Nissan 370Z review
Striking Nissan 370Z coupe offers good performance but can be uncompromising for daily use
If you're looking for maximum bhp for your buck, then the Nissan 370Z Coupe could be the answer. With a 322bhp 3.7-litre V6 under the bonnet, it outguns rivals like the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT, and undercuts them on price. It delivers lively rear-wheel-drive handling, and its muscular stying will certainly turn heads, but all this doesn't come without compromise. Fuel consumption and insurance costs are high, while refinement is low on the 370Z's agenda.
For buyers that crave that little bit more, Nissan has just updated the flagship 370Z NISMO for 2015. Power from the 3.7-litre V6 is upped to 339bhp, an aerodynamic bodykit, 19-inch alloy wheels and a sports exhaust have all been bolted on, too. It demands a £10,000 premium over the standard 370Z but customers appear to think it’s a rather good deal as almost 50 per cent of sales are performance-focused NISMO models.
Our choice: 370Z GT Edition
The 370Z is very much a traditional high-performance two-seater sports car, with a cabin set well back and a long bonnet to house the V6 engine. Bulging bodywork and 19-inch alloys don't hide the fact that this car is designed to go fast, while neat design touches like the boomerang front and rear lights really set it apart. Drop down into the low-slung seats and you'll discover a cabin that's attractive and original, but lacks the depth of quality of an Audi TT or BMW Z4.
For the NISMO variant a bolder bodykit, sports exhaust and tidy red detailing mark it out from the standard model. Recaro sports seats and a suede trimmed steering wheel also feature inside.
From behind the wheel the Nissan 370Z is every bit as brawny as its looks suggest. The V6 delivers good acceleration and the manual gearshift and heavy steering require firm inputs to get the desired results. The manual box features Syncro Rev technology which automatically matches engine rpm to the gear on down shifts. An excellent automatic gearbox is also available as an option. Although loud, the V6 engine could sound more tuneful and road and wind noise is intrusive - although the GT Edition with softer suspension and more sound insulation addresses this.
Fork out the extra cash for the 370Z NISMO and it doesn't feel like you're driving £10,000 worth of extra sports coupe. The steering is weighty and gearchange crisp but a Porsche Cayman costs only a fraction more and is a far more involving and flattering sports car.
Nissan and its dealers ranked higher than Peugeot in our Driver Power 2013 survey. The brand has a strong reliability record and the 370Z’s V6 engine is well proven. Safety kit includes a standard pop-up bonnet, which deploys in the event of an accident to reduce injury to pedestrians. The Nissan also comes with six airbags and active headrests. And, like other models in the company’s range, it has three years or 60,000 miles of manufacturer warranty cover.
While it’s been designed to swallow two golf bags, the 370Z’s shallow boot isn’t that practical and has an awkward shape. Serious wheelarch intrusion means there’s only 235 litres of space in the back. And while there’s some room behind each seat, don’t expect to fit lots of luggage in the Nissan. Cabin stowage is okay, with a decent glovebox, centre cubby and two cup-holders, but the Nissan is a strict two-seater.
Space is tight for the driver, too. The steering wheel only adjusts for height, not reach, which can make finding a good driving position difficult. Rear visibility is limited, although you do get a reversing camera. However, there’s no full-size spare wheel.
Owning a 322bhp coupe is never going to be cheap, but with a purchase price that's around £17,000 less than the equivalent Porsche Cayman, the 370Z gets off to a good start. Official fuel consumption is 26.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 248g/km for the manual, and a slightly improved 26.9mpg and 245g/km for the auto. In the rear world though you're unlikely to match these figures. Insurance won't be cheap either and there are relatively-short 9,000-mile service intervals. Equipment count is generous - even the standard model gets fully automatic climate control, a Bluetooth telephone connection and Xenon headlamps.