Review – Nissan 370Z Nismo

Review Score

Handling 9
Performance 9
Price 8
Design 8
Economy 7
Safety 8
Fun 9
Practicality 6
Interior 8
Equipment and Technology 9

Overall: 8.10

nissan 370z nismo white review
First of all I need to start with an apology. You see, it’s Sunday morning and the great country roads of the New Forest aren’t far from me so it seemed like a great idea to go out into the countryside for a drive. When I got there I noticed there were lots of people dressed smartly, carrying bunches of flowers and transporting people older than themselves around in their cars. Then it dawned on me it was Mothers’ Day and those who weren’t going out for Sunday lunch in a country pub were having a nice quiet drive or going for a walk. And here I was in the brilliantly unsubtle Nissan 370Z Nismo itching to find even half a mile of clear forest road that wasn’t adorned with appreciative offspring. Therefore, if I startled your mother then I am very sorry. It took some searching, but eventually I managed to leave the crowds behind and find out what the 370Z Nismo really has to offer…

nissan 370z nismo white review

Design and Styling

Before I even get into what it feels like to drive, I want to take a moment just to look at the car itself. There isn’t an angle of the 370Z Nismo that isn’t interesting, if you have even a drop of petrol flowing through your veins. Before you even hear the engine or see it move a metre, this looks like a car that’s going to excite. It’s like it’s enticing you to jump in so it can show you what it’s made of.

The basic shape is the epitome of a sports car design and the added chin and boot spoilers just complete the picture, as do the wide Bridgestone tyres on the stunning 19 inch rims that really show off the dinner plate size disc brakes and red callipers that lurk behind. The rear tyres are slightly wider at 275 mm than the fronts at 245 mm to help it lay down its plentiful rear wheel drive power, and then there are those two stainless steel tipped cannon-like exhaust pipes at the back to boom out the V6’s thunderous tones, ready to trumpet like a stuck elephant as the revs head into the red zone.

It seems there is someone in the Nissan styling department who fancies himself as a bit of a Zorro, and he has nipped round the entire car adoring it with swooshing Z’s in various positions to remind us which family this car is a part of. One such nifty Z can be found at each side of the car beneath the wing mirrors in a circular surround. But this is not just a mere Z badge, it’s actually the side indicator repeater, so onlookers are treated to a flashing orange backlit Z every time you make a signalled turn.

nissan 370z nismo white review cabin

Cabin

The cabin feels totally motorsport specced and focused. You slide your legs in and sit low in the bucket sports seats, each embroidered with obligatory Nismo logo. They’re certainly not padded armchairs, yet they are actually extremely comfortable and have got plenty of adjustments to make sure you can get the perfect fit. With your legs stretched out to meet the aluminium pedals, and a floor mounted accelerator, it feels right to sit with your body close to the wheel with the dials in line with your face.

Look forward, and right in the centre is big bold rev counter that starts to redline at the exciting side of 7500 rpm but the glorious warble of the exhausts will definitely make you take notice at anything north of five. Fuel and engine temperature are displayed by retro-style horizontal banks of tiny orange LEDs either side of the digital display for the trip computer, which you can use to display a range of read outs including MPG, length of journey and outside temperature. If your local authority is fond of a speed camera or two, you’ll need to be careful with the relatively small speedo, as it’s not always that easy to judge exact speed due to the closeness of the indicator lines and no option for a digital readout anywhere.

There are of course just two seats, with a storage tray beneath each seat and a whacking great big anti-roll bar behind them. Attached to said roll bar is an impressive looking plaque that shows which number 370Z Nismo you’re driving, which is a nice touch.

