It’s not a question of if the 370Z is getting old but how old, even if this rear-wheel drive sports car feels its age inside more than it does out.
Somehow, after almost ten years on the market in a relatively niche space, Nissan’s current generation of the Z-car doesn’t quite look as old as it really is – at least until you open the door.
But getting over that hurdle is a price drop and light refresh to help it eke out its rest of days.
Vehicle Style: Sports roadster
Price: $63,490 (plus on-road costs)
Engine/trans: 245kW/363Nm 3.7-litre 6cyl petrol | seven-speed automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 10.6 l/100km | Tested: 11.9 l/100km
Nissan’s coupe and roadster siblings have received a light refresh for 2018 with the biggest change being a substantial $4940 drop in price, or $5440 for the seven-speed automatic here on test.
Standard equipment includes electric adjustable and heated seats, 7.0-inch infotainment with Bluetooth connectivity and sat nav, reverse camera, 8-speaker Bose audio system and keyless entry and start.
The driveline remains unchanged, powered by the same trusty old naturally-aspirated 3.7-litre V6 producing 245kW and 363Nm. If you want more grunt look at the Nismo edition, which fills the higher price gap and boosts both outputs.
But otherwise the front is familiar and the rear gets a new black diffuser with pinched taillights flanking either side. Other additions are different 19-inch alloy wheels and new Cherry Red colour which adds a bit of zest to the black-topped roadster.
The combination is also striking enough that the Zed still gets a few looks cruising on the street.
THE INTERIOR | RATING: 2.5/5
- Standard Equipment: Multi-function trip computer, dual-zone climate control, power windows and mirrors, leather/suede steering wheel, leather-trimmed seats, keyless auto-entry with push-button start, cruise control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and auto on/off wipers and xenon headlights.
- Infotainment: 7.0-inch colour touchscreen with USB and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, 9.3Gb hard drive, satellite navigation and Bose eight-speaker audio system with twin subwoofers.
- Options Fitted: None.
- Cargo Volume: 235 litres.
Despite its best efforts to add creature comforts over time like heated and cooled seats and a good-sounding but poorly-executed infotainment system, the 370Z is not so appealing inside. All rivals have it covered for panache, though there are some cool touches that remind us of the car’s lineage like the three-set gauges on top of the dash and behind the steering wheel.
The seats are comfortable too, but the seating position is compromised for tall drivers by the folding roof mechanism behind them and even at the back most setting there’s no steering wheel reach adjustment.
The steering wheel feels nice in the hands though, and the paddle shifters for taking over the gear selection has a solid thunk, so the driver and car connection is good when engaged.
But elsewhere is a button orgy on bland plastics that reminds us how sophisticated integrated car controls and infotainment technology has come. The connectivity is also patchy, with the latest iPhone able to hook up for making calls but not playing music through the complicated 7.0-inch display system.
The roadster’s important feature though – the folding roof – opens and closes efficiently enough and even at slow speeds, handy if it begins to sprinkle when on the move. It also does well to remove some of the exterior noise which can be challenging for fabric lids.
The boot is small as expected in this segment but enough for a weekend away or carting groceries.
ON THE ROAD | RATING: 3.5/5
- Engine: 245kW/363Nm 3.7 V6 petrol
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic, RWD
- Suspension: Independent front and rear
- Brakes: Ventilated front and rear disc brakes
- Steering: Hydraulically assisted mechanical steering
Rear-wheel driven by a big V6 with 363Nm of torque, this sports car reads like fun on paper and it is, despite being a portly 1618kg that’s 136kg heavier than the coupe.
The motor doesn’t propel with the low-end urgency of newer engines but high in the rev range it rewards with an engaging drive. There’s also a bit of groan from the exhaust when planting the right foot, though the slack electronic stability control will catch an suspecting driver in the wet, and there’s enough torque to slip the rear in the dry if you need it. But the chassis tends to be loose enough when pushing while keeping within the realms of the law.
However, it’s on clean, winding roads that the 370Z still shines with crisp handling and constrained body roll that doesn’t feel helped by rafts of electronic trickery. Nissan has stiffened its roadster further to account for the chopped top and it feels like a proper sports car, though it can also be a little firm in response when cruising suburban streets and its weight is taxing on the brakes.
Though the six-speed manual is more engaging the seven-speed automatic shifts confidently between cogs and while not completely in tune with what gear to select, the paddle shifters are fun enough to use.
The downfall of the older driveline is economy suffers compared to the efficiency of newer engines, with fuel economy not afraid to hit the high teens per 100km when provoked.
ANCAP Rating: ANCAP has not tested the Nissan 370Z.
Safety Features: Dual front, front-side and curtain airbags, ABS and switchable ESC, rear parking sensors and rear-view camera.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years/100,000km kilometres.
Servicing: Below-average six-month or 10,000km service intervals are charged at a capped-price cost of $283/$354/$283/$586/$283/$354 to three years or 60,000km, plus a further $168 for performance brake fluid every two years.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The 370Z is in a tight segment without many competitors at its price point though its few alternatives are much newer.
The Ford Mustang GT brings an old school vibe but with V8 grunt that sounds much nicer with the roof down. Unlike the Zed, it’s jumped up slightly in price but remains competitive.
The four-cylinder turbo BMW 230i is a smaller, lighter convertible with plenty of premium appointments that you’d except from the German maker and with sure-footed dynamics that are just as fun. But it will cost a little over $10,000 extra.
- BMW 230i
- Ford Mustang GT
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
At almost $15,000 less than when it first landed, the 370Z is the best value it has ever been, but there are compromises to be made for this almost decade-old car. The interior is going to be a sticking point for some, especially tall drivers, but otherwise there’s plenty of charm and genuine ability in this old-school sports car that’s just as fun to drive as the day it arrived.
- Interested in buying Nissan 370Z? Visit our Nissan showroom for more information.