2010 Nissan 370Z

Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6 man trans

2010 nissan 370z Reviews and News

BMW M3 Honda Civic SI Hp
Desire isn't the only factor that dictates the cars we own
Our most vivid, gasoline-fueled dreams are often sidetracked by more practical realities-financial, familial, and otherwise. Take heart, though, because there has never been a better selection of prodigious yet pragmatic performers. To suggest the way an enthusiast might ascend the automotive ladder in life, from his (or her) twenties to his thirties to his forties, we gathered three pairs of cars with increasing price tags and increasing capabilities. Then we turned the keys over to a gearhead who fits the target demographic and is ready to climb the ladder.
Ford Mustang GT Nissan 370Z Rear Front
STAGE 1: The kids are alright
Even cheap compacts can let it all hang out on race weekend.
Honda Civic SI Volkswagen GTI Rear
The Participants
Tom Forst: White-collar wage slave during the week, take-no-prisoners racer on Sunday.
Honda Civic Si: A bit long-in-the-tooth but still provides great value -- and an awesome sound track.
Volkswagen GTI: Luxury-car refinement and German sports car performance in compact-car clothing.
For longer than just about anyone else, Volkswagen and Honda have been filling the gap for the twenty-something enthusiast. Starting with an eminently affordable small car, each automaker then drops in a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for about 200 hp, swaps in a heap of suspension goodies, and adds a smattering of spoilers and badges. Just like that, the ubiquitous Civic and Golf are transformed into the legendary Si and GTI. Fun to drive, cheap to run, and tasteful enough to take to a job-a real job-both cars perfectly suit the up-and-coming, car-crazy young adult. But which is better?
To find out, we headed to Belle Isle in Detroit, where the Michigan Sports Car Club had turned a parking lot into a sprawling autocross course. Requiring little investment from the driver aside from a helmet, and posing little risk to the car, autocrossing is an ideal gateway to racing for a cash-strapped young person (although regulars find plenty of ways to invest obscene amounts of money). It also happens to be the perfect venue for sorting out two compact cars that post nearly identical performance numbers. To keep everything consistent and to get some real-world input, we brought along our own twenty-eight-year-old racing driver, Tom Forst. An industrial engineer from Ortonville, Michigan, during the week, Forst spends his weekends tearing up Waterford Hills raceway in a four-cylinder Fox-body Ford Mustang.
Much like war and J. R. R. Tolkien novels, autocrossing features a few moments of heart-pounding action separated by hours of boredom -- meaning we have a long time to wait. At least this gives Forst plenty of time to familiarize himself with his two steeds. He immediately takes to the GTI's mature, refined interior over the Honda's more utilitarian (read: cheaper-looking) cabin. He does, however, appreciate the Civic's thickly bolstered driver's seat. "It's really firm and holds you in place," he says.
We also get a chance to scope out the competition, who have parked in various demographic and automotive cliques. There are the mostly gray-haired men easing Chevy Corvettes off trailers in the center and a few young guns in heavily modified Dodge/Plymouth Neons near the Porta-John. There are also plenty of VWs like ours, including a 2010 GTI piloted by, surprise, an engineer in his mid-twenties. The Civic guys, for their part, are sequestered in a far corner, smoking and looking tough. The bumper sticker on one late-model Si reads, "I love hatrs." They also seem slightly younger than their German-loving peers, with one owner identifying himself as a twenty-two-year-old med student.
Finally, after about an hour of crawling toward the starting position in the ninety-degree heat, Forst gets his chance in the Civic. He looks pretty smooth and, unlike some of the other drivers, doesn't take out half the cones on his first go-round. His times, though, are a bit slow. Fourteen seconds off the lead in the first run, a few ticks better in the second. Like any good racer, Forst blames the car. "The Civic pushes like a truck," he grouses. And although the Civic comes with a limited-slip differential, not enough of its 197 hp makes it to the pavement, as the inner wheel squeals out of every turn (with the standard all-season Michelin tires, at least). Maybe this is why Mr. Hatr Lover is sticking to the parking lot.
