Yes, yes, yes, oh yes! Stylish exterior, comfy seats, great sounding engine, cracking drive.
Oh dear me, no: ageing interior, some plastics look cheap.
We reviewed the auto here a few years ago and because not much has changed since then, all of those comments are still current. However, there have been a few updates and changes of opinion, so read on.
Since I last drove the 370Z the world has moved on and technology moved with it. From the outside, the 370Z is still as stunning as ever. That’s a good thing. It drives as well as ever and it’s now 12 grand cheaper. It’s been on the market for almost five years, which means it’s in the twilight years of its run. A drive still makes you feel special and the odd person still notices you, but the competition has come ahead in leaps and bounds. You can now get good looks, performance and handling much cheaper.
Interiors now bristle with all manner of gadgets and gizmos designed to make life easier for the driver and his passengers. The cabins now have soft touch plastics highlighting the good bits with hints of piano black and chrome. Some clever cars park themselves, while others explode in beeps buzzers and large friendly written warnings if you try to change lanes before checking over your shoulder. As if that wasn’t enough, you may even have the option of big red warnings of “brake now” displayed on your windscreen. They get very cranky when you don’t comply and throw out the anchors while switching the hazard flashers on.
Cars that have few of these options seem a little old hat now and I find myself loving the 370Z a little less for it. While I was doing my research, I came across these interesting facts. In the UK, the 370Z is only $4000AUD more than the Toyota 86. This means they are considered in the same league there. However, in Australia the 370Z was $34,000 more expensive than the Toyota 86 until the recent price drop in the 370Z of 12 grand, giving it a $22,000 between the cars.
We can ask several questions:
1. why is the 86 $4000 cheaper in Australia than it is in the UK?
2. Why is the 370Z $12,000 more expensive in Australia than in the UK?
3: Why is the 86/370Z price difference $4000 in the UK and $22,000 in Australia? (Remember, the 370Z had a $12,000 price drop or it would have been almost $34,000 difference).
Keep this in mind as you read on.
The exterior has changed little but it is as sexy as ever. It follows the rear engine and rear wheel drive format in a gorgeous two-seater coupe as a set by the 350Z. The exterior is fine just as it is and needs no tweaking.
The engine is also fine, though perhaps now Nissan might consider a teensy little turbo. It sounds wonderful but the output of 245kw seems modest when Volvo’s 3L V6 has 243KW. It has a nice wide band of torque to get that 1780kg body moving, although there is a heavy feeling about it that I can’t put my finger on. The speed-sensitive hydraulic power steering feels heavier than I remembered, especially at parking speeds. Perhaps this is because most modern cars have electric power steering that was once one of my pets hates. Now I am used to it, the older hydraulic steering feels unresponsive and old hat. Oh, how tastes change.
The auto didn’t feel quite so heavy, so perhaps gears one and two could be a little lower?
Apart from that, 370Z is wonderful on the road. The ride feel supple in true GT style. The long legs lend themselves to long distance cross country travel. You would need to trim your travel goods because the boot space is limited and the bins behind the seats offer little extra space.
I’d describe the handling as very capable rather than nimble. The steering allows lots of road feels in the old-school way classic sports cars do. The occasional bit of oversteer aside, the coupe feels planted on the road surface and even when pushed it grips well.
The cosy cabin has most things to hand without having to reach. The centre dials angle towards the driver, which is great but the centre LCD doesn’t and feels a little uncomfortable to look at. There are lots of reflections on it at certain times of the day. The buttons have direct access to the major functions making navigating through the menus easy, especially on the go. There is no radar cruise control, auto wipers, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, approaching traffic warning, auto parking and any number of other gismos available in cheaper cars. The dials look cheap and the LEDs on the fuel and oil temp are from another era, and not in a good way. The cabin feels cosseting but old hat. The dash needs a redesign to bring it up to date and for this money I’d expect a longer list of gadgets.
Before the 86 came to market, the choice for me was once an easy one. Now I would find it difficult to pay $22,000 more for the 370Z even though it offers more power, and higher performance. The 3.7L V6 has 245kw with 363Nm to get you to 100 in under six seconds, so it is no slouch. People do notice the 370Z, but perhaps not as they once did.
It still makes me feel special and I love it a lot.
Would I buy one with my own money? No. I’d now buy the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ because they are better value.