This is the truest version of the 370Z; the base car with the Sport Package ($3000), adding limited slip, 19” Rays Wheels, front and rear spoilers, and larger front brakes. Along with this comes a $580 add on for the matching Nismo brake pads. The finely tuned 3.7L engine makes 332 hp and launches the Z down the road with one of the best sounds from a V6 engine, powerful and smooth. Acceleration is pretty fierce and the amount of grip with the 275’s out back is serious. We turned off the traction control and the Z felt planted in the twisties, with plenty of torque to pull it up the most aggressive mountain roads with ease.
We mentioned that the 370Z has a shorter wheelbase than the 350Z, resulting is a faster turning car, but with that you get more jounce in the ride, especially over rough surfaces. Luckily, Nissan did a great job tuning the non-sport mode suspension to be fairly compliant, saving our brains on long freeway drives.
The Z’s manual transmission is probably the weak point of the whole car, not the ratios but the long throws of the shifter and clutch. This becomes most apparent when trying to go fast. We loved the sport mode, which stiffened the suspension, created more top end power from the motor, and activated the SynchroRev Match®, but this still didn’t address the throws of the transmission. We would suggest a dual clutch semi automatic transmission similar to the GTR, as that will shift faster than 99% of the humans out there. The wheels and tires were great, but Nissan could probably widen them another inch and still clear the fenders.
Nissan is at a point where the 370Z is getting eerily close to the flagship GTR in performance and looks. In fact, the 370Z tends to be more noticeable due to its aggressive fenders, beautiful wheels, and low stance. If they added 90 hp to the motor and AWD, it would be an R8 or Gallardo contender for less than $45k. Nissan has the platform, but a 370Z set up this way might obviate the need to produce the Skyline, or at least to carry it in this country. Sorry GTR fans, but 600 lbs is 600 lbs.
Comfort and Convenience
Just like the exterior, the interior is all business; no navigation, no XM radio, no power seats, not even leather; all of this kept our test car below a 3300 pound curb weight. Just a simple black interior with gray accents, along with tasteful brushed aluminum weaved into the scheme. The gauges are a combination of analog and digital, and strike a balance that makes immediate sense to the uninitiated, with the center dash being the traditional clock, oil temp and volt meter. Interior fit and finish is very good and up to the level of Nissan’s best. Materials and appearance are great; they didn’t try to get all fancy, so everything looks like it belongs.
Although the seating is low and comfortable, the Z could accommodate more drivers with a telescoping wheel, manually adjustable seat bolsters and a lumbar support. Most of our test drivers liked the eight way manually adjustable driver’s seat once they spent a little time making those adjustments. Owners of the 370Z learn to travel light. There is a tray (to place a small bag) and a compartment behind each seat, which expands storage beyond the rear area under the hatchback. There is only one cup holder, two bottle holders in the door panels, and no sunglass compartment at ceiling level; again all business.