• Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Brandon Turkus / AOL

Vital Stats

Engine:
3.7L V6
Power:
350 HP / 276 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
5.3 Seconds (est.)
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,346 LBS
Seating:
2
Cargo:
6.9 CU-FT
MPG:
18 City / 26 HWY
Base Price:
$43,020
As Tested Price:
$46,370
Michigan is one of those places where we can sub-divide the seasons into good and bad portions, with each producing a noticeable shift. The week prior to my time in the 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo, it was 65 to 70 degrees and sunny, all week long. Anyone care to guess what the following week was like?

Windy, cold and damp weather typified my week in the Z, with temps hovering around 55 degrees and several days of showers. Yes, I got the first week of the bad part of fall. The Z was hardly happy during its time with me, but we both persevered, and I made a point of sprinting out to the garage anytime the ground seemed remotely dry enough to test this striking two-seater. That enthusiasm waned quickly, though, as the week wore on.

By all accounts, the Z is a car that I should like. It's an uncompromising sports car, but as I discovered during my travels, sometimes a little compromise is welcome, and living with a car like the Z – particularly the angrier, Nismo-tuned model – quickly becomes a case of too much of a good thing.

Driving Notes
  • The 370Z Nismo gets an uprated version of Nissan's 3.7-liter V6 engine, complete with 350 horsepower at 7,400 rpm and 276 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. The engine pulled well, provided I carefully managed the revs. Even with the retuned exhaust and ECU producing the Nismo's extra grunt (the standard engine produces 18 hp and 6 lb-ft less), the Z is prone to being caught flat-footed, but can be dynamite at the right engine speed and in the right gear. I don't consider these criticisms, by the way - having to manage the engine speed makes for a more involving drive.
  • The engine's sound, though, remains as raspy and unpleasant as ever, even with the new exhaust. This is one of those engines that's begging for the aftermarket to save its owners' ears, as it sounds grating under most circumstances. I'll make an exception at wide-open throttle between 3,500 and 4,500 rpm, when a proper singing voice sneaks out.
  • The sole gearbox choice for the 370Z Nismo is a six-speed manual. It requires a bit of strong-arming, as it has just a hint of notchiness at each gate, although again, I consider the extra effort an asset in a proper sports car. The clutch is fairly linear with a nice weight to the pedal and a broad and predictable catchpoint. It's let down, though, by a numb throttle response, which makes working the clutch more of a chore than it should be.
  • Nissan gave the 370Z Nismo an aesthetic overhaul for 2014, swapping out the uniform body color of previous models for a contrasting scheme that works well with our tester's Pearl White paint. The grey aero kit, mirrors, spoiler and wheels add some extra visual pop, while subtle red accents are noticeable on closer inspection.
  • It's a shame Nissan couldn't give the cabin a similar freshening. The Nismo variant sports an Alcantara-and-leather steering wheel, which adds a hint of specialness but isn't enough to hide the Z's age. Antiquated radio, climate and instrument cluster controls feel more suited to a Versa than Nissan's mighty Fairlady. And the fact this Nismo variant, which sits atop the 370Z hierarchy, can't be had with a navigation system is inexcusable.
  • For being a driver's car, I did not find the Z's cabin very accommodating. The Nismo-branded seats lack a suitable range of adjustment and the fixed lumbar does the driver no favors. I was shifting and squirming after about 45 minutes behind the wheel, just trying to find a better seating position. The steering and instrument cluster move as one, and offer no telescoping option - at just over six feet tall, I was forced to choose between bumping knees on the steering wheel or fully extending my arms to reach it, with neither being a desirable option.
  • The combination of Nismo-tuned shocks and springs and forged, 19-inch wheels from RAYS makes for a ride that is too firm for the street. On Michigan's sub-par roads, the Nismo Z heaves and hops about with excessive amounts of vertical motion, plenty of impact noises and generally poor manners on all but the smoothest of roads. Unless you have a racetrack in your back yard or live in a land where the roads are made of silk, the Nismo Z is simply too stiff to use as a daily driver.
  • The Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires are offset at P245/40R19 in front and P285/35R19 in the back. They offer up plenty of grip in cornering, but produce too much road noise in regular cruising. Like the suspension, their heroics are far outweighed by their annoyances in everyday use.
