Review: Nissan 370Z (2009)
Impressive performance for a sub-£30k car. Nismo variant turns heads like a supercar.
Expensive to run. Poor fuel economy. More a muscle car than a sports car. Dated cabin.
Recently Added To This Review
Upgrades include black door handles and a black rear bumper fascia. Dark-tinted headlamps and rear combination lights – previously only available on the NISMO model – are now standard. It's... Read more
Electric steering lock failures quite widely reported in the USA now occurring in the UK. Cost to replace is £1,600. Read more
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Nissan 370Z (2009): At A Glance
- New prices start from £27,860
- Contract hire deals from £342.74 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 46–47
- On average it achieves 94% of the official MPG figure
With its aggressive, chunky looks and powerful V6 engine, the Nissan 370Z has plenty of wow factor. It turns heads - particularly those of teenage boys - as well as any supercar, but it is starting to show its age now, with high running costs, a disappointing cabin and poor comfort levels. Even so it has appeal, particularly for drivers who learned in the world of Gran Turismo.
Power comes from a 3.7-litre V6 that develops a hefty 328PS, or 344PS in Nismo form. It thrives on high revs, which means working the meaty gear change, but when the engine is on song it makes for serious pace – 0-62mph takes 5.2 seconds in the Nismo model. Sadly that pace isn’t accompanied by a symphonic noise - the 370Z feels a little agricultural and misses out on the aural theatre of the latest Audi TT or BMW M235i.
It also misses out on the delicacy and capability of rivals like the Audi TT. This is more of a muscle car than a sports car – it’s happier on a wide, sweeping A-road than an undulating B-road, where the short travel suspension and stiff ride make life difficult. Getting the power down without traction control cutting in is hard unless the surface is perfect - rare in the UK.
The stiffness also affects ride quality, with constant bouncing and jiggling in the cabin. This is made worse by seats with fairly poor lower back support - you’ll need breaks if you’re going on a long journey. You’ll also have to pack light, since the boot is awkwardly shallow. You'll also have to fill up regularly since fuel economy is poor -the official figure is 26.6mpg. Thankfully that is realistic in real world driving.
It might not be the most polished performance car on the market and it lacks the precision and composure of European rivals, but if you’ve grown up with Playstation driving games you might already have a soft spot for the Nissan 370Z. If that’s the case then it is good enough to impress, but for most buyers there are better options on the market.
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Nissan 370Z (2009): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 235 litres
The 370Z has a disappointing cabin. The centre stack uses dated looking plastics, with a jumble of buttons arranged in a less than user-friendly layout. On the plus side the instruments are fairly clear, though again they look a little dated. Fortunately, there are a few flourishes that lift things a little, including suede upholstery on GT and Nismo models.
Comfort levels leave a lot to be desired too - the driver's seat isn’t massively supportive on longer journeys, particularly in the more focused Nismo mode, while the steering wheel lacks any reach adjustment and over shoulder visibility is poor. Thankfully lateral support is good, so occupants shouldn’t be thrown around too much through corners.
The boot is shallow with a high load lip and, so while it offers enough room for shopping or a weekend trip, it is more or less useless for anything else. There are no rear seats, though, but you’re unlikely to need room for family gear like push chairs and child seats if you’ve opted for a Nissan 370Z.
Standard equipment isn’t too bad, with climate control, Bluetooth, keyless entry and automatic wipers as standard. Moving up to the GT variant adds a touchscreen system with navigatiom, but the latest Audi TT has an astoundingly good infotainment system that makes the Nissan look like an antique.
370Z Coupe comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, climate control, xenon headlights, push button start, keyless entry, Bluetooth, auto wipers, power adjustable seats with cloth upholstery and an AUX input.
GT adds 19-inch alloy wheels, BOSE audio system, leather and suede upholstery, a touchscreen system with navigation, cruise control with speed limiter, heated seats, lumbar support and a gear indicator.
Nismo adds the Nismo styling kit, 19-inch Rays lightweight alloy wheels, dual exhaust, Nismo seats and interior details.
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What's the Nissan 370Z (2009) like to drive?
The 370Z recipe is fairly traditional - there’s a big 3.7-litre V6 under the bonnet, linked by a six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Peak power is 328PS for the Coupe/GT or 344PS for the Nismo model, while torque is 363Nm or 371Nm for the Nismo. As you'd expect, official economy is poor at 26.6mpg, with emissions of 248g/km.
Many more recent performance models benefit from turbocharging but not the 370Z. That means the Nissan's engine needs to be revved hard to produce its peak torque output, with no low down shove like you get in something like an Audi TT TFSI. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean working the gearbox, which has a satisfying albeit clunky action.
It has a party trick when changing down though, replicating ‘heel and toe’ gearchanges by blipping the throttle for you. It’s a great way to show off to passengers and it’s genuinely useful when braking hard for corners. The steering is heftily weighted and accurate, but the 370Z is only really satisfying to drive on smooth, wide, sweeping roads.
Show it a B-road and it is less impressive. The stiff body and short travel suspension interrupt the balance of the car, which bucks and jiggles over bumps you wouldn’t even notice in other performance coupes. You really need to be switched on to make the most of the 370Z on a road like this, which you will either find rewarding or very frustrating.
If you’re a track day lover the 370Z is better. With enough space to wring the full potential out of the engine and a good quality surface it’s great fun, thanks to impressive levels of grip and good feedback through the chassis. It lacks the precision of a more finely tuned sports car like the noticeably pricier Porsche Cayman, but it still provides a lot of entertainment in the right environment.
Nissan offers the 370Z in Nismo trim, which not only adds a muscular, aggressive body kit but also ramps up the performance with an extra 16PS, along with additional stiffening to the chassis and revised suspension. These extras certainly give the car a bit more wow-factor, but they also make it less comfortable on the road. That doesn’t seem to bother buyers, though - the Nismo model is more popular than both the standard Coupe or GT variants.
|3.7 V6||27–27 mpg||5.3 s||248–274 g/km|
|3.7 V6 Automatic||27 mpg||5.6 s||245–271 g/km|
|3.7 V6 Nismo||27 mpg||5.2 s||248 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Nissan 370Z (2009)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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