Nissan 370Z review
Striking Nissan 370Z coupe offers huge 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.
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.
From behind the wheel the Nissan 370Z is every bit as brawny as its looks suggest. The V6 delivers brutal acceleration and the manual gearshift and heavy steering require firm inputs to get the desired results. The manaul 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.
A pop-up bonnet, which deloys in the event of an accident, is designed to prevent injury to pedestrians and comes as standard. Electronic stability control and front, side and curtain airbags are also standard equipment. Nissan's reliability record is good and there have been no reported issues with the 370Z - the 350Z experienced no major recalls or widespread problems during its production run, so the signs are good.
Don't buy the 370Z expecting it to swallow huge amounts of luggage. Although it's bigger than its predecessor, the 350Z, there's still only 235-litres of space in the back. Nissan says it can accomodate two golf bags, if so it's going to be a tight squeeze. There's a slim space behind each seat too - enough to fit another small bag. It's worth remembering too that some rivals, like the Audi TT, offer four seats instead of two, even if they are only for very occasional use. The leather and Alcantara seats are supportive though and the sat-nav, audio and telephone controls are all easy to use and reliable. The steering wheel only adjusts for rake, not reach, which can make finding a good driving position difficult, but the dials move with the wheel to make sure you've always got a good view of the car's vital statistics.
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.