  • With a starting price for the Nismo trim at $43,020, not including a $790 destination charge, the flagship 370Z is already pricey. Replace the anemic, four-speaker stereo with the $1,350 Bose Package like in our tester, and the price climbs further. With the Z sitting in the $44,000 range, it's playing in the wheelhouse of some serious contenders. It's undercut by the more powerful Ford Mustang GT ($39,885 with the Track Package and Recaro Seats), Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE ($40,535 for a 2013 model), and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track ($33,895). It also faces potential cross-shop pressure on the higher end from the Audi TTS ($48,700) and even the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ($51,000).
  • The biggest challenger to the 370Z Nismo, though, is the regular 370Z Sport. At $33,830, I estimate that it will do 85 percent of what the 370Z Nismo will, but for $10,000 less, and will also be a far more tolerable car to live with on a daily basis. If you find yourself at the Nissan dealer with your eyes on the striking, two-seat Z, just go for the Sport.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 83 Comments
      tool0117
      • 1 Year Ago
      Actually a useful article that really hit on the livability and practicality of the car as a DD. Much better than 5 paragraphs about in-dash nav screens and paint options, which I have seen on here before. I like the Z but, as mentioned in this article, it's really starting to show its age now vs. fresher competition. $40k for the Nismo is a bit much too stomach considering how good the higher-end NA V8 mustangs and camaros are. Can't wait to see the next Z, though.
        Justin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @tool0117
        I agree, most people buy one car that they have to live with going to work every day and this puts the car into perspective. I don't care for this Z but am also really looking forward to the next one.
      Spartan
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you want to be comfortable, buy the G37 instead. If you want a sports car, save you money and get the 370Z Sport unless you absolutely have to have the NISMO. Or just wait until the next generation model comes out. This has been on the road since 2008 and is already past its sell by date.
        HydraulicDragon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spartan
        *2009 But yeah, there's a new one going to be shown real soon ;)
          Feurig
          • 1 Year Ago
          @HydraulicDragon
          By a normal model cycle of 7 years, that means we're getting one for MY 2016. Still quite a ways away.
      k_m94
      • 1 Year Ago
      A 370Z is a great car for $30-35k. $46k for something essentially worse than standard is laughable.
      Anonymous
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm a long time Z car fun dating back to Datsun days, but it REALLY needs an update.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      I love the car pictured above exactly as is. For some reason I don't really like the 370Z without a Nismo kit. Without that, its just a turtle body car.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Love the car, maybe it should come with some kind of adaptive suspension. I'm sure owners love the car on a perfectly flat track, but it shouldn't have to ride like a grocery store cart.
      Rob
      • 1 Year Ago
      The main problem with this car is every time I drive by the Swanton VT Ford dealer (Barrett Ford I think) I see a red 2012 Boss and green 2013 Boss. Take your pick, $45k. Every time I go by I feel like I could make the best worst decision!
      Andrew Ramos
      • 1 Year Ago
      What's new about this? Couldn't this have been written 4 years ago?
      Brodz
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Z has always been a sporty GT... it's a car you live with, not take to the track.
      Bobby_Sards
      • 1 Year Ago
      "PULL ME OVER"
      Charrop
      • 1 Year Ago
      500lb/in springs on low profile tires...ouch
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Manual Transmission LOL, sorry no sale here. It's 2013, get with the program, either offer an automatic with paddle shifters or expect to see 5 units and kill the car. No auto...............no sale.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
        GR
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Seal Rchin, Guess what!? Nissan has a car just for you! It's called a Versa with a CVT! Enjoy!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          Boy you really think i have it out for you, don't you. Talk about being paranoid.
        J
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Sounds like someone needs to learn how to drive.
        JamesC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Pretty sure this is sarcasm...
          Seal Rchin
          • 1 Year Ago
          @JamesC
          No. Dude no one knows or wants to use manuals. Why should people not buy a car simply because they want to have TWO hands on the wheel.
        Bobby_Sards
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        ..said the chief engineer of the 2014 GT3
        msspamrefuge
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        Someone with an automatic that high on their musts list is apt to bypass the Nismo altogether. It seens as if its only consolation to being daily-driver friendly is that it has four wheels, a cabin, and a functioning powertrain.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        [blocked]
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