This is too easy: Just an index finger fixed on the dashboard switch is all it takes to whisk away the roof structure on Nissan’s sports car, the racy 350Z.
To make the convertible conversion, a Z-car driver must first step on the brake pedal as a safety precaution, then flick a lid latch, located at the center of the windshield header. That latch releases three separate locks used to fit the lid snugly against the top of the windshield.
Now hit the dashboard switch, set to the left of the steering column, which sends a wake-up signal to the electro-hydraulic mechanism that motivates the lid.
In only 20 seconds, the top — composed of cloth and fitted with a glass rear window with embedded heat element — flips rearward and stows beneath a lightweight tonneau cover in a slick disappearing act.
And feast on what these mechanical gyrations reveal: A daring design for a sleek but edgy open-top sports car with the cockpit configured only for two and serious hardware concealed behind all of those muscular sheetmetal bulges.
Nissan labels this new sports car as simply the 350Z Roadster, as it offers an al fresco option to the wildly successful hardtop coupe rendition.
Essential hardware including powertrain and suspension carry over from the 350Z coupe, although the pop-top version gains some additional structural elements to ensure a rigid and stiff platform in the absence of the unifying support of a hardtop’s roof.