Honda Civic SI Side 2
After some more waiting, Forst gets to take a run in the GTI. His times immediately improve by about two seconds. Then four seconds. More telling is the smile on his face when he finds his way over to our spot in the shade. "There's a clear difference in the handling and feel of the car," he says. "You can feel when the back end is rotating and where it is." Clearly, the VW's fat rear antiroll bar and clever use of ABS to control wheel spin exiting corners -- the big advancements on the sixth-gen model -- are paying off.
However, it's not all grim news for the Civic, which, it must be noted, is about $2500 cheaper than our GTI despite coming equipped with a navigation system. For one, it can be the more engaging of the two cars on the street, where its quick steering and howling 2.0-liter squeeze out more adrenaline than the more relaxed GTI and its lower-revving turbo engine. "The Civic is a fun car to drive -- it just wouldn't be the one I'd bring out here," concludes Forst. The Si also showcases Honda's continuing devotion to, and mastery of, the manual gearbox. The VW's six-speed manual, by comparison, feels a bit rubbery and gives Forst considerable trouble on one run.
At the end of the day, though, the Civic's charm simply cannot overcome the German hatch's unyielding superiority. There's little doubt, in Forst's mind or ours, that the GTI is the better choice for the up-and-coming twenty-year-old, both as comfortable, upscale transportation to work during the week and as a cone-slicing weapon on the weekends.
Engine (Base/As Tested) : $22,955/$24,805
Engine: 2.0L I-4, 197 hp, 139 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel
Honda Civic SI Volkswagen GTI Rear
Engine (base/as tested) : $23,990/$27,255
Engine: 2.0L turbo I-4, 200 hp, 207 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel
Bargain Bin
Comfortable and in control. Bionic driving gloves, $40 at www.bionicgloves.com/
Snug yet flexible for precise pedal inputs. Oakley Race Low 2, $90 at www.oakley.com/
Record your on-track antics in high-def. Flip ultra HD, $200 at theflip.com and panavise 809-PG mount, $43 at www.panavise.com
Hot Import Nights events transform major cities into motor cities with car shows, tuner parts, and fast driving. www.hotimportnights.com
STAGE 2: Dad's night out
A sexy sports car is just the trick for escaping the responsibilities of one's thirties.
Nissan 370Z Ford Mustang GT Front End
The Participants
Jay Caldwell: Divides his time among his business, his family, and his 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible. Ford Mustang GT: The pony car has grown up but can still lay down the rubber, thanks to its fabulous 5.0-liter V-8. Nissan 370Z: The Z is celebrating its fortieth birthday but doesn't rest on its laurels.
If you've read thirty-two-year-old Ezra Dyer's column this month, you're fully aware of how the thirties can change the priorities of even the most devout car nut. (If you haven't, he's on page 26. Go ahead, we'll wait.) The house, the kids, the job. They don't seem to leave much time for indulging in cool cars. This, however, is precisely why vehicles like the Ford Mustang GT and the Nissan 370Z thrive. Priced beyond the means of all but the most spoiled of youths, they serve as perfect getaway vehicles from the crushing responsibilities of adulthood.
The desire for just such an escape takes us to Detroit's annual Woodward Dream Cruise in a grabber blue Mustang GT premium and a fortieth-anniversary-edition Nissan 370Z. With us is a real, live thirty-eight-year-old, Jay Caldwell of Shelby Township, Michigan. As the owner of both a local Meineke Car Care and a pristinely restored 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible, Caldwell certainly fits the bill as a car guy. But he's also a busy family man with a two-year-old daughter and a car-crazy nine-year-old son. Racing? Forget it. "I'm too old for that. I'd rather go out for ice cream with my kids," he says with a laugh.
Good thing. Because not much racing is happening as we pull onto Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, just north of Detroit. Instead, clumps of Corvettes, Chargers, and Trans Ams are creeping along at no more than 20 mph, the air shimmering with big-block heat and unfiltered exhaust fumes. Even among this impressive crowd, our two rides stand out. The 370Z's distinctly modern and, yes, Japanese lines provide a refreshing contrast to the vintage American muscle car overload around us. Even our model, which marks four decades since the 240Z's arrival on our shores with special gray paint and unique interior touches, has few overtly retro touches. "The Z has a ton of history, but it doesn't try to relive the old days," comments Caldwell. And yet he's also drawn to the Mustang, which recalls the 1960s with every crease in its sheetmetal. He particularly admires Ford's attention to detail, such as the sequential rear turn signals. The 5.0 badges don't hurt, either, and drivers of lesser Mustangs nod in deference as we pass.
