By on May 22, 2019

Betcha forgot about this one. That’s okay – most people have. Thanks to Nissan’s glacier-like design cycle, the 2020 Z isn’t significantly different than when it first appeared in the late Jurassic period for the 2009 model year.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of our attention in this series, though, especially since it is one of the few remaining cars in today’s market that still offers a manual transmission, let alone two doors and a fast roofline. In fact, that steep chop aft of the windshield puts your author in mind of Godzilla, which is not bad company to keep.

For the 2020 model year, Nissan has let the Z’s price creep over $30,000. It is still powered by a familiar 3.7-liter V6, making 332 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. That six-speed manual is standard; we implore you not to consider the seven-speed automatic as it would be a waste of $1,400 and a perfectly good sporty car.

While the price has crept northward, the level of standard kit has also increased. Now included are a set of HID xenon peepers capable of illuminating the dark side of the moon, plus a slick looking set of 18-inch black finish wheels. A double-wishbone suspension and 3,300 lb curb weight make the most out of your morning commute.

Inside, the Z retains its trademark tilt steering column which moves with the gauge pod, allowing for an always clear sightline to readouts of the car’s criticals. Economies of scale dictate there is an auto-dimming rear view mirror, push button start, and automatic climate control. There are also three cup holders, an odd number. The seats are cloth, which is fine with your author, but the wheel and gear knob are wrapped in leather.

The shade of Deep Blue Pearl is shown here, as it is the sole non-greyscale color offered free of charge. Passion Red Tricoat looks great but costs $695. Curiously, a Pearl White also pads the bottom line. Whatever the color, your author thinks the Base Z (yep, that’s its trim name) is the best deal in the 2020 Z line.

North of the border, the deal is even better. Nissan’s Zed in base trim is priced only $408 more than an equivalent American version, equating to (at today’s exchange rate) a shade under $23,000. Perhaps living in the Great White North isn’t so bad after all.

[Image: Nissan]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a whole lot better. What do you think of this choice, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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28 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Nissan 370Z Base...”


  • avatar
    seth1065

    I could live w/o the 18-inch tires and black wheels are not my thing but that Blue does look good. So you say I get on in Canda and drive it across the border and save cash?

  • avatar
    ajla

    I liked the “Roadster” version of this car, but it carried a sizeable convertible premium.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    For about five grand less I can have a base Mustang.

  • avatar

    Buying the base model with few options is often the best buy. I got the plainer S model VW GTI in 2018 with a 6 speed for a lot less than the loaded model and I don’t miss the optional features. My wife ordered the very base E46 323i in 2000 with a 5 speed and only the folding rear seat option. It was a terrific bargain that she sold for a third of new cost after 132,000 miles of fun driving. Some options appeal to some people, but be aware the profit margin is much higher than for the base car so you can drive up the purchase price without necessarily improving the resale value by much.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    If you’re of a motorsports mindset, the Sport trim adds bigger brakes, limited slip (granted it’s viscous but better than nothing), and the engine automagically rev-matches downshifts for you.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yea, that is the pick of the range. Slap in an aftermarket AA/AC compatible radio and you have a winner.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenn

      I would say it takes much less than “a motorsports mindset” to demand what should be standard – a limited slip differential – for a RWD performance coupe like this. Adding that, then, adds about $2,700 to the “Ace of Base.” No Deal, Nissan.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Half the price of the Zupr4
    Same power
    More pedals
    Zero BMW maintenance nightmares

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy less torque in the Nissan though.

      • 0 avatar
        6250Claimer

        Can’t beliieve I’m gonna defend this car, because as a many-time older Z owner, I can’t stand it. But how much torque does one need? My best pal has an F80 M4 and the power & torque are INSANE. Despite having Michelin PS4’s, he breaks it looks every time he gets on it when merging onto the freeway and I think we’re going into a guardrail. It’s just gross overkill IMHO.

        I think the value proposition point vs Zupra is a valid point, given the drastic difference in cost, 3 pedals, and lack of BMW mechanical nightmares. Would I buy one? No, but it’s still an incredible value for anyone it appeals to.

        I can’t believe that Canadian pricing. How are they not selling boatloads of them up there at that insane number?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Zero BMW maintenance nightmares, but plenty of Nissan nightmares.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    You did this Ace back in 2017.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/09/ace-base-2018-nissan-370z/

    Since you stated that not much has changed since 2009, what warrants a re-do of this?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Is there any real difference between the 350Z and 370Z besides a slightly larger engine? The cars look exactly the same save a few small changes such as taillights.

