The Nissan 370Z has been around almost ten years, and in the world of cars that’s a pretty long stretch. Luckily back in 2009 the car was ahead of its time and that means the 370Z still doesn’t quite look outdated. It’s recently received a small update, but the sportster’s real selling point is that it’s quite possibly one of the last rear-wheel drive Japanese sports cars available today. There’s a host of available options to improve on the standard offering, not that you really need them because the car is great off the floor. You still get those brilliant looks, a 332 hp V6 and an analogue, involving drive for as little as the $29,990 starting price.
Inside the cabin of the sportster you’ll find things much the same as since the car was launched, but the recent update does include Nissan’s premium infotainment system as a standard feature now, headed up on a 7.0-inch color touchscreen. Above it you still find the three standalone gauges, and below that the climate control. Ahead of the low-slung, adjustable sports seat on the driver’s side there’s the three-spoke multifunction steering wheel that’s leather bound and possibly one of the chunkiest wheels around, gripping on tight feels mighty purposeful. The center between the seats is raised high so that your arm rests comfortably while playing with the shifter to get the right gear. Storage space it at a minimum, but there is a cup holder at least. Trunk space is small at just 6.9 cu.ft, and valuables can be seen through the hatch window. It is a sportster after all, only a small overnight bag is all you really need.
The Nissan 370Z is a driver’s car in every sense of the phrase. It features a powerful, revvy motor up front that drives the rear wheels and has a good 6-speed manual transmission. Trim options see that change to a 7-speed automatic transmission if true driving scares you. There’s a limited slip differential in play and this affords great traction, and also great sideways action when you force the rear to step out. With the car being normally aspirated, it can suffer a bit at higher altitudes, but the V6 engine is nice and responsive in most instances and revs freely to the 7-grand redline. In the recent update the manual was fitted with an Exedy semi-race spec clutch, which doesn’t really change the driving dynamics, but will last through a lot of abuse. The automatic downshift rev-matching feature is pretty good, and great fun when used properly on track. Weight distribution is great, and the right driver can make the 350Z dance with precision.
The engine in the Nissan 370Z hasn’t changed much over the years, it’s a normally aspirated V6 with a capacity measuring in at 3.7-liters and this setup sees 332 hp with 270 lb-ft of torque available. This equates to a 0-60 mph time of just on 5.1-seconds for the manual transmission and 5,4-seconds for the automatic transmission. The manual transmission is a 6-speed, close ratio setup with a solid feel when swapping gears, and the automatic version features one more gear up to be a 7-speed. This one also features purposeful shifts and is never found hunting for the right spot. There is a limited edition 350 hp Nismo version available too, but performance stays the same.
All the usual safety systems are in play in the Nissan 370Z and they include an advanced airbag system, vehicle dynamic control and traction control. Options are limited in most versions of the Nissan 370Z as most things are specific to certain trims, and these feature things like the SiriusXM satellite radio and a Bose premium audio system that includes 8-speakers and a subwoofer. The RearView monitor to aid with parking is handy because rear visibility is a touch limited. There are plenty Nismo-branded accessories available for those who don’t choose the full limited edition Nismo model. The best interior option has to be the full carbon fiber kit.
As one of the last true, affordable and powerful rear-wheel driven cars that haven’t succumbed to the current trend of turbocharging, the Nissan 370Z is a car that people who care about driving dynamics should take a closer look at. Sure there’s a Toyota GT86 or a Subaru BRZ or a Mazda MX5, but they’re quite far behind in the power stakes. There are seven trim levels that offer up different combinations of styling so there should be something to cater for most preferences, but the best would be the higher powered Nismo version with the 6-speed manual transmission. It is the most expensive of the lot but it’s a great driver’s car for less than $50,000.