2016 Nissan 370Z Review
Constant readers may recall I recently traded a 2008 Honda S2000 for a new Volkswagen GTI 6-speed. Both can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in the mid to high 5s, but with the turbo lag on the VW and the pre-VTEC lack of punch on the Honda, the power delivery on both cars is nonlinear, which grows tiresome at times.
I need a break from millennial motors and motorcycle-inspired engines. I want torque and I want it now, damn it.
Enter the 2016 Nissan 370Z.
Now in its eighth model year with few significant changes, 370Z sales in the U.S. have dropped from a high of 13,188 units in 2009 down to an annual average of 7,073 units from 2013 through May of 2015. Lack of updates and an overall drop in sales in the two-seater segment have hurt the Z, which is too bad because we place it at the top of our “Nearly Forgotten Great Sports Car” category.
Curiously, Nissan is using this red base model coupe with a 6-speed manual as its press car rather than the more popular Sport or Touring models. I was a bit disappointed as I wanted to play with their downshift rev matching system which is only available on upper trims. Nissan’s strategy to publicize the base model may be because of its MSRP of only $29,990 plus $810 freight, an amazing value. Adding the 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters will cost you another $1,300. The only popular features missing in the base Z are a navigation system, a backup camera and a decent sound system.
The next step up is the Sport model which is priced at $33,570 and adds bigger brakes, 19-inch RAYS wheels [which have been around forever -Mark], the rev-matching system, grippier Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires, a Viscous Limited-Slip Differential, a rear view monitor and a subtle rear spoiler. The Sport Tech model costs an additional $3,500 and includes a Bose stereo, navigation and Sirius satellite radio. Step up to the Touring model at $37,970 to get most of the above plus power leather seats.
The 370Z’s design has aged well, highlighted by its cool “boomerang” head and tail lights. I am not a fan of red cars and even less of a fan of black wheels, so make mine the new-for-2016 Deep Pearl Blue patina in the Sport model:
The cloth seats were very supportive and comfortable for my 6-foot 2-inch frame. Other reviewers have carped about the lack of rear vision due to the low seating position and gently sloping hatch, but I had no problem, perhaps because I am tall or maybe because of the comically large side mirrors. The uncluttered dashboard and controls are very well laid out. Bluetooth connectivity to my phone and iPod was a breeze. And, hey kids, those three instrument pods on the dash are not copied from a Fast and Furious movie. They are a tribute to the ones on the original 1970 240Z.
The Z is all about its 332 hp DOHC 3.7-liter V6 engine powering the car to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat. The slightly heavy clutch and shifter are in contrast to the light but very communicative steering. Tearing up and down Tucson’s Mt. Lemmon was tons of fun, though the base model’s noisy Yokohama ADVAN Sport tires could not quite keep up with the well-balanced chassis. The 6-speed Z is rated at 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway and we observed 21.8 mpg in a week of spirited driving.
All 2016 Zs except the base car have a new Active Sound Enhancement system that sends fake engine noise to the cockpit. The Z may actually need it as our tester was a bit too quiet in the exhaust department. (I have concluded that the sole reason more and more automakers are adding this feature is to make the car sound more appealing during test drives in order to sell more units. That is why they rarely mention the feature in their marketing efforts.)
Supply of the 370Z is in line with its tepid demand. The eight Nissan dealers within 150 miles of me have a total of 30 new Zs in stock, so finding the exact model and color you want may be challenging. As far as real-world pricing, TrueCar says the average discount on a 370Z is $1,318. One local dealer recently had the twin of this car in a 2015 model on their lot, with an MSRP of $30,118, advertised for only $27,000. That is a great price, but knowing Arizona dealers it is more likely a case of, “Well, folks, we added Tru-Coat, window tinting, window etching, an alarm system, lost key protection, the Desert Protection Package, wheel locks, and the $499 documentation fee for a total of $31,432.99.”
Nissan dealers ranked slightly below average in the 2014 J.P. Power Sales Satisfaction index.
The 370Z is a fun car and a great value – but what does the future hold? The current incarnation dates back to 2008, so a major overhaul is likely imminent, though Nissan’s not talking. As the only Japanese V6 two-seater, we hope Nissan will soldier on with this model and its legendary nameplate. The Altima owners dominating the 370Z message boards are certain the next generation Z will be powered by either a 4-cylinder turbo mill or a detuned GT-R motor. On that note, we will end this test with a Quasi-QOTD: what do you think Nissan will do or should do with the next 370Z?
- Tremendous value
- Near-perfect driver ergonomics
- Still looks great after eight years
- Lack of sporty exhaust note
- Tire noise
- Weak sound system in the base model
Wife Sez: “Love the color, drives great but there’s no “Jesus!” handle to grab when I’m riding shotgun.”
Perfect 370Z Song: “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” Simple Minds, 1987
Nissan North America provided use of vehicle for one week, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.
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- Art Vandelay I’d grab one of these if I’d spent my working life at GM for sure!
- Analoggrotto The factory is delayed due to an investigation of a peter puffery ring lead by VoGhost, Tassos, EBFlex a Chevrolet Volt.
- FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First, EVs...next, grooming. Lord help us all.
- MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
- Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.
The phrase "Japanese Camaro" has never been more true of a car than it is of the 350Z and 370Z. Regardless as to how one feels about the RX-8 in comparison (it's down on power and even more so on torque over the Zed), it rides way better, handles better (stock, and even more so in R3 form), has a useable rear seat, has way more refinement (feels like a freaking Lexus in comparison to the Z), has better fit and finish, and better steering, brakes and manual gearbox and clutch.
I was just in Yokohama at the Nissan building and I checked out the new NISMO, pretty nice, GTR was nice too. I have a 71' 240Z and I have never driven a modern sports car, thats right. I am pretty curious about them, I sat in it and they sure are more cushy than my Z. I have to bring tools with me for work so the newer daily driver sports car option has never come up. I guess I should go test drive one, they would totally let me drive a NISMO if I showed up in an orange triple carbed 240Z right?