Review

Nissan 370Z coupe

Nissan 370Z coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Plenty of performance for not much cash
Cons
  • Expensive to run
  • Not a great long-distance car
  • Performance isn’t as strong as figures suggest

"The Nissan 370Z is well priced for a performance car, but its heavy controls and poor economy won’t be to everyone’s taste."

The rear-wheel-drive Nissan 370Z stands up to rivals like the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT, offering impressive performance for the price. It's powered by a 322bhp 3.7-litre V6 enigne and manages 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds, so its speed comfortably matches its extroverted looks. A driving enthusiast's car, the 370Z demands skill and commitment, yet it's not so brawny that it's difficult or intimidating to drive. The range was recently updated with a GT special edition, which was designed to be more comfortable and refined, with revised suspension and additional equipment. There's also a Nismo version with more power and sportier styling, although it costs a hefty £10,000 more than the standard model.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.5 / 5

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 the car has a 9,000-mile service. It's worth noting, however, that the 370Z is not offered with a fixed-price servicing deal from Nissan. Although the 370Z used to be competitive in this area, cars like the new Audi TT 2.0-litre TFSI offer much better fuel economy and emissions.

Engines, drive & performance

3.2 / 5

Thrilling from the first push of the starter button

The 370Z has a low-slung driving position, a precise six-speed manual gearbox and accurate steering to make it feel like a driver’s car – but it's not as good as some of its rivals, as the engine doesn't quite have the character you'd expect from a 3.7-litre V6.

Downshifting with the manual gearbox can be brilliantly smooth thanks to an optional system that automatically matches engine speed with road speed, while the optional automatic transmission makes the 370Z easier to drive in traffic, however the engine has to be revved pretty hard to get the sort of performance you'd expect.

The suspension is firm, which cuts down on body lean in corners, yet it can be uncomfortable on bumpy roads. The new GT Edition is more composed thanks to its softer setup, but it's more expensive, too.

The 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. Despite the 339bhp quoted figure, the engine doesn't feel or sound that powerful, mainly because you have to work it relatively hard to get a good response. That also means it's easy to find yourself in the wrong gear, so progress never really feels effortless.

Interior & comfort

3 / 5

There’s lots 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, not reach, which makes finding a good driving position tricky. 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 insulation means less tyre roar and wind noise, but it's still not the most relaxing car to drive, and the Nismo version feels a little firmer than the standard model at slow speeds.

Practicality & boot space

2.3 / 5

There’s very little storage space in the cabin

Practicality is not the 370Z’s forte. There’s very little storage – the bins behind the seats are difficult to access and aren’t very spacious. At 235 litres, the boot is small even by sports-car standards, and it can be difficult to access. Nissan claims you can get two golf bags in there, but they’ll have to be small and you’ll need to be clever about how you load them. Also, the 370Z only has two seats – rivals like the Audi TT have four, even if they’re of limited use. 

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

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 flair you get in 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. Nissan’s reliability record is good and there have been no reported issues with the 370Z.

Price, value for money & options

2.5 / 5

Cheaper than German rivals

The Nissan 370Z's generous standard specification makes its German rivals look expensive. Even the standard 370Z has fully automatic climate control, a Bluetooth telephone connection, bright xenon headlamps, a keyless start system and electrically adjustable seats. It's only a little faster than an Audi TT 2.0-litre TFSI, though, and the Audi will be much cheaper to run. 

The GT pack adds heated leather seats, larger 19-inch alloy wheels, a Bose stereo and cruise control with a speed limiter. The seven-speed automatic gearbox is an option.

What the others say

4.3 / 5
based on 2 reviews
4.5 / 5
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.
16 / 20
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

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