What's the used Nissan 370Z coupe like?
If there’s any car out there that should fly the flag for Japanese sports cars – a cult breed in the UK not so long ago – it should really be the Nissan 370Z.
Ingredients such as a big-hearted 3.7-litre V6, a six-speed manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive, a low-slung driving position and that classic long-nosed, wide-hipped coupé shape scream proper emotive muscle car and a visceral alternative to super-polished German rivals such as the BMW M240i, Audi TT RS and Porsche Cayman.
But those roads are rare. Your average winding B-road won’t do, never mind a motorway or urban route, where the 370Z is all hard work and no reward. You need a specific kind of fast, smooth, winding corner before you discover that there is a modicum of poise and satisfaction to be had from the heavy, consistent steering and taut suspension.
In tighter bends and quick direction changes, the 370Z feels heavy; while the steering weight is good, it can be tricky to sense whether you’re nearing the limit of grip from the rear tyres.
It’s also difficult to find enough open road to really stretch this 3.7-litre V6. It’s a coarse engine that doesn’t feel particularly smooth and needs to be stretched well beyond 6000rpm before it hits its stride. That means most of your time is spent in the gruff dregs of the rev range, where it's punchy enough but doesn't sound very good.
The drivetrain dominates the driving experience even more so in the Nismo model, thanks to a sports exhaust. However, the small increase in power (up 16bhp) barely makes any difference in reality, cutting just 0.1sec in the official 0-62mph run to 5.2sec. And despite feeling slightly more eager at higher revs, the engine’s ever-present sound and vibrations are much the same as in the standard car.
Both the standard 370Z and Nismo don’t ride too badly for a car of this ilk, but they’re far from comfortable. Undulations make the body bob up and down, so they fidget incessantly around town, and mid-corner bumps unsettle them enough to occasionally cause a loss of traction – and not in a good way.
So, overall, the 370Z works in a very narrow operating window, making it a tiring companion on most journeys.
The driver's seat is well-bolstered and models with leather upholstery have suede-like seat centres to stop you from sliding around during hard cornering. The instrument dials move in unison with the steering wheel, ensuring a clear line of sight. However, it’s not all good news, because the steering wheel adjusts for height only (not reach) and over-the-shoulder vision is poor.
You have to shop for a car in GT trim to get the NissanConnect Premium infotainment system with a 7.0in touchscreen. It comes with Bluetooth, sat-nav and a 9.4GB hard drive for music storage. However, it’s not the most responsive system in the class and the graphics look very dated when compared with similar systems from Audi and BMW.
The 370Z is strictly a two-seater, but there's plenty of head and leg room. There are several useful cubbyholes, including bins behind the seats. However, the boot itself is unusually shallow and impaired by a big suspension brace, so you'll have to pack light.
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