- Very limited engine choice, just one petrol
- Two states of tune though, standard and Nismo
- Plenty of straight line performance either way
Only one engine is available in the 370Z, and as the name suggests it is a 3.7-litre V6. The standard car produces 328hp at 7,000rpm and 363Nm torque at 5,200rpm, while both it and the Nismo top out at 155mph. It rumbles into life when you press the starter button and on the move it chunters away providing effortless acceleration - 0-62mph takes just 5.3 seconds, or three tenths more in the automatic version.
This isn’t a twin-clutch system as on the GT-R but it is still mightily impressive with slick and rapid shifts, while steering column-mounted paddles allow you to change gear manually. There are huge reserves of power, even higher up the rev range, but it’s always delivered smoothly and predictably thanks to its lack of turbocharger.
The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual but it’s not the slickest transmission around and makes driving at slow speeds or in traffic quite tricky. A rev-matching function makes downshifts smooth and this maintains stability under braking, but it doesn’t mask the mechanical feel of the gearbox as you swap ratios, which could well feel agricultural to drivers of more civilised sports cars.
Nismo model is more powerful
Providing increased punch for the Nismo car is a tuned version of the V6 petrol engine from the regular model.
Power jumps to 344hp and 371Nm torque at the same engine speeds as the standard car, and these modest gains in power are reflected in a single tenth being snipped off the 0-62mph time. Those improvements are negligible on the road so we’d recommend sticking with the standard car if all you’re interested in is performance.
- Not as brutish as the looks and reputation suggest
- More of a brute than refined rivals like the Porsche Cayman
- Great steering and fade-resistant brakes, plus roll-free ride
The Nissan 350Z has a reputation for sometimes being quite rough and ready, and a handful in wet conditions, but we found it generally composed especially when accelerating out of corners thanks to a standard limited-slip differential.
It’s very involving and enjoyable to drive on sweeping roads where we found virtually no body lean in corners; plus the steering is hefty and provides plenty of feedback. As fun as it is though, the 370Z lacks the finesse of its rivals, but that harder-edged distinction could win the Nismo fans among enthusiasts who crave something a touch more hairy-chested.
Hard acceleration on uneven or wet roads will easily prompt the traction control light to flash on the dashboard. This can be easily deactivated with one button push if it frustrates you, but we’d recommend reserving this for track use only.
Nismo model turns up the heat
Delivering the power through the enormous Nismo-specific 19-inch alloy wheels - wider at the back to rein in the car’s accelerative urges - the 370Z is very controllable and steady unless provoked by an eager right foot on the throttle. Do so and the handling becomes livelier.
Those larger wheels and stiffened suspension settings (by 15%, lowered by 10mm) combine to make the 370Z Nismo less compliant than the standard variant, particularly at slower, urban speeds. Less contentious are the quality of the brakes, offering progressive power from high speeds, thanks to ventilated discs front and rear, with little fading after repeated heavy use.
The weighty steering continues to engage and keep you focused, delivering accurate lines through corners. It provides enough feedback to feel confident knowing how secure the front of the car is.