Nissan 370Z coupe
Price £27,860 - £38,050
- Enjoyable to drive
- Lots of standard equipment
- Plenty of performance for not much cash
- Expensive to run
- Not a great long-distance car
- Performance isn’t as strong as figures suggest
At a glance
“The Nissan 370Z is a well priced performance car, but its heavy controls and poor fuel economy won’t suit everyone."
On the face of it, the Nissan 370Z is a low-slung, two-door coupe with a powerful engine that stands toe-to-toe with the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT. In reality, it's more of a brawny muscle car than either, so it has a very different appeal. Under the long bonnet sits a 322bhp, 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine, capable of catapulting the sports car from 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds – and that's just the standard version.
The faster Nissan 370Z Nismo ups the power to 339bhp and cuts a tenth of a second from the 0-62mph time. With additional bodystyling and a tweaked suspension setup, it's just that little bit more single-minded as a performance car. And so it should be, with a £10,000 price hike over the basic model. There's also a 370Z GT model, which has a range of extra kit, such as a Bose stereo.
On the road, the 370Z demands your attention, skill and commitment, but will reward all three with huge performance and the kind of handling that leaves you exhilarated at your destination. But at normal speeds, it's not a particularly tricky or intimidating car to drive.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Don't expect the 370Z to be cheap to run
No car with an engine of this size will be cheap to run and so it transpires here. The big 3.7-litre will return just 26mpg if you’re careful with the accelerator and gears. The automatic version is fractionally more fuel-efficient, but the margin is so small, you’d never really notice. It’s the same story when it comes to CO2 emissions. Here, the outputs of 248 and 245g/km for manual and automatic respectively result in wallet-wilting £490-a-year road tax. If you’re looking for the 370Z’s level of performance, but have an eye on running costs, a BMW Z4 or Porsche Cayman are better, albeit more expensive to buy, choices.
Engines, drive & performance
Thrilling from the first push of the starter button
The Nissan 370Z feels every inch the hairy-chested muscle car, offering a visceral experience closer to a Ford Mustang V8 than an Audi TT. It’s sharper than the Mustang, though, with a precise six-speed manual gearbox positioned perfectly in the low-slung interior. Manual models have a feature that blips the accelerator when you change down gears to better match engine and road speed. Some people will love this, but others may find it a little too showy, especially when driving around town.
The engine isn’t the high point you might expect. It’s plenty powerful, but doesn’t have as much character as we’d like and you need to work it quite hard to get the best from it.
The suspension is firm, which cuts down on body lean in corners, yet it can be uncomfortable on bumpy roads. At least the GT version offers active noise cancellation, which reduces the din created by the 370Z’s engine, exhaust and wide tyres on a long motorway journey.
The 339bhp Nismo version has a bit more power, but you'll barely notice it in everyday driving and it costs significantly more than the standard car. On a race track, you’ll notice the extra sharpness of the improved suspension, but you don’t really get the benefit on normal roads.
Interior & comfort
Lots of noise from the big tyres and exhausts
Once you’ve dropped into the Nissan’s seats, they’re very comfortable and grip you tight. The steering wheel only adjusts up and down, not in and out, meaning you might struggle to find a really comfortable position. At least the dials move with the steering column, so they’re never hidden behind the wheel.
The car’s huge tyres kick up lots of noise at speed, and there’s a whine from the gearbox that can be heard over the rorty engine note, but owners say that’s all part of the 370Z’s charm.
The design of the interior lacks the upmarket feel you’ll find in an Audi TT, but the controls are sensibly placed, although the positioning of the cup-holder means it’ll spend more time containing your left elbow than a jumbo latte.
Practicality & boot space
There’s very little storage space in the cabin
Unlike the Audi TT and Ford Mustang, the Nissan 370Z is a strictly two-seat affair. Interior storage is limited to a couple of hard-to-access bins behind the seats, small door pockets and a poorly sited cup-holder. The 235-litre boot is small even by sports-car standards and with a high boot lip, it’s not easy to load heavy luggage – and you’ll need to take care to avoid burning your chin on the exhausts. Even so, Nissan says you can carry a couple of golf bags – but you may need some creative packing to do so.
Reliability & safety
370Z feels well built despite Nissan’s disapointing reliability record
Because the 370Z feels very mechanical in most of its operations, it gives you confidence in its build quality. The car hasn’t sold in big enough numbers to feature in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but in 2015 Nissan as a brand languished in 28th place out of 33 carmakers featured. That’s a poor performance from a marque that often trades on its reliability.
The 370Z’s interior is well made and feels rather special, although it still lacks the depth of quality and design flair you get in an Audi TT or BMW Z4. Over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t great, either, so you need to be careful on slip roads and approaching junctions.
Electronic stability control and front, side and curtain airbags are all standard. There's even a clever pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians.
Price, value for money & options
Cheaper than the Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Porsche Cayman
When it comes to performance for your pound, the Nissan 370Z is hard to beat. The standard 370Z and 370Z GT are priced close to far slower Audi TT and BMW Z4 models and the gulf only widens further when you consider the amount of equipment you get.
Even the basic model comes with automatic wipers, 18-inch alloy wheels, climate control, bright bi-xenon headlights with pop-up washers and a keyless start system. For £5,000 more, the GT version enjoys 19-inch RAYS alloy wheels, power-adjustable heated leather/suede seats, cruise control, a Bose stereo upgrade and a hard-drive-based sat-nav system with Bluetooth and a seven-inch touchscreen.
For an additional £5,000, the 370Z Nismo adds engine upgrades, lightweight alloy wheels, Recaro sports seats, a leather and Alcantara steering wheel and a sports trip computer.