Nissan 370Z coupe
Price: £26,995 - £36,995
- Plenty of performance for not much cash
- Enjoyable to drive
- Lots of standard equipment
- Expensive to run
- Not as precise to drive as some rivals
- Lots of tyre noise at motorway speeds
"The Nissan 370Z is a well priced for a performance car, but its heavyweight controls and poor economy won’t be to everyone's tastes."
The rear-wheel-drive Nissan 370Z stands up to rivals like the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT with impressive performance for the price. It's powered by a 322bhp 3.7-litre V6, and manages 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds – so its performance comfortably matches its extrovert looks. A driving enthusiasts' car, the 370Z demands skill and commitment, yet it's not so brawny that it's a difficult or intimidating car to drive. It was recently updated with a 'GT' special edition that got a range of updates designed to make it more comfortable and refined, with revised suspension and more kit, and a Nismo version which added more power and sportier styling - though at a £10,000 premium over the standard model.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Don't expect the 370Z to be cheap to run
Any sports car with a 3.7-litre V6 engine is going to be expensive to run, and the 370Z's official fuel consumption figure of 26.9mpg underlines that. Insurance won’t be cheap either, and there are 9,000-mile service intervals; it's worth noting that the 370Z is not offered with a fixed price servicing deal from Nissan. Though it used to be similar to its rivals on running costs, cars like the new Audi TT 2.0-litre TFSI offer much better economy than the big-engined Nissan.
Interior & comfort
There’s plenty of noise from the big tyres and exhausts
The seats grip you tightly and offer lots of adjustment, but the 370Z's steering wheel only adjusts for rake and not reach, which makes finding a good position tricky, but at least the dials move with the steering wheel to ensure that they're always visible. There's plenty of road noise from the big tyres and some whine from the gearbox, too, but that's all part of the 370Z's aggressive charm. The GT Edition's added underfloor insulation means less tyre roar and wind noise, but it's still not the most relaxing car to drive, and the Nismo version is a little firmer at slow speeds than the standard model.
Practicality & boot space
There’s very little stowage space in the cabin
Practicality is not the 370Z's forte. There's very little stowage space - the bins behind the seats are difficult to access and aren’t very spacious. The boot is small - even by sports car standards - and access to it is limited. Nissan claims you can get two golf bags in the boot, but they’ll have to be small and you’ll need to be clever loading them. The 370Z also only has two seats, while rivals like Audi's TT offers four - even if they’re of limited use.
Reliability & safety
Nissan’s reliability record is good
The 370Z's interior is well made and feels luxurious, although it still lacks the depth of quality and design of the Audi TT or BMW Z4. However, over the shoulder visibility isn’t great, which means you need to be careful on slip roads and approaching junctions. Electronic stability control and front, side and curtain airbags are all standard equipment. There's even a clever pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians. Nissan's reliability record is good and there have been no reported issues with the 370Z.
Engines, drive & performance
Thrilling from the first push of the starter button
The 370Z feels thrilling from the first push of the starter button. The 3.7-litre V6 sounds fantastic, and the performance that accompanies it is never anything less than exhilarating. The low-slung driving position, precision of the six-speed manual gearbox and accurate steering make this an appealing driver's car - though not as much as some of its rivals. Downshifts of the manual can be brilliantly smooth thanks to Nissan's optional system that automatically matches the gear to the engine and road speed. The optional automatic gearbox works well and makes the 370Z easier to drive in traffic. The suspension is firm, which means roll-free cornering, but it can be uncomfortable on bumpy roads. The new GT Edition is more composed in corners thanks to a softer setup, but it's more expensive too - it's the same story with the Nismo version, where you'll barely notie the extra speed for the big extra cost.
Price, value for money & options
Cheaper than German rivals
Nissan's generous standard specification makes its German rivals look somewhat expensive. It's only a little faster than a 2.0-litre TFSI Audi TT, though, and the Audi is much cheaper to run. Even the standard 370Z gets fully automatic climate control, a Bluetooth telephone connection and Xenon headlamps. What's more, there's a fuss-free keyless start system and four-way powered seats. The GT pack adds heated leather seats, larger 19-inch alloy wheels, a Bose stereo system and cruise control with a speed limiter. The seven-speed automatic gearbox is an option. Though the 370Z offers a lot of engine for the money, it's definitely starting to look outpriced by its rivals these days.
What the others say
With a rumbling V6 engine, heavy manual gearchange and low-slung driving position it's very much in the mould of an old-fashioned two-seater performance coupe. But it's also incredibly sophisticated with a top quality cabin and advanced safety systems. There's even a Synchro Rev Control system that keeps the engine revs at their optimum between gear shifts, adding to the sports feel.
And that curvy body continues to delight every time I walk up to it in our car park. With wide rear haunches and gorgeous 19-inch alloys wrapped in fat tyres, it ticks all the right muscle car boxes. Combined with the fact that Zs are rare compared to Porsche Boxsters and BMW 3-Series Coupés, it's remarkably good at turning heads.
The 370Z is a performance car bargain. You would have to spend almost double to get close to its ability, and you probably wouldn’t have as much fun.
The instrument binnacle, an acceptable meld of analogue and digital dials, moves with the helm, but there's no steering reach adjustment. None the less, fiddly electric seat-adjustment switches sandwiched awkwardly between seat and transmission tunnel offer a respectable driving position marred only by a seat back that's too narrow for true comfort.
Last updated: 20 Dec 2013