Nissan 370Z roadster
Price: £36,495 - £37,945
- Amazing sound with the roof down
- Fun and fast
- Lots of equipment
- Expensive to run
- Not quite as fun to drive as rivals
- More noisy than the coupe
"The beefy Nissan 370Z Roadster offers all the fun of the coupe but adds the thrill of the wind in your hair. It's noisy with the roof up though."
Adding a retractable canvas top boosts the appeal of the powerful, Nissan 370Z sports car. Power comes from a 322bhp 3.7-litre V6, and the 370Z sprints from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds – so performance comfortably matches its extrovert looks. On winding roads the open cabin allows you to enjoy the V6 engine's exhaust note even more. Nissan's engineers have worked hard to ensure the body retains its rigidity on bumpy roads, and that means it feels just as responsive to drive as the coupe.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Insurance won’t be cheap, and there are frequent 9,000 mile service intervals
Anything with a 3.7-litre V6 engine is going to be expensive to run, and the 370Z Roadster's official fuel consumption figure of 25.2mpg underlines that. Insurance won’t be cheap either, while servicing every 9,000 miles could see big bills rack up over time. To make matters worse, the 370Z is not offered with a fixed-price servicing deal from Nissan.
Interior & comfort
With the roof down the cabin gets quite windy
Wind in the hair thrills are what the 370Z is all about. Yet even with the fabric roof up, there's more wind, road and engine noise inside than you'd find in the coupe, which can be tiresome on longer journeys. And with the roof down it gets quite draughty. The seats are easily adjusted thanks to four-way electric controls, but the steering column adjusts for height only. The suspension is firm, too, and on rough roads the car can feel uncomfortable. It's not all bad news, though, as the optional Synchro Rev Match system fitted to the manual gearbox automatically blips the throttle on downshifts to smooth progress and emit a lovely grumble from the exhausts.
Practicality & boot space
The boot isn’t huge and it's an awkward shape, too
Roadsters are usually even less practical than the coupes they are based on, but the 370 Roadster doesn’t suffer much of a penalty over the coupe version. That said, the boot isn’t huge or the most useful shape, and it's difficult to access – requiring you to lift luggage up and over a lot of bodywork before dropping into the shallow boot. Only two seats and a lack of storage inside make it pretty impractical, too. However, convertible buyers are unlikely to mind and the 370Z Roadster isn’t any worse than its rivals. The touch-screen sat-nav works well, but roof down in the sun it's almost impossible to read and the screen is soon covered in fingerprints from greasy hands.
Reliability & safety
Nissan's cars are always really reliable
The 370Z's interior is well made, but it lacks the depth of quality of the Audi TT Roadster or BMW Z4 convertible. Electronic stability control, front, side and curtain airbags and anti-whiplash seats are also all standard equipment. Nissan's reliability record is good, and there have been no reported recall notices from VOSA.
Engines, drive & performance
The engine makes a fantastic sound at low revs
This Nissan 370Z works particularly well with the optional seven-speed automatic gearbox. This offers steering wheel-mounted shift levers, and removes the heavy clutch and gearshift of the six-speed manual. The engine makes a fantastic sound at low to medium revs, but it gets a bit unruly at higher speeds. The steering is accurate the brakes are strong, and there's plenty of grip on offer for those who like to tackle corners at speed. That said, it doesn't have any of the refinement found in an Audi TT, and is no where near as comfortable over long distances.
Price, value for money & options
Spec makes German rivals look expensive but quality isn't as impressive
On a performance-to-cost ratio, there's little to touch the 370Z. Nissan's generous standard specification makes its German rivals look particularly expensive, but it does lose out to them in term of interior finish and quality. That said, the 370Z gets automatic climate control, a Bluetooth telephone connection, Xenon headlamps, plus keyless start and four-way powered seats as standard, while 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.
What the others say
Looking at the aggressively styled 370Z from the outside you could be forgiven for thinking that what lurked within was an HD tech-fest in-line with Nissan's other sports car, the fearsomely quick GT-R.
The 370Z drop top is almost a blast from the past: it's like a good old-fashioned sports car built to put a smile on your face and the wind in your hair. You couldn't call it agricultural though. It features a range of sophisticated and advanced safety systems and the Synchro Rev Control system that keeps the engine revs at their optimum between gear shifts - a sort of automatic heel-and-toe - is particularly effective.
The style reflects the car's tough, unfrilly personality to a tee. Although the 370Z Roadster can be specced with all kinds of gizmos – target customers are said to be ‘technically savvy’ and appreciative of things like in-seat ventilation and Bluetooth streaming – it's the job of Nissan's prestige brand Infiniti to project the company's smooth and sophisticated side, leaving the 370 to fill the unfettered sporting role in fine two-fisted style.
Last updated: 7 Nov 2013