starter button sounds wonderful and the low-slung driving position lets you know that this is a far cry from the sofa on wheels my Lexus 430 is.

Whenever you are testing a car your reference point is your current one and everything is relative. The 430 is the flagship car for Lexus and has all the gadgetry you could wish for, but the Nissan pushes it all the way on spec and has those wonderful “paddle-shifters” to allow you to change gear.

The suspension is firm, which means roll-free cornering but you do know when you’re on one of Harrogate’s bumpy roads caused by last January’s snow.

So, given that most couples compromise and have one or two cars rather than three, how practical is it? Well, if you’re buying this car, practicality is not high on your agenda.

You could get golf clubs in the boot but you’d have to be driving to the course on your own. This is a heart car, not a head car. Practicality is not the 370Z’s forte and it doesn’t claim to be that. It’s a sexy beast; that’s what it is.

Part of a recent study in the US by Professor Antonio Rangel from the California Institute of Technology asked people to sample five different varieties of wine, informing them of the price of each as they tasted it.

However, in reality, they only sampled three wines because two were offered twice.

The first wine they were told came from a bottle costing $5.

Later, this very same wine was offered to them but this time they were told it cost $45.

Similarly, they were given a more expensive wine to taste – $90 a bottle – and then later, offered the same wine but told it cost only $10.

Finally, they were offered one sample of wine which was correctly priced at $35 a bottle.

(I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling thirsty.) You can probably guess the outcome.

Not only did the subjects rate identical wines as tasting better when told they were pricier, but brain scans showed greater activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex – known to be related to the experience of pleasure.

In other words, they genuinely experienced greater pleasure from an identical object when they thought it cost more.

And when the team designed the Nissan 370Z they pretty much guaranteed that the activity in your medial orbitofrontal cortex would jump about like a nudist frying sausages.

So when you slink down into those seats you expect to experience a great drive and you do. It’s nice. Make your own mind up.

Philip Hesketh is a professional speaker on the psychology of persuasion and influence. His book How To Be More Persuasive And Influential is an Amazon best-seller. Philip Hesketh: Car supplied by Mill Garages Nissan, Knaresborough, 01423 863614. Priced from £25,995.