On March 7, Nissan Canada invited Auto123.com to come and try out the fantastical Nissan 370Zki, a snowmobile coupe ready to explore all-winter terrain using its front skis and rear tracks in place of the performance tires we’re used to seeing on this iconic sports model. The winter tamer had first been unveiled a few weeks earlier at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
We headed to Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec to discover it up close and put it through its paces. We got a bonus once we arrived, though: also waiting for us was a Rogue Warrior, sitting on four tracks. It was a great day of outdoor motorized fun, one that took us all out of our comfort zone and on to snow-covered terrain. It also gave us fresh insight into the performance capabilities of Nissan’s vehicles.
Speaking with the friendly representatives on hand to welcome us, we learned of the many challenges presented by the project. We also learned that, contrary to what many of us had assumed, neither vehicle saw its transmission or mechanics altered. In the 370, much attention – and no little effort - was given over to devising a customized height-raising system to elevate the vehicle by three inches, so that the tracks could be installed. The rear wheel arches were also enlarged for the same reason. The original brakes were retained, with only some minor displacement of components and configuration changes. In short, what we drove was a genuine Roadster 370Z mounted like a snowmobile – an innovative concept, to be sure!
We asked whether 370Z owners could modify their own vehicles similarly. We were told that it was, in fact, possible. But at what cost? From what I gathered, taking your 370Z and putting skis and tracks on it would likely set you back somewhere north of $30,000. And of course, there would be the personalized maintenance costs that come with it. All of that is largely academic, as Nissan’s goal with this exercise was clearly not to launch a new kit for transforming your sports car into a recreational vehicle! The real aim of this day frolicking in the snow was to satisfy the urge to create something different, all while putting on bright display the capabilities of the Nissan vehicles involved.
As for the Rogue Warrior, a creation conceived and put together entirely in Canada, the manufacturer was obviously intent on showcasing the capabilities of the model’s original CVT transmission and all-wheel drive system. At an event earlier this year, Nissan sent the modified Warrior up a 30-degree slope at a Quebec ski hill – a challenge it met with ease! The Warrior can also plow through up to 40 cm of fresh snow.
On this fantastic winter day, we were in for some pretty sensational driving thrills. We drove the Rogue Warrior on superb trails deep in the woods (though I found myself pining for some less well-maintained ones).
Check out our video below, filmed on site as we piloted the Nissan 370Zki and the Rogue Warrior!