350Z replacement retains the muscular recipe but turns up the heat

What is it?

This is the new Nissan 370Z, the two-seat sports coupe that replaces the Nissan 350Z.

The 370Z is more muscular than the 350Z. It’s shorter (4250mm rather than 4315mm) and the wheelbase has dropped by 100mm. It’s also wider and lower.

Nissan’s designers say the look is ‘a super evolution’ of the Nissan 350Z. It takes all the 350’s good bits and amplifies them by about 15 per cent.

Like the styling, everything in the engineering of the 370Z has been turned up by 15 per cent. The new engine is of 3.7-litres rather than 3.5-litres, but it’s still a V6 whose peak power comes refreshingly near the top of the rev range.

The Nissan 350Z made its 309bhp peak at 6800rpm with 264lb ft at 4800rpm. The 370Z makes 326bhp at 7000rpm and 269lb ft at 5000rpm.

Inside, the Z-ness is still there. Material quality feels higher and the switchgear operates with more precision than before, but the themes are the same.

You look out through a thin panorama of windscreen, with a high bonnet edge and low roof line. The steering wheel – pleasingly sized and sculpted – doesn’t adjust for reach but the seats are fine and cabin space is acceptable. There’s more storage space and the boot is more useable.

What’s it like?

The V6 fires via a start button to a burbly idle. Throttle response is leisurely, the gearshift wide and positive, and the 370Z’s transmission graunches and whines through first gear.

The 3.7-litre engine is disinclined to zip around its rev-band. The 370Z instead strolls towards the 7500rpm limiter, feeling quick enough but far from brutally fast; just positive and strong.

The 370Z wants a positive stab on the throttle during heel-and-toeing too, unless you let it do that for you: the 370Z is the first car that will automatically blip the throttle on downshifts with a manual gearbox.

This system is called Synchro Rev and will be standard on all manual 370Zs. Synchro Rev works well, but you can switch it off if you want to do it yourself.

Body control is good and the ride composed, but it might prove a bit too soft for the UK in this form. Still, it steers nicely.

The 370Z’s steering isn’t overly sharp but, at 2.5 turns lock-to-lock, the directness and accuracy are spot on. Traction is good too; certainly better than before.

During hard cornering some understeer builds up. This can either be driven through on the throttle or, with a stab and a bung, eliminated in the first place; then the 370Z will go controllably sideways.

Should I buy one?

Absolutely. The Nissan 370Z takes all the objective qualities of its predecessor and turns up the good bits by a few notches.

It’s faster, makes a decent noise, has a better interior, weighs the same and should be competitively priced.

The old 350Z’s biggest draw was that, mixed in with all the objective stuff like value and speed, it was also engaging and alluring on an emotional level. The good news is that the 370Z is too.

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Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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Add a comment…
Penny9966 2 December 2008

Re: Nissan 370Z

I do really like the 350Z (I owned one for two years), and hopefully this car will be just enjoyable. I really wish more Japanese manufactures had coupes in their line up. Subaru once had the SVX (wish I still would love to drive, and wasn't co built by Toyota), Mitsubishi had the FTO, and Mazda had the MX-6, and Toyota had the mighty Supra (and Celica).

TegTypeR 1 December 2008

Re: Nissan 370Z

Hate to be desperately practical but the boot now looks a lot more usable now it has lost the bloody great strut brace.

Design harks back a lot more to the original Z cars although I'm still not sure about that interior.

Bobafari 1 December 2008

Re: Nissan 370Z

It's a minger but I'd still have one in black please santa