In the centre of the dashboard, above the touchscreen sat nav and entertainment system, sit a trio of circular dials angled towards the driver, showing oil temperature, battery voltage and a clock. As there is already a clock on the top right of the sat nav screen this one could probably have been put to better use as another vehicle performance gauge of some sort. Especially as British Summer Time has kicked in today, as well at it being Mothers’ day, and only the sat nav clock has changed itself, so now I’m looking at two clocks a matter of centimetres apart but reading an hour different. I now have no idea whether I’m late for lunch, but to be honest that’s a great excuse to spend some more time behind the wheel.

nissan 370z nismo white review steering wheel

Behind the Wheel

There’s a great amount of theatre involved every time you drive the 370Z Nismo, from the initial push of the orange start button, through every gear change and prod of the accelerator. No journey is mundane; every drive feels like an occasion, and I like that in a car. On the downshifts it self throttle blips, causing a brief but concentrated rumble to emanate behind you each time. Think of it as sounding like you’ve just walked away from a grenade going off inside a safe.

Rear visibility is practically nonexistent, as someone has gone and put a big black bookshelf of a spoiler right across it, rendering the rear window largely pointless apart from a thin slit at the top and another one at the bottom. Thankfully, Nissan have thought about the need to see what’s going on behind when reversing and have fitted a rear bumper mounted colour camera. If you intend on reaching the upper levels of performance on road, just remember you won’t be able yo see your friendly member for the local constabulary coming up behind you.

To drive it is nothing less than exhilarating, with just the right among of power to make you respect it rather than fear it. You will however need to be mindful of the exceptionally low ground clearance of just 11.5 cm, thanks to the chin spoiler that seems like it’s keen to get intimate with the tarmac at every opportunity, or more likely a kerbstone or speed hump. Try not to be alarmed, but driving over a speed bump will induce a stupid grimace to appear on your face, as you will the chin spoiler to slip over it without making contact.

It might sound like an odd thing to say, but all too often you end up getting to where you’re going disappointingly quickly. Really put your foot down and in too short a time you’re likely to find yourself nearing the bumper of the car in front that seemed quite far away from you. It’s a car that you are more than happy to prolong the experience of piloting, even it means having a flagrant disregard to taking the most direct route home.

After I’d gone deep into the New Forest and realised that now I was actually very late for lunch, I thought I’d test the sat nav out by setting it for home, having a bit more of a gentle drive and popping in a good driving album to give the Bose sound system a try. The sat nav system itself is actually very good: clear instructions, decent image quality and up to date maps, plus it’ll still display at the bottom of the screen the name of the music track you’re playing. However, it did alarm me slightly to see it flash up ‘Go Your Own Way’ at the bottom of the screen until I realised that the CD I’d just put in was Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits album and that was the track name! This was shortly followed by another apt title, ‘Keep On Going’, to which I was quite happy to oblige.

nissan 370z nismo white review

Engine, Gearbox and Performance

A rumbling 3.7 litre V6 is what has been burbling away beneath the bonnet, ready to lay down 344 PS via the rear wheels at the drop of a hat and transport me and a tonne and a half of Nismo goodness towards the horizon with a 0-62mph time of a mere 5.2 seconds; the same speed as a Maserati GranTurismo, and half a second quicker than a Porsche Boxster. As expected with a front engined car, the weight is slightly biased towards the front, with a 53/47 front/rear distribution. Oodles of torque is also on tap; 371 Nm of it to be precise.

I particularly liked the brilliantly normal gearbox. No sequential boxes, no paddle shifts, just a straightforward six speed manual box in a normal H pattern layout. There’s a reassuring firmness to moving the gearstick around the gate and it feels right to really shove it from gear to gear with firmness and conviction: think wooden spoon in treacle rather than chopstick in soup. It makes you feel involved and connected in what is happening, rather than just going through the essential motions to get the car to take you from A to B.


nissan 370z nismo white review boot space

Boot

Are you fond of pizza, kippers and other especially flat foods? If so, you’re in luck, as the boot is as shallow as a reality TV star. There’s plenty of length and width to the 370Z’s boot but just not much depth, so you’ll need to give your meal planning some thought if you intend using it to transport your weekly shop.

