2017 Nissan 370Z NISMO Review
Affordable two-seaters are pretty rare these days. Fortunately, the Nissan 370Z is still around and, as always, it puts the driver's desires first. This is a sports car in the most traditional sense, and it emphasizes driving precision rather than driving comfort.
A big part of the 2017 Nissan 370Z's appeal is how well it goes around turns. It's easy to drive quickly and boasts an uncommon level of precision thanks to its relatively small size and light curb weight. Take a 370Z along your favorite serpentine road and you'll get a feeling of nimbleness that bigger sport coupes can't match. The 370Z's got a decent motor under its hood, too. The 3.7-liter V6 puts out a strong 332 horsepower (350 on the Nismo model) and can be paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission, both of which can match revs for expertly smooth downshifting.
Unfortunately, there's more to the ownership experience than just driving fast. One of the biggest problems with the Nissan 370Z is the fact that it's gone largely unchanged since it was introduced in 2009. Every major competitor has received a thorough redesign in that time period, and that has left the 370Z looking a bit stale and behind-the-times from a technology standpoint. Also, the Z's tiny cabin, small trunk and elevated amounts of road noise continue to be notable drawbacks.
So what can rivals offer that the Nissan 370Z doesn't? Primarily, comfort and practicality without any loss in performance. The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro and 2017 Ford Mustang are both amazingly good, providing rear seats (albeit small ones) for extra passengers, more cargo space and better rides over broken pavement. They both have wicked-fast V8's available, too, and more modern interiors with recent tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You might also take a look at the Subaru BRZ and the Mazda Miata, which is one of our driver-favorites, or even entry-level luxury two-doors like the Audi TT and BMW 2 Series.
In the end, the 2017 Nissan 370Z isn't the most real-world-livable choice but is compelling enough to take one for a test-drive. It's up to you to decide which set of attributes you value most.
Every 2017 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, Sport Tech and Nismo Tech trims and the 370Z Roadster's Touring and Sport Touring trims. Features like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring are not available.
In Edmunds brake testing, a coupe with the available upgraded brakes and 19-inch summer performance tires stopped from 60 mph in a short 106 feet, while a Roadster with the Sport package matched that impressive feat. However, the most recent 370Z Nismo we tested weighed about 100 pounds more than the standard Z and it posted a longer (but still respectable) stopping distance of 111 feet.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Nissan 370Z is a two-seater sports car that is available as a hatchback coupe or soft-top convertible (Roadster). The coupe comes in base, Sport, Touring, Sport Tech, Nismo and Nismo Tech trim levels. The Roadster comes 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 and taillights, keyless ignition and 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.
Upgrade to the Sport trim (only available on the coupe) and you'll get a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, chin and rear deck spoilers and an eight-speaker Bose audio system with Active Noise Control and Active Sound Enhancer technology.
The Touring trim loses the Sport's performance upgrades but adds creature comforts like leather/simulated-suede upholstery and suede door trim panels, a rear cargo cover (coupe only), heated seats with four-way power seats (with adjustable driver lumbar), ventilated/heated leather seats (roadster only), aluminum pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, USB connectivity, voice controls, a rearview camera, Bluetooth audio connectivity and satellite radio.
The Sport Tech coupe gets most of the equipment from the Sport and Touring models minus the heated power seats, upgraded upholstery, aluminum pedals or cargo cover. The Touring Sport Roadster mirrors the Sport Tech's equipment, but it is missing the front-chin and rear-deck spoilers. It does get the seats/upholstery/pedals and cargo cover though.
The 370Z Nismo gets a more powerful version of the standard V6 and features the same or upgraded versions of the Sport trim's performance hardware, including an exclusive sport-tuned suspension, upgraded tires and special brake fluid and hoses. The Nismo also features unique aerodynamic body pieces, leather/simulated-suede manual Recaro sport seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger) and a suede-trimmed steering wheel. The Nismo Tech trim level adds the Touring's auto-dimming rearview mirror and its various upgraded electronics features, including the 7-inch touchscreen interface and the navigation system.
All versions of the 2017 Nissan 370Z are powered by a 3.7-liter V6 engine. In the non-Nismo models, the V6 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 smooth gear changes.
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 automatic-equipped models except the base coupe.
In Edmunds performance testing, a 370Z coupe with a manual transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds -- the slightly heavier Roadster posted an identical time. That's about as quick as the six-cylinder Camaro and about a second quicker than a Miata or BR-Z, but a second or so slower than a V8-powered Camaro or Mustang.
EPA fuel economy for the 370Z coupe stands at 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city/26 mpg highway) with the automatic; the manual checks in at 21 mpg combined (18 city/26 highway). The Roadster's fuel economy is slightly worse at 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway) with the automatic and 20 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway) with the manual transmission.
The 370Z Nismo models use a specially tuned version of the V6 that generates 350 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque. The six-speed manual transmission with SynchroRev Match is standard, with the seven-speed automatic available as an option. We've tested a couple of manual-transmission Nismo models, the most recent a Nismo Tech. Zero to 60 mph took 5.2 seconds, a disappointing performance given the exclusive engine tune and the premium price. The EPA has not separately evaluated the Nismo's fuel economy, but on Edmunds' highway-biased evaluation loop, we managed to earn 24 mpg.
The 370Z isn't the kind of sports car that you'll see in many rental-car fleets. It's meant for driving enthusiasts who will value ultra-responsive steering and a body that stays flat even in high-speed corners. When a suspension is tuned for maximum performance, though, it can lose some comfort in the process and the Z definitely falls victim to that problem. It's livable for daily commuting, but rough roads or long highway road trips will be problematic. The raucous road noise that fills the cabin is another drawback. Granted, we haven't tested a model with the optional noise cancellation system yet, and that could help.
While the Z can boast V8-adjacent acceleration numbers, 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 coarse noises that come with high-rpm engine speeds and the vibrations that come through the pedals and shifter. Despite all this, the 370Z is still invigorating to drive, especially at speed. In particular, the SynchroRev Match mode for the manual transmission is a delight, as it'll make you feel like a professional racer with every near-perfect rev-matched downshift.
The Nissan 370Z isn't for drivers who like to pack for every occasion. Interior quarters are very tight, with limited space for small items in the cabin and restrictive cargo space. In the coupe, the bulkhead between the seatbacks and the cargo area makes for a particularly closed-in sensation, whereas the convertible's intimate interior is more typical of that body style. The coupe's rear visibility also leaves much to be desired, as does its meager 6.9 cubic feet of cargo space. Competitors like the Mustang and Camaro have 9.1 cubes and 13.5 cubes, respectively. The convertible Z drops to a laughable 4.2 cubic feet, making it tough for a couple to pack much more than soft-sided weekend bags.
One surprise with the Z is the high-quality materials that wouldn't look out of place in an Infiniti. But base trim levels are missing basic features like Bluetooth audio and a USB port, likely an omission that is tied to the Z's increasing age. The seats feature sporty contours that excel at keeping occupants in place during spirited drives, and long-distance cruising comfort is respectable as well. Although the steering wheel doesn't telescope, Nissan compensates to an extent by providing a gauge cluster that moves with the wheel's tilt adjustment. Still, you'll want to make sure that your arms are comfortable with the reach to the wheel, because you won't be able to adjust it.
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.