Used 2015 Nissan 370Z Convertible Review
The 2015 Nissan 370Z still holds some appeal as a dedicated sports car. But from the vantage point of practicality or performance, there are better choices available.
There aren't too many affordable coupes and convertibles that can genuinely be called sports cars. Within the handful of choices, the 2015 Nissan 370Z has a lot going for it. There's a long and generally wonderful heritage behind the rear-wheel-drive Nissan Z coupe and roadster. The current 370Z is no pretender, either. It's impressively fast and grips tenaciously, and it combines that with head-turning style and a high-quality interior. When you add up all its attributes, the 370Z remains something of a bargain, too.
But the Nissan 370Z is one of the older models in its price range, and this shows in its comparative lack of refinement. Few will expect a two-seat sports car to coddle like a high-end sedan, but we think it's an issue when the heart of a performance car -- its engine -- doesn't delight you when you're giving it a workout. The 370Z's 3.7-liter V6 is plenty stout, but the more you ask of it, the gruffer it gets, and the thrumminess becomes downright unpleasant at higher engine rpm. Similarly tiring is the constant road and tire noise that penetrates the 370Z's close-quartered cabin. These will be deal-breakers for some buyers.
Although it's hard to name a direct rival to the Z car, there are a few entertaining alternatives in this price range that offer more in the way of refinement. Perhaps closest from a performance-per-dollar perspective are the American-brand pony cars, the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. The Mustang is all-new for 2015, and both cars have optional V8 engines with far more character than the 370Z's raucous V6. If you're looking for something with more pedigree, the highly desirable BMW 2 Series is not as much of a financial stretch as you might think, and even with its base four-cylinder engine, it's just as quick as the 370Z. Meanwhile, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ can be had for thousands less. Their four-cylinder engines are pretty meager, but driving purists will find their sharp rear-wheel-drive handling plenty compelling.
Within the population of moderately priced sport coupes and convertibles, these competitors also promise superior practicality, as they offer rear seats (albeit tiny ones), fractionally better cargo space and greater comfort in city and highway driving. That said, if you're looking for a focused two-seat sports car, there's still nothing quite like the 2015 Nissan 370Z.
trim levels & features
The two-seat 2015 Nissan 370Z sports car is available as a hatchback coupe or soft-top convertible (Roadster). The coupe comes in base, Touring, Sport, Sport Tech and Nismo trim levels. The 2015 370Z Roadster is sold in base, Touring and Touring Sport trims.
The base-model 370Z coupe and Roadster come standard with 18-inch wheels and summer performance tires, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel Bluetooth phone connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The Roadster gets a power-operated convertible soft top.
Available only on the coupe, the Sport trim brings a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, special lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels and both chin and rear-deck spoilers. The Touring trim loses these performance upgrades but adds creature comforts like heated side mirrors, leather/simulated-suede upholstery and suede door-trim panels, a rear cargo cover (coupe only), heated seats with four-way power driver adjustment (and four-way manual lumbar adjustment) and four-way passenger-seat power adjustment, ventilated seats (roadster only), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and voice command, a rearview camera, Bluetooth audio connectivity, USB/iPod integration, satellite radio and eight Bose speakers.
The coupe's Sport Tech and Roadster's Touring Sport essentially combine the content of the 370Z Sport and Touring models, although Sport Tech coupes don't get the Touring's heated power seats, upgraded upholstery and cargo cover.
The 370Z Nismo coupe has a more-powerful, 350-horsepower version of the 370Z's 3.7-liter V6 and features the same or upgraded versions of the performance hardware on the standard 370Z Sport. For 2015, it features revised versions of its unique aerodynamic body pieces, new LED running lights and a downsized rear spoiler. Differing from the standard 370Z's cabin, however, the Nismo gets new leather/simulated-suede Recaro seats and a suede-trimmed steering wheel. The Nismo Tech trim level adds the touchscreen-based navigation and audio system, rearview camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
performance & mpg
All versions of the 2015 Nissan 370Z (apart from the Nismo model) are powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard for all coupes and Touring and Touring Sport roadsters. On Sport and Sport Tech coupes and Touring Sport roadsters, the manual gearbox includes SynchroRev Match, a driver-selectable mode that automatically blips the throttle during downshifts to deliver smoother, quicker gearchanges.
A seven-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capability and downshift rev-matching is optional for all 370Z coupes and standard on the base 370Z Roadster. Steering wheel-mounted shift paddles are included on all models, except the base coupe and Roadster.
In Edmunds performance testing, a 370Z coupe with a manual transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, while the heavier Roadster accomplished the same run in 5.5 seconds. The EPA rates fuel economy for the coupe at 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/26 mpg highway) with the manual; the automatic also checks in at 21 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway). The Roadster's fuel economy is slightly worse at 20 combined (17/24) with the manual and 21 combined (18/25) with the automatic transmission.
The 370Z Nismo uses the same-size V6, but it's specially tuned to generate 350 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed manual transmission with SynchroRev Match is standard, with the seven-speed automatic newly available as an option. We've tested a couple manual-transmission Nismos, the most recent a 2015 Tech model. Zero to 60 mph took just 5.2 seconds. The EPA has not separately evaluated the Nismo's fuel economy, but on Edmunds' highway-biased evaluation loop, we managed to earn 24 mpg, which is impressive.
Every 2015 Nissan 370Z comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control and side airbags. The coupe gets side curtain airbags, while the Roadster's side airbags extend upward for head protection. A rearview camera is standard for the coupe's Touring and Sport Tech trims, the 370Z Roadster's Touring and Sport Touring trims and the Nismo Tech model.
In Edmunds brake testing, a coupe with the available upgraded brakes and 19-inch summer performance tires stopped from 60 mph in an outstanding 106 feet, while a Roadster with the Sport package matched that impressive feat. However, the most recent 370Z Nismo we tested posted a longer distance of 111 feet.
For 2015, Nissan has revised the suspension tuning on all 370Z models, and it has added a small degree of suppleness to the ride quality without detracting much from the sharp handling and near-endless grip for which the current Z car has always been known. Buyers planning to take their 370Z to track days might have preferred the stiffer suspension calibration included in last year's optional Sport package, but in that case, there's always the more aggressively tuned Nismo model.
It's hard to argue with the V8-like acceleration you get with the 370Z's 3.7-liter V6, but revving it to its redline isn't the reward it is in other sports cars. In normal driving, you'll often find yourself shifting up to the next gear to avoid the high-rpm coarseness the engine sends through the pedals and shifter. Although annoying, this lapse in refinement doesn't keep the 370Z from being invigorating to drive at just about any speed. In particular, the SynchroRev Match mode for the manual transmission is an enthusiast's delight, as it'll make you feel like a professional racer with every perfectly rev-matched downshift.
When you get inside the 2015 370Z, you'll see higher-quality materials than you'll find in just about any of this sports car's rivals. The cloth seats in the lower-trim models might be a letdown in anything other than a sports car, but it's not hard to find a comfortable driving position thanks to the seat's excellent shape and support -- and one of the car's signature features, gauges that move with the steering wheel's tilt adjustment to help maintain optimal visibility.
Make no mistake, though: the 370Z's interior quarters are tight, there's precious little storage space for even small items and the bulkhead between the seatbacks and the cargo area makes for a particularly closed-in sensation. That swoopy roof line and thick rear roof pillars dictate small windows and marginal outward visibility -- attributes we can somewhat forgive any sports car, though. Such is the same for the coupe's meager 6.9 cubic feet of maximum cargo space and the almost laughable 4.2 cubic feet in the convertible's trunk, which makes it tough for a couple to pack much more than soft-sided weekend bags.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.