Nissan 370Z Roadster Review and Road Test

by under Review on 15 May 2014 01:35:40 AM15 May 2014
2014 NISSAN 370Z
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km

Rev-happy V6; involved driving dynamics; purposeful looks


Minuscule boot

Nissan has announced price cuts across the 370Z sports car range with the range-topping 370Z Roadster now $68,930. That’s almost $11,000 below its previous sticker making the soft-top version of Nissan’s iconic V6 coupe even more enticing.


The thing about classic cars – and the 370Z is a classic – is the more things change, the more they stay the same. Cues from the original ‘Z Cars’ from the late 1960s evident in today’s versions include  the six-cylinder engine, long nose/short rump design, the upright steering wheel and the three gauges centre of the dashboard.
Another feature of the 370Z which remains true to the original is the scintillating driving experience – accompanied by the hallmark raunchy exhaust note.

Nissan 370Z Overview

The biggest price cuts for the Nissan 370Z were for the hardtop coupe version which came down by $12,960 to start from $56,930. However Nissan handed the keys to a range-topping Roadster (convertible) with the seven-speed automatic transmission which is priced at $68,930.
Apart from the folding roof and its associated paraphernalia - like the glass wind deflector behind the seats - about the only other specification additions for the roadster are side curtain airbags (roof-mounted in the coupe) and climate controlled heated/cooled seats.


The Nissan 370Z is a true two-seater and you sit low like a proper sports car. And if you buy a Roadster, don’t plan on extensive luggage because, like other similar cars, the folding roof and sports car design mean storage space is at a premium…hey this is a sports car after-all.

Nissan 370Z Roadster Engine

No beating around the bush here – Nissan’s VQ37VHR 3.7-litre DOHC naturally-aspirated V6 is part of the family which has won more ‘Engine Of The Year’ awards than any other V6. It’s an aluminium-alloy engine with continuously variable valve timing and variable valve event and lift on intake valves plus Nissan’s direct ignition system.


Maybe the ‘VHR’ in the engine number stands for ‘Very High Revs’ because this beast can scream (or should that be growl!) – maximum power of 245kW is delivered at 7000rpm and peak torque of 363Nm arrives at 5200rpm.
Drive is to the rear wheels (of course!) via a six-speed manual or, as per our test car, a seven-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters for manual changes (automatic throttle-blipping on downshifts).

Nissan 370Z Roadster The Interior

The Nissan 370Z feels like a proper sports car from the second you climb inside. Adjusting the steering wheel for height moves the wheel and the instrument panel as one and you soon adopt the classic sports car straight-legged, low-down seating position – with the hallmark Z-Car upright position for the excellent leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Seats are great – finished in leather with a sporty non-slip cloth insert. The drivers’ seat has four-way electronic adjustment and manual lumbar adjustment.
Satellite navigation is displayed on a seven-inch screen and audio is an excellent eight-speaker Bose system with the usual connectivity.

Nissan 370 Roadster Exterior & Styling

While the Nissan 370Z has been around for a while it still commands a real presence on-road. That classic long bonnet/short tail look exudes a purposeful sports car appearance and the Z-Car sits low on its massive 19-inch Rays alloy wheels.


Wrapped around the front are self-levelling Xenon headlights with DRLs – a complex design to match the curves of the Z-Car’s front-end. The rear is likewise a very sophisticated appearance to accentuate the 370Z Roadster’s width and the LED tail-lights are cleverly integrated.
The black fabric soft-top does give the Roadster a different look to the 370Z coupe and, matched with the navy blue paint of our test car, it certainly delivered a substantial presence. Like most current convertibles, operation of the roof is a simple one-touch procedure which commences the usual complex operation of moving parts – the glass wind deflector behind the seats is a classy design.


Tipping the scales at 1544kgs, the Nissan 370Z is no lightweight, but an aluminium bonnet does save a few kilos. 

Nissan 370Z Roadster On The Road

Boasting a powerplant from the same family as the VR38DETT twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre V6 used in Nissan’s GT-R supercar, the 370Z’s raunchy exhaust note is actually very similar. Head through a tunnel with the roof down, snick down a gear or two and enjoy the audio – it’s a cracker.
The Nissan 370Z Roadster rides on a double wishbone multi-link aluminium front suspension with a similar system for the rear mounted to an aluminium-alloy sub-frame. Stopping is handled by massive 355mm front discs (4-piston calipers) and 350mm rears (2-piston calipers).
Over our high-speed mountain roads test loop, the Nissan 370Z Roadster reminded us just how developed the latest Z-Car is. Using the paddle shifters for manual gear changes (we still love those automatic throttle-blipping downshifts) our Roadster sprang to life after days in the weekday commute.


Unlike say the Mazda MX-5, the 370Z is as brute along the lines of the HSV and FPV vehicles. That’s not to say its cumbersome – in fact the opposite is true – but this is a muscly V6-powered sports car with power and torque aplenty across the rev range (although things really get happening higher in the range).
Braking into corners accompanied by those slick automatic rev-matched downchanges, you can toss the 370Z towards the apex and it responds with precision and plenty of grip. Than use that ample engine to balance things mid-turn before stamping on the throttle for a fast exit and rapid-fire upshifts for the seven-speeder. Brilliant!
Back in the city, the Z-Car surprised with a small 10.0-metre turning circle to aid parking although with restricted rear visibility, the reversing camera got plenty of work. And in Melbourne’s tunnels, the soft-top roof meant more noise intrusion from outside.

Nissan 370Z Roadster Issues

Just the lack of luggage space is the Nissan 370Z’s only blemish. We reckon Nissan will address that whenever the all-new Z-Car arrives as later designs from the likes of Mercedes-Benz have shown how you can have a convertible with reasonable boot space.

Nissan 370Z Roadster Verdict

Still one of favourite moderately-priced sports cars (coupe or convertible) this Nissan 370Z, like the Mazda MX-5, thumbs its nose at ‘Father Time’ and still excites. Those price cuts are certainly welcome and anyone shopping in this segment is best advised to take a Z-Car for a test-drive – you’ll be surprised just how good it is.


Part of the Z-Car’s allure is it’s just so honest. Nissan hasn’t softened its muscle-car driving dynamics, hasn’t been tempted to fit a turbo four-cylinder powerplant and hasn’t changed the exterior/interior design intent.
For the Z-Car, the more things change, the more they stay the same…and we’re happy about that.

Nissan 370Z Roadster The Competition

Like the Z-Car, the Mazda MX-5 – a definite favourite – has become a classic. Obviously not as grunty as the V6-powered Nissan, the MX-5 is sharply priced from $47,280 and is still one of the most enticing drives in sports car land.


Peugeot RCZ is also a favourite and the elegant-looking French coupe still turns heads. Pricing is sharp at $58,990 but with 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre engines, the RCZ is significantly out-muscled by the Z-Car.
Volkswagen Scirocco isn’t as pure sports car as the Nissan 370Z but the $47,990 coupe in R spec is excellent.

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