There is a roller blind style tonneau cover to conceal the contents of the boot when driving around but this can always be retracted to give a crucial bit more height. The official boot capacity is 235 litres, which is less than you get in the boot of the mid-engined Porsche Cayman, and when you lift up the carpet there’s not even a spare tyre in there, just a can of expanding foam and some equipment for the Bose audio system. That other good looking two seater, the Jaguar F-Type Coupe, gets a comparatively roomy 407 litres, for example.

nissan 370z nismo white review bose speakers

Suspension and Steering

From the motorsport style looks, I was expecting a bone crunchingly firm suspension setup, but whilst a car like this is never going to be as soft as a princess’s mattress, the ride has been set up sensibly between a degree of comfort and being able to feel was is happening where tyre tread meets tarmac. Combined with the comfort of the seats, the generously sized fuel tank and the level of onboard equipment, you really do feel like you could traverse a continent in comfort and not emerge broken at the end of it.

The power steering is speed sensitive, but feels precise and gives you the feeling the car is really glued to the road. The sides of the Nismo sports steering wheel are clad in grippy alcantara, with a ring of red leather at the top to help you easily get the front wheels pointing back to straight ahead.

Safety and Security

The huge brakes are dinner plate sized 35 cm ventilated discs both front and back, giving you plenty of stopping power when you need it and giving you the confidence to let the car perform at it best, safe in the knowledge that you can call a halt to proceedings when necessary. When you’re sat in the cabin you do feel very cocooned in a metal bubble that exudes an inherent sense of strength, plus if things should go wrong there are also airbags all round to cushion those inside.

Wipers and lights are both automatic, and extra praise must be given to the excellent bi-xenon headlamps, which have an auto level facility and really do project down the road to give you a great field of vision and extra driving confidence at night.

Prices, Equipment and Options

The on the road price for the Nissan 370Z Nismo is £36,995 and comes with a pleasingly generous bundle of goodies as standard, including climate control air conditioning, a high res touch screen sat nav, the reversing camera and a premium Bose sound system with DVD player, six speakers, two woofers and it’s own nine gig hard drive, plus a lot more. For further connectivity, simply flip up the armrest cover of the centre console and you’ll find a storage compartment with 12 volt power socket and a range of auxiliary audio connections, including one for your iPod.

Weary from blasting your 370Z Nismo hither and thither, I expect you’ll be tired and in need of your nearest Michelin starred restaurant. If so, you’ll find the built in Michelin guide extremely helpful in conveying you swiftly towards a decent bit of grub. It’ll even tell you what specialities to look out for and who the chef is. Literally no-one with a bodykit and a spoiler has ever has this accessibility to sophistication before now. Do let me know how you get on.

Cost of Ownership

In truth, fuel consumption is going to vary greatly depending on the weight of your right foot and the frequency with with you deploy it. Thanks to the generous 72 litre fuel tank you can really settle into a proper road trip without having to keep visiting a forecourt, even if you do want to drive it enthusiastically. Officially, combined fuel consumption is 26.6 mpg with 248 g/km of CO2. This does of course have an impact on road tax costs, with the 370Z Nismo being placed in Band L (currently £475), which is only one band down from the top level.

Whilst it’s always good to keep fuel economy in mind, I’m guessing that those considering buying such a car don’t place it as a top priority. As well as allowing plenty each month for fuel, depending on your no claims history you may want to be sitting down when getting a quote, as the 370Z Nismo is scored rather highly in terms of insurance group, being 19 of of 20 or 46 out of 50.

nissan 370z nismo white review

Quite simply, what a car. I had expected it was going to be good, long before it even arrived, and I was certainly not disappointed. It’s a genuine head turner in the truest sense of the phrase, with people of all ages and tastes stopping to gawp at its outrageously sporting looks. Even people who don’t normally turn their heads to look at cars will feel the need to do so, even if it’s just to see what all the noise is about.

I also noticed a great deal of what I shall call ‘Z-erarderie’; the immense appreciation from drivers of other Nissan ‘Z cars’, however old and scarred their own cars were, they felt like they were in the club with me. These are clearly people who are genuine enthusiasts, with no malice or jealously that someone was driving around in a better, newer shiner incarnation of their car. They were simply glad it existed and could be enjoyed almost collectively, and that pretty much sums up what this car is all about: you’ll be buying a car you’ll love, and so will everyone else. I therefore urge you to go forth and fulfil your public duty.

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