2010 Nissan 370Z | road test
AT A GLANCE
- Great to drive
- Beautiful engine
- Looks good
- Terrible rear visibility
- Harsh ride for everyday use
- Too expensive
The 370Z is a proper sports car. We really like its looks, interior and driving experience – if you live near smooth tarmac and winding roads you’ll have an absolute blast. But the lack of rear view visibility was highly disconcerting when driving around town and would really put us off using it as an everyday car. We also think it’s too expensive compared to its rivals.
Power comes from a beautiful 3.7-litre V6 engine that gives you a continuous build up of thrust, with no slow down in push as the revs climb. It’s really impressive.
The resultant 324bhp is delivered to the rear wheels through a seven speed automatic gearbox, which can be quite jerky in manual mode, controlled through metal paddles behind the steering wheel. It’s at its best when the car is being really pushed. The Downshift Rev Matching feature works well and gives a satisfying blip to the throttle when you downshift. It’s fairly quick to respond, but not as fast as the dual-clutch gearboxes seen on something like the Porsche Cayman S.
HANDLING AND RIDE
This is a proper sports car with very stiff suspension. In case this wasn’t clear, a huge cross member behind the rear seats serves as a visual reminder of just how committed the 370Z is to reducing chassis flex. This means that handling is great with virtually no body roll and great grip from the tyres. You can feel the tyres grip into the road as you corner and although the car is fairly heavy – around 1,525kg – it remains agile.
The steering is weighty – perhaps too much so for around town. Perhaps we’ve got used to cars with dynamic steering systems that lighten things up for manoeuvring, but we found a fair bit of heft was necessary when moving slowly. That’s not a criticism – this is a sports car after all – but it’s certainly something we noticed. Although the car is generally easy to drive everyday in automatic mode, it’s worth considering before you buy.
The steering is quick though and at speed you’ll find that it turns sharply. The car is nicely balanced and with 324bhp going through the rear wheels, the back is willing to step out if you provoke it. Turning the VDC electronic stability control off gives you a bit of leeway to wag the 370Z’s tail, while still reigning things in if the car gets too out of shape.
Because the car is so stiffly sprung, the ride is firm – you’ll need to take speed bumps with care and you’ll feel all the imperfections in the road. Having said that, there is a level of damping that means potholes won’t quite shatter your spine.
The interior design is one that we like a lot. The instrument binnacle is attached to the steering column and so moves when the column is adjusted – a nice touch that means the wheel doesn’t obscure the instruments if the driver is particularly tall or short. Faux brushed aluminium and LEDs give a funky look to the dash, which is topped by more gauges showing oil temperature, battery power and the time.
The satellite navigation screen in the middle of the dash is surrounded by leather and vertical air vents which also look good. The dash flows into the doors to create an enclosed, cockpit-like feel offset by a low centre console. Build quality is more than adequate, but if were to be really picky we’d point out that some of the plastics feel a little on the cheap side.
The sports seats hold you securely in place and are comfortable on long journeys. There’s a lovely exhaust note from the tailpipes of the 370Z from around 4-5,000rpm which fills the cabin with an intoxicating boomy noise.
The major downside to the 370Z is that visibility our of the rear of the car is terrible. Looking through the rear view mirror out of the back windscreen is fine, but the rear three quarters on each side are virtually impossible to see out of. It proved a problem for us on several occasions when trying to pull out of junctions because we couldn’t see what was coming in the blind spot. It might not sound like a major problem but having used the 370Z around town for a few days, it would seriously put us off buying the car for everyday use.
Being a performance-orientated sports car, the 370Z is not exactly overflowing with storage space. Having said that, there’s space for a can of drink in the door, a single cup holder in the centre console, a reasonable size glove box and a space under the centre armrest. The boot is on the small size – anything more than a couple of suitcases won’t fit.
The 370Z is quite simplistic in its approach to motoring and has relatively few unnecessary features, which we rather like – it underlines Nissan’s focus on performance above all else.
The list comprises leather seats, sat nav, Bluetooth, voice activation, six CD changer and, if you think you’ll ever need them in the Arabian sun, heated seats, but that’s about it. The 370Z is a driver’s car, not a luxury car, so most of the features we’ve touched on above and below are based around the car’s performance, rather than creature comforts.
Standard safety equipment on the 370Z includes ABS, VDC (electronic stability control) and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Front, side and curtain airbags are all included, as are active head restraints to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries in an accident.
No crash test data was available for the 370Z at the time of writing.
(Please refer to the update at the top of this page.)
At 203,500AED, the 370Z seems on the pricey side. The BMW Z4 sDrive30i is 205,000AED and has less power, but it does come with a retractable roof and the prestige of the BMW name. More seriously, the pretty much untouchable Porsche Cayman S costs just 8,000AED more than the Nissan at 211,700AED. Good as the 370Z is, it’s not as good as the Cayman, which as well as outstanding dynamics boasts a more upmarket interior and a Porsche badge.
The 370Z has a combined fuel economy of 10.3 litres per 100km, which gives it a theoretical range of 700km from its 72-litre fuel tank.
Nissan offers a three-year/100,000km warranty on the car. Major services are due at 40,000km and will cost around 1,200AED at the time of writing.
2010 Nissan 370Z
Engine: 3.7-litre V6
Max power (bhp/rpm): 324/7,000
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 363/5,200
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Driven wheels: Rear-wheel drive
Kerb weight: 1,525kg
Price (AED): 203,500 (Update: 179,950)