"The Nissan 370Z is a performance bargain, but its heavyweight controls won’t be to everyone's tastes."
The rear-wheel-drive Nissan 370Z outguns 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. 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.
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. Downshifts of the manual can be brilliantly smooth thanks to Nissan's optional Synchro Rev Match system – which blips the throttle automatically to match 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.
The seats grip you tightly and offer lots of adjustment, but the 370Z's steering wheel only adjusts for rake and not reach – 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.
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. Nissan's reliability record is good and there have been no reported issues with the 370Z.
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.
Value for money
Few cars match the 370Z for value. Add Nissan's generous standard specification and it makes its German rivals look particularly expensive. 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, Nissan's clever rev-match technology, a Bose stereo system and cruise control with a speed limiter. The seven-speed automatic is an option.
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. That's not unusual for cars like the 370Z, while running costs are comparable to its rivals'.