On one hand, the Nissan 370Z provides all the thrills and most of the dynamic ability you could possibly want from a front-engined, rear-drive car. The way it steers and handles is almost from a bygone era in which aspects such as ultimate body control and outright grip take a back seat to the level of feel and fun factor on offer.
It’s a deliberate attempt by Nissan to make the 370Z as enjoyable and communicative as possible to drive, and if that means it doesn’t break any records with its g-force readings at the test track, so be it. The 370Z isn’t meant to be a rule breaker in the laboratory in the first place.
As such, and in the right conditions, the 370Z can be a riot to drive. Although it’s extremely well sorted ultimately, with fine body control and bags of grip on or near the limit, it also moves around in a way that most modern sports cars wouldn’t dream of doing. It’s quite soft at the rear, and you can use this to your advantage if you know how. As a result, it also rides pretty decently for a sports car and it has a lovely, honest feel to its steering.
But there is one rather significant caveat that almost undoes all of the 370Z’s good work here: the amount of tyre roar. How loud and how intrusive this becomes depends almost entirely on what sort of road surface you’re travelling on.
Over brand new or Continental roads, it’s nowhere near as much of an issue as it is in the UK. Most road surfaces in the UK are not as good as they are in mainland Europe, which means that the 370Z, despite being a great-handling car, is a disappointingly poor long-distance one for us British drivers.
Slight suspension revisions to the 370Z GT have yielded significant benefits. Recalibrated dampers increase stability and road holding without upsetting the 370Z's honest handling approach. At higher speeds, the GT remains composed and confidence-inspiring where the standard 370Z can feel skittish.
In the Nismo version, the tuning arm has added five body struts to increase the 370Z's rigidity. The result is spring rates increased by 14 per cent at the front, and damper rates that are 23 per cent stiffer at the front, and 41 per cent stiffer at the rear. Despite the greater focus it’s not overly troubled by poor surfaces and its composure and control at speed is impressive.
The steering feels slightly quicker, if little improved for actual feel.