The glorified traffic jam also gives Caldwell a chance to take in how the interiors of the Mustang and the 370Z have matured with their recent updates. Caldwell at first seems to prefer the Mustang for practical reasons-he finds the stereo crisper and cleaner and likes the idea of having a back seat for his kids. But he wavers when he sinks into the Z's red leather driver's seat and settles his hands on the perfectly positioned steering wheel. "You become a part of the Nissan," he says.
Nissan 370Z Ford Mustang GT Side In Motion
Finally, as dusk descends and we edge past 8 Mile Road, which marks the dividing line between Detroit and its northern suburbs, the traffic eases up. Welcome to Mustang territory. "This one's just brute power," Caldwell says as he gives the GT a bit of throttle. The heavy police presence prevents us from submitting to spectators' calls to race, but our separate closed-course testing confirms that the 412-hp 'Stang owns the 332-hp Nissan by about a second both in the 0-to-60-mph sprint and through the quarter mile. And then there's the sound. Whereas the Z's aging VQ V-6 is all noise, vibration, and harshness, the Mustang's new V-8 is loud and menacing when it should be and nearly sewing-machine smooth the rest of the time. The Nissan wins some points for its novel manual gearbox, which not only has slightly smoother throws than the Mustang's stick but also impresses Caldwell with its ability to match revs automatically on downshifts. "I do like that," he confirms. Ride quality is mostly a wash between the two cars, save for when just the right frequency of potholes hits the Mustang's live rear axle and sets its occupants bouncing.
By 10:30 p.m., the party's over, as police are demanding that the muscle-car-loving spectators go home. Plus, Caldwell needs to get back to being a family man. But he's enjoyed the escape provided by each of these sporty cars, albeit in different ways. "I wish I could combine the best elements of both cars," he notes. He's reticent to pick a winner, but he admits that his son would have less trouble picking between the two. "I think Sam would like the Mustang." We can't help but agree. If we were going all out on a racetrack, we'd likely pick the lighter, more sophisticated Z. But here on the streets, where a real thirty-something will actually drive it, the more comfortable, more refined Mustang seems like the smarter choice. Ford's V-8-powered pony car remains visceral and brutish enough to please any testosterone-addled teenager but has evolved such that it also meets the more demanding tastes of the thirty-somethings who can actually afford one.
Price (base/as tested): $30,495/$41,830
Engine: 5.0L V-8, 412 hp, 390 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Rear-wheel
Nissan 370Z Side
Price (base/as tested): $31,160/$40,160
Engine: 3.7L V-6, 332 hp, 270 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Start Saving
More track time means you'll be wanting a lighter and cooler helmet. HJC Motorsports Si-12, $700 at www.hjc-motorsports.com
Record your times at the racetrack, and then download the results the next day. mylaps car transponder, $399 at www.mylaps.com
Go to a racing school, where a professional instructor and some time on a track will help you learn the fastest way around the pavement.
STAGE 3: Adults have all the fun.
More power, more speed, and more fun in the most unassuming packages.
The Participants
Jim Zamberlan: A fan of German metal, manual transmissions, and the occasional track day.
BMW M3: A veritable legend that has long stood atop the automotive pantheon for its effortless speed and rewarding feedback.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG: It makes more horsepower and torque than the M3, but the C63 is unquestionably the underdog here.
With the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, perfectly adult wrappers mask the penchant for juvenile mischief, making these sport sedans ripe for the professional who's also a speed freak. Four doors and their familiar body shapes proclaim "practical!" "upscale!" "stable!" when parked in the corporate corral. Yet the subtle styling cues are enough that anybody who knows a clutch pedal from a brake recognizes that they're looking at two credible track cars.
We're verifying that credibility at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan, where we've laid down a mere $60 for a couple hours of open track during a Tuesday night test-and-tune session. Our driver is a serious German car fan, forty-six-year-old Jim Zamberlan. After his high-school graduation gift -- a Triumph Spitfire -- was totaled in a parking lot, Zamberlan picked up his first Teutonic machine, an '86 Volkswagen GTI. He currently owns a 2010 Audi A4 Avant and a 2004 Volkswagen R32 that he takes to the track a few times per year.
