The Nissan Z-car, in all of its incarnations, has always provided an unusually large hit of performance for the money, and the 370Z is no exception. In raw statistical terms it is quite simply one of the quickest cars you can buy at this price, and in the end this, more than anything else, is what will endear it to its target audience.
We recorded a two-way average of 5.4sec to 60mph, with 0-100mph taking just 12.8sec. This is in a car with a seven-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission, remember; we’d expect the manual car to clock times a fair bit quicker than that, particularly from rest to 30mph.
As you’d expect from a big-capacity, normally aspirated V6, it’s also a very strong performer low down. In fact, the engine is so strong and feels so much more comfortable at low to middling revs. It sounds like it too; an experience that's even more apparent in the convertible when the roof is folded.
What’s not in any doubt is the quality of the optional paddle-shift gearbox, which switches between fast-shifting manual and lazy auto as quickly as you can slide the lever from one side of the gate to the other. What’s more, the ratios are just about perfectly chosen, and the shifts in manual mode happen quickly and smoothly.
The Nismo is also offered with a six-speed manual, and it's drivetrain remains as dominant as ever. The small increase in power (up 16bhp) barely makes any difference in reality, it dropping 0.1sec for an official 5.2sec 0-62mph run. Top speed is pegged electronically at 155mph. It feels slightly more eager at higher revs, but the engine’s ever present sound and vibrations are much the same as its non-Nismo relations
We have no complaints about the brakes. At the test track, the 370Z stopped very well (70-0mph in under 45m) and suffered from zero fade. On the road, meanwhile, you’ll appreciate both the strength and feel that’s on offer from the left-hand pedal.
Whether you opt for the seven-speed paddle-shift auto or the regular six-speed manual, Nissan has developed a software system within the 370Z’s gearbox that automatically blips the revs on downshifts. Inevitably, it works in manual mode only on the paddle-shift auto; in the manual car, you can override the system and blip the revs yourself.