    The design looks more out of date than the frontier.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Not much. The 370Z has a little bit more room in the hatch as they relocated the strut tower brace. The interior was updated… barely. Rev match added (awesome) and bigger brakes (easy aftermarket swap). The 350Z came in better colors for sure. I was never a fan of the redesign as they added angles and creases that ruined the organic shapes from previous model.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The problem is you can get a low mileage used one with more equipment that is 7-10 years old for less than half price, and they look and drive virtually the same.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    3 pedals
    All aluminum multilink suspension
    7500 naturally aspirated RPM
    ~3300lb curb weight

    Step up to the Sport for an LSD and big brakes for like $33K

    I’m struggling to think of a car with similar attributes at ANY price. Stickshift GT3 maybe?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Camaro V6 6MT is pretty close. Redline is 7100, standard LSD, and base curb weight is 3354 (it goes if you add the bigger wheels or some other options though).

      Starting price is $26,500 and the V6 1LE is $32k.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Wow, I thought the Camaro weighed a lot more. That’s pretty good.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          How about the 2020 Camaro 1LT V8 (new option) that checks in at just under $35K?

          I know it wears all-season tires but I think I could have big fun commuting in that.

          • 0 avatar
            JMII

            The question is which has worse visibility the Z or Bumble Bee?

            I can tell you the visibility in my C7 ‘Vette is 10X what is was in my 350Z in all directions except forward. The Z had a fantastic view out the front because the hood is short and low. As mentioned in the review the dash pod moves with the wheel and overall the dash is lower, especially compared to the Camaro. However the back and sides? The Z might as well only come with front windows its that bad. The Camaro? darn I say worse? Anyway a used C7 is a better deal then any of them so I went that route.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      I’d consider the Z if in the market now.

      As for your question:

      Porsche 981 Cayman S. The one with the 6 cylinder of just a few years ago had max power at 7400 RPM and a reline of (I think) 7800. Plus, if you have a hankering for a convertible, the Boxster was actually slightly cheaper.

      You pay 2x as much, but hey: it’s the cheapest mid-engine car you can buy!

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    the extra cupholder is for the vape

  • avatar
    JMII

    For those considering it the Z makes a great track car, but a terrible commuter. Thus the best deal is used Z that hasn’t been totally riced out and turned into a wanna-be drifter. Just put on the upgraded sport brakes, wider tires, sway bar and enjoy. Once this is done the Z has slight understeer to neutral on track. I found it very predictable but others find it swap ends too easily. I was never a fan of the traction control however – its all or nothing and with it off you’ll be sideways for sure. The suspension is teeth jarring stiff and the interior is crappy and LOUD (yes in all caps). Interior storage is limited. The hatch, even with the stupid suspension brace does allow you to carry more then it’s Infiniti twin (G37/G39/early Q60) surprizingly. My wife has said Q60 and after owning both I’d recommend the Infiniti unless you are purely track focused. The good news is both share many parts over this long production run so fixes are cheap and easy. Beware they tend to eat front hubs and the rear sub frame bushing will fail leading to a sloppy feeling back end and some transmission vibration. The aluminum hood collects paint chips quickly so a clear bra is recommended. Other then that my Z was bullet proof and I tired to kill in on track plus daily driving resulting in over 77K in mileage. So far the wife’s Infiniti has been great, the sunroof and interior are major upgrades from the Z. The rear seats work in a pinch with smaller body types (kids or women).

    The Z is a really fun car, but you don’t want to be forced to drive it to work everyday. I did that for nearly 7 years. Then one day the wife asked why I put up with harsh ride and declared it was time to move on as she would no longer ride shotgun. So I went Corvette shopping! The C7 is a near perfect blend between track weapon and Grand Tourer. With the mag-ride suspension and non-run-flat tires (18/19 vs the stock 19/20) the C7 is Caddy smooth in Tour mode yet buckles now immediately when put in Track mode via the drive mode selector. Plus the massive V8 torque and sound is to die for.

    I considered a Cayman (my brother has a Boxster GTS so I am very familiar) but the thought of sending the Porsche in for service caused my wallet to run and hide. The Porsche has telepathic handling and amazing brakes, but power wise is around the same as my wife’s Q60. So its outright speed isn’t impressive until you realize it can maintain that thru the twisty bits. When the original Z came out in ’03 Nissan bench-marked the then Boxster so its a legitimate comparison, except in price and interior quality.


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