After Zamberlan runs his initial laps in the C63, we're relegated to the parking lot while a Formula Continental driver shakes down his open-wheel car for the coming weekend's race. "I've always been a manual guy," Zamberlan pronounces. "Certainly, I can see the appeal of a good automatic transmission, because you immediately feel like Michael Schumacher with the rev matching. But at the end of the day, I'd probably buy a three-pedal car." Only one car here -- the M3 -- is available with a manual transmission, and both cars we've brought to the track use automatics with seven forward gears and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Zamberlan takes off for another twenty-minute session, this time in the Melbourne red M3, and returns knowing he's just driven the better track car. "It's clear to me that, in the right hands, this is ultimately the more capable car," he says, acknowledging that the C63 understeers more readily than the BMW. In addition to a more nimble chassis, the BMW offers greater range in character with electronically adjustable dampers, the ability to alter shift speeds in the dual-clutch gearbox, and the convenient "M" button on the steering wheel to activate your preferred settings. The Mercedes relies on passive dampers that are tuned for a livable ride that's still confident on the track.
Mercedes-Benz's $5950 AMG Development package stretches output from 451 hp to 481 hp, and the additional 2.2 liters of displacement over the BMW gives the C63 an additional 148 lb-ft of torque. That's an absolute boon for daily driving, but on the track, we're playing at the top end of the tachometer, and the BMW keeps up while humming happily and aggressively so close to its 414-hp peak at 8300 rpm.
BMW M3 Front In Motion
The C63 tops its massive torque with an intoxicating exhaust note, something that absolutely enchants Zamberlan. "To me, it's so unexpected that the Mercedes would sound better." The M3's exhaust is decadent as well, but the graceful crescendo is more like that of a high-strung racing car than the deep, rowdy fracas of the AMG. Our M3 also emits a disappointing heat-shield rattle akin to what you'd expect from a modded mid-'90s Honda Civic every time it takes off from a stop.
Peering through the passenger window, Zamberlan calls out the BMW's nondescript cabin: "That does not look like a $60,000 interior." The Mercedes seats also provide better lateral support than those in the M3, particularly from the bottom-cushion bolsters, reminding Zamberlan of the stock König buckets in his R32.
"I just felt comfortable in the Mercedes, period," concludes Zamberlan. "I would get more out of it faster." And what about that automatic transmission? "If I'd driven an M3 with a manual, would I change my mind? I don't know, but I will grudgingly admit that the Mercedes' seven-speed auto was very, very good."
"If every day was a track day, I'd probably go with the M3 just because I'm fairly positive that, given time and familiarity with the limits of both, I could post a faster lap in the BMW," Zamberlan suggests. "But in the real world, I just connected more with the C63 than I did with the M3, and while the Mercedes' ultimate limits may be slightly lower in the hands of someone far more skilled, I enjoyed it immensely on the track."
Price (base/as tested): $57,575/$66,775
Engine: 4.0L V-8, 414 hp, 295 lb-ft
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
BMW M3 Side In Motion
Price: (basae/as tested): $60,325/$77,105
Engine: 6.2L V-8, 481 hp, 443 lb-ft
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel
If you have to ask...
Slip into a full racing suit before sliding behind the wheel. SPARCO PROFY, $949 AT www.sparcousa.com/
Capture every turn with video, audio, vehicle data, and lap information. Race-KeepeR SE STarts at $1395, www.race-keeper.com
No race fan's life is complete without a journey to attend one of the classic races. Try skipping the ovals of NASCAR and Indy and head for the world's oldest endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. www.lemans.org
0908 09 Pl+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+side View
0908 09 Z+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+side View
This may be Nissan's first graceful convertible. The 350Z convertible looked very much like a hatchet job, executed after the hatchback coupe was designed. The old 300ZX was even worse, with its basket-handle roof bar; the 240SX convertible, from the same era, was another ungainly piece, with its B-pillar stubs.
As much as the 370Z is improved on the outside, it's even better when you're on the inside looking out. The swept-down door panels curb the sitting-in-a-barrel feeling imparted by the old car, and it's great to look out over the sculpted hood. Additionally, Nissan, which only recently cost-cut its way to some of the industry's crappiest interiors (including that of the '04 350Z) has done a handbrake turn, and the new 370Z is a welcome beneficiary. Not only are the door armrest and panels nicely padded, but so are the sides of the console, against which your leg rests. The steering wheel feels great, and Nissan's nav/stereo/trip computer interface is one of the easiest in the business. The seats, which are heated and cooled, have lots of lateral support, but they're also very firm which could feel confining on a long trip.
The convertible top is nicely finished inside and, with a decent-sized rear window and reasonable blind spots, the view out isn't too bad. The chromed button to operate the power top is easy to find, and Nissan brags that the car needn't be at a dead stop for the top to be raised or lowered. But it can be operated only at speeds up to 3 mph; Porsche allows a far more practical 30 mph. Also, push the button on the door handle and you can lower the top before getting in, which is fine, but an even better trick would be to have a button on the remote to lower or raise the top, as BMWs do.
This 3.7-liter, fourth generation of Nissan's VQ V-6 sounds better than other recent examples of this engine, and it certainly flings the 370Z down the road with enthusiasm, despite the automatic transmission in our test car. Wind buffeting at 80 mph is minimal. My drive along Michigan's arrow-straight freeways wasn't much of a handling test, although the 370Z was not upset by bumps on the off-ramps; in fact, the ride over bad pavement was one of this car's most pleasant surprises. The steering effort and quickness felt right, but the Z lacks that last measure of tactility that makes the steering in a Boxster so divine.
Overall, an impressive first drive. The Z roadster is as good to drive as it is to look at, and it's a car that seems like it would be fun to live with, as well.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
0908 04 Z+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+paddle Shifter
Let's go back to that interior, especially the metal pieces and how well they are crafted. I think Nissan hired a machinist to concoct the perfectly, whimsically carved and molded bits of satiny aluminum. I'm talking about the small knurled rectangles on the steering wheel that operate cruise control. The trim ring around the pushbutton starter. The Z in the center of the steering wheel. The shift paddle clefs. The compound surfacing of the shift lever trim plate and the trim plates around the speedometer and the other gauges in the instrument binnacle. It's all entrancing and exquisitely fitted. This is an interior on Audi's plane of perfection, but funkier.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
0908 01 Z+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+interior View
Our test car's color combination - silver over maroon with a maroon top - is not for the faint of fashion, but the different hues mesh well. Aside from a retractable roof and some options, it was a familiar cockpit to enter, as I had recently driven our 370Z coupe test car. I like the intimate nature of the Z cockpit, whether it's covered by a fabric or steel roof. As for the 370Z roadster? It's nimble and precise, and it sports a disputably better profile than its sibling's bullfrog-like stance.
Jeffrey Jablansky, Intern
0908 05 Z+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+side View
The 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster is a winner. It was a great ride for a sunny July weekend. It's not on sale yet, so it's a very rare sight and it definitely got noticed. And while it's a stretch to say that the 370Z, in either coupe or roadster form, is a beautiful car, it's certainly a strikingly handsome one. I examined it many times over the weekend in a variety of light conditions and settings, and it I liked it better the more I looked at it. Its voluptuous curves really catch and reflect a lot of light, whether it's bright, midday sunlight or evening twilight or your garage's carriage lights at midnight. In fact, the 370Z roadster looks especially good in the glare of artificial nighttime light, so it ought to snag a prominent position in the valet lot of your favorite dinner restaurant. And as Joe Lorio points out, the new 370Z Roadster has none of the awkwardness that afflicted all previous Z-car droptops.
The 370Z roadster is a great drive. It feels good wrapped around you. There's lots of power from the VQ V-6, the seven-speed automatic works very well, especially when you shift it manually with the gearshifter in the left gate, and the car is commendably stiff and handles bad pavement impressively. In fact, I sought out bad pavement just to feel it hammer through it so well. Handling, braking, steering feel, and all the other performance basics are top-notch. Okay, maybe they're not quite as finely tuned and finessed as they are in the Porsche Boxster, but try finding a Porsche Boxster loaded to the gills like this car for $47K.
From a livability standpoint, the 370Z is also impressive. I have driven so many hardtop convertibles over the past couple of years, I am so accustomed to losing cargo space with the top down, I just assumed that this would be the case with the 370Z, forgetting that it has a traditional ragtop. So when I was heading to Costco to buy two 40-pound bags of dog food, I thought to myself, keep the top down for the trip there, because you'll surely have to have it up on the way home, to make room for the dog food. But then I checked the trunk and realized, duh, it's a ragtop, and it does not intrude on the trunk one bit. Yep, the 80 pounds of dog food fit, no problem, plus four gallons of apple juice. The rest of the Costco loot went into the passenger's footwell.
Like my colleagues, I was also impressed with the interior, especially the suede-like fabric lining the door panels and the legrests for the center tunnel. I did find that the optional Bose stereo was distorted at very high volume while playing XM satellite station 81 dance music, but Nissan tells me that the radio in our pre-production car was not yet fully calibrated. When playing the classical station, it had commendable clarity.
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
0908 02 Z+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+navi
When Nissan dropped off the new 370Z roadster for us, I couldn't stop thinking about how little I cared for the uninspiring 350Z roadster. What a difference a generation makes. The 370Z might be the only car where I'd prefer a convertible over a coupe. This particular unit was loaded to the brim with options like the navigation package, sport package, and a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
Nissan says the transformation from coupe to roadster adds 200 pounds, but the 370Z roadster feels lighter than the coupe when you're tossing it in and out of turns, thanks to Nissan's efforts to retain structure rigidity in the Z roadster, which can be a challenge for droptops. Top movement is a bit harsh and noisy, and hopefully will smooth out as production begins. But a soft top that can open with a push of a button is always appreciated; with no latches to pull and no levers to grab, it's easily a one-person job.
0908 06 Z+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+side View
Although our test car didn't have Nissan's syncro-rev manual transmission, the seven-speed automatic did a great job of keeping up with aggressive up and down shifts. Like its manual counterpart, it will blip the throttle for you when you downshift using the paddles. The new Z roadster is night and day compared with its predecessor.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
0908 08 Z+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+side View
The 370Z Roadster is an absolute blast to work hard. The engine is powerful and responsive, the steering is direct, and the suspension is capable. The ride can be very rough at times, but it's more comfortable than the 370Z coupe's ride. Nissan has done a fine job tuning the seven-speed automatic for the 332-hp engine. The rev-matched downshifts are excellent when you're on the throttle, but when braking or off-throttle, the downshifts can be quite harsh. I love that Nissan has attached the tall shift paddles to the steering column, not the wheel. They are easy to find no matter how far you've cranked the steering wheel. This is an detail that far too many automakers get wrong, especially on their sporty cars.
The headliner on the drop top is a nice touch, but there is room for improvement. When reaching over your shoulder to grab the seat belt, you can see screws and springs where the top meets the body. The interior of our convertible seems much nicer than the coupe we recently drove, but that's largely just due to the navigation system, automatic climate control, and premium seats. Compared with the coupe, the controls and surfaces are far nicer here.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
0908 07 Z+2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster+side View
2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster
Base price (with destination): $42,540.00
Price as tested: $47,190
-Navigation package $1,850
-Sport package $2,800
Fuel economy:
18 / 25 / 21 mpg
Size: 3.7L V-6 VVEL
Horsepower: 332 hp @ 7,000 rpm
Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
7-speed automatic
Weight: 3469 lb
19 x 9-in front; 19 x 10-in rear RAYS lightweight forged wheels
245/40WR19 front; 275/35WR19 rear Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires
0907 04 Pl+2010 Nissan Nismo 370Z+front Three Quarters View
0907 04 Z+2010 Nissan Nismo 370Z+front Three Quarters View
If you commanded the Nissan genie to pimp your Z-car, the result would be the second-generation NISMO model now available at dealerships. (The NISMO name stands for Nissan Motorsports International, the prime source of extreme performance parts and special-edition models created by Nissan factory experts for hard core street and track use.) Updates beyond the standard 370Z are 18 extra horsepower, 6 lb-ft more torque, various interior and exterior design touches, a retuned suspension, wider 19-inch forged-aluminum wheels, and Yokohama instead of Bridgestone tires. Even after you add a $780 dealer-installed engine oil cooler, the NISMO package runs only $6980 more than the regular 350Z equipped with a Sport Package.
The NISMO Z is not for those who prefer slipping through traffic unnoticed. The new nosepiece, which adds about six inches to overall length, includes a prominent chin spoiler and corner canards aimed at improved aerodynamic downforce. Add-on side sill extensions help manage under-car air flow. The new rear appendage is a biplane affair combining a spoiler with a wing. That device in combination with a diffuser panel between the exhaust pipes helps stick the rear tires to the pavement at high speed. Rear-fender slots are purely cosmetic.
The factory claims that there is genuine aero downforce at the felonious velocities this car is capable of achieving. Five color choices are offered-white, silver, black, red, and graphite. After exposure to one red and one silver NISMO Z, we highly recommend the red choice unless your driving record is already under assault.
Interior distinctions are mainly cosmetic. The bucket seats are upholstered with grippy woven cloth to hold two thrill seekers securely in the likely event hard cornering and braking ensue. The driver benefits with 8-way adjustability while the passenger must scrape by with 4-way motion. Power adjusters are not part of the deal.
The color theme is red, white, and black with red accent stitching and NISMO logos sewn into both backrests. To aid the memory challenged, this identification is sprinkled throughout the car in no less than 16 locations. The leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob also receive attractive red stitching. All three pedals are trimmed with aluminum plates and there's a distinctive identification plate containing a serial number and the model year. Less than 1000 2009 NISMO Zs are planned for sale in the US.
The list of equipment shared with lesser Z-cars includes a highly legible three-pod instrument cluster, active head restraints, push button starting, power windows and door locks, automatic climate control, and no less than four cupholders (one to the left and right of each occupant).
0907 01 Z+2010 Nissan Nismo 370Z+engine
The NISMO's four-speaker entertainment system plays AM/FM/CD and plug-in portable material through an Auxiliary jack. The illuminated steering wheel controls allow you to adjust the background music during the heat of racetrack battle, if you so desire. A Navigation Package consisting of an Ipod interface, 9.3GB Music Box hard drive, and highly legible color mapping adds $1850 to the price. Bluetooth hands free cell phone connectivity is also offered.
Nissan's VQ engine has proven to be a highly versatile and spirited power producer. In 3.7-liter form for the NISMO it is equipped with variable intake valve lift and timing, a reflashed engine control computer, and exhaust pipes joined together with a flow-improving H-shaped connector. (The standard Z exhaust consists of two Y-sections joined by a single pipe.) The 350 hp peak output lies at 7400 rpm, only one hundred revs before the redline. The 276 lb-ft torque peak also lives high on spin mountain at 5200 rpm. The lofty 11.0:1 compression ratio works without benefit of direct fuel injection. Backing up this V-6 is a close-ratio six-speed transmission with SyncrhoRev Match, a means of automatically blipping the throttle for smooth down shifts. That's an especially handy feature for drivers too lazy to learn the fine art of heel-and-toe pedal operation.
While the basic body structure and suspension systems are shared with the standard Z coupe, NISMO has fiddled with several calibrations. The underhood brace has a couple of additional gussets. Front spring rates have been upped 15-percent, rears are jacked 10-percent. Total roll stiffness is greater by 15-percent thanks to a front bar with a 15-percent higher twist rate and a rear bar that is 50-percent stiffer. The front dampers provide 40-percent more control while the rear shocks have been fortified by 140-percent.
One out-of-the ordinary tuning touch is a pair of dampers added to the NISMO Z's unibody. One is mounted horizontally between the front longitudinal rails, the other is positioned just behind the differential in back. These laterally oriented dampers quell high-frequency body vibrations driven by the stiffer suspension calibrations. They not only reduce the buzz you would feel through the seat of your pants on rough roads, they also provide a calmer and more stable base of operations for the track-tuned suspension systems.
The brake system is unmodified from 350Z specifications. The vented rotors are 14.0-inches in diameter in front and 13.8-inches in back. They're clamped by fixed aluminum calipers with four pistons in front and two pistons per rear wheel