Nissan 370Z Roadster review

Our Rating: 
3
3.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Despite the soft top, the Nissan 370Z Roadster delivers the same raw driving experience as Coupe

For: 
Searing pace, low price tag, muscular looks
Against: 
High running costs, coarse exhaust note, small boot

Fold the roof back and the Nissan 370Z Roadster has the feel of a traditional, uncomplicated sports car. It shares the same 322bhp 3.7-litre V6 engine as the Coupe, steers just as well and accelerates just as hard. It's well priced too, undercutting rivals like the Porsche Boxster S and BMW Z4, while offering even more performance. There are drawbacks though - it's not cheap to run and can be noisy and uncompromising when it comes to covering long distances.

Our choice: Nissan 370Z Roadster GT auto

Styling

4.2

Prepare to draw attention to yourself in this car - the muscular and agressive styling is not for the faint-hearted. The Roadster can look a little ungainly with the canvas roof in place, but peel it back and it shows of its bulging haunches even better than the Coupe. Features like the boomerang front and rear lights and the indicators integrated into the Z badges are nice touches, although the visible aerial on the rear deck is unecessary. The interior is carried over untouched from the coupe, and that means it blends quality materials with a well thought out design. Delve a little deeper though and it lacks the depth of quality found in the BMW Z4 or Porsche Boxster. Splashes of leather and Alcantara help to create a premium feel though and there's loads of kit fitted as standard, but the 370Z can't hide the fact that it's a cheaper product than its direct rivals.

Driving

4.3

A 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds put the 370Z in some illustrious company and it feels every bit as quick as that from behind the wheel. Just like the Coupe, driving the Roadster is a physical experience thanks to the heavy steering and firm manual gearshift. The suspension on pre-2011 cars can be a little harsh, but changes to the springs and dampers as well as extra sound insulation have improved comfort and refinement without changing the car's fundamental character. We'd recommend the seven-speed automatic gearbox too, for an extra £1,200. An extra ratio makes it quieter on the motorway, it's almost as quick as the manual and it's cleaner, too. It's a shame that with the roof stowed, the coarse exhaust note can't match the performance.

Reliability

4.3

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 Roadster - the 350Z Roadster experienced no major recalls or widespread problems during its production run, so the signs are good.

Practicality

2.2

Unlike the majority of its rivals, which can operate up to speeds of 30mph, you have to be stationary to remove the 370Z's hood, which can become tiresome. Once folded the roof doesn't encroach on the fixed boot space, but it does mean the loading area is limited to just 140-litres, barely enough for a single golf bag. The cabin is just as spacious as the Coupe though, and the front seats are easily adjusted thanks to four-way electric controls, but the steering column adjusts for height only.

Running Costs

2.3

To put the Roadster's incredible price tag into perspective, the Porsche Boxster S costs over £10,000 more. Unfortunately though the ownership experience won't be quite as cheap. Claimed fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 25.2mpg and 262g/km (25.9mpg and 254g/km for the auto) are optimistic and despite having a large 72-litre fuel tank don't expect to travel more than 300-miles between fill-ups. Insurance costs and service intervals of 9,000-miles won't be cheap either.

Last updated: 5 May, 2012
AEX 1,341
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