From behind the wheel of the all-new '09370Z coupe, the world looks like a cold, dark place.
That might sound like a criticism, but it's not. Motoring enthusiasts like their sports cars sparse, mechanical and purpose-built to facilitate conveyance of power from rubber to road.
The new 370Z does it better than any of this year's other fresh entries, such as theMustang and Dodge Challenger.
For that, it snags the 2009 Interior of the Year award in the Sports Car category.
Black is the dominant color inside, and only customers spending more for up-level trim get splashes of light, such as the gray leather seats and matching synthetic suede door panels.
The roadster version of the new Z car, designated as a '10 model, arrives later this summer and will offer deep burgundy wine-shaded leather appointed seats.
But don't let those offerings fool you. There is nothing frilly about the 370Z interior. The metallic accents framing the instrument cluster convey the mechanical tension of an engine block being machined. And the dominant, central placement of the tachometer, with a smaller speedometer offset to the right, leaves no question about the coupe's intent.
The orange lighting of the instrument panel, particularly at night, lend to the incendiary nature of the driver interface.
In a tribute to the original Datsun 240Z from the 1960s, the new Z car features the distinctive “3-bay” gauge pod positioned above the center stack, canted toward the driver for better visibility.
Each circular gauge in this old-school setup (oil pressure, voltage regulator and clock) gets a brow to reduce glare.
The perforated leather seats are comfortable, punctuated with ample hip and shoulder bolsters to keep the driver in position during aggressive maneuvers.
At $36,865, the 332-hp 370Z Touring coupe is a great value, and the purposeful cabin urges the driver to bypass the traction control and hit the track.
Illuminated brushed aluminum kickplates, emblazoned with an italic “Z,” cost an extra $200 and are worth every penny. Frilly? No. Cool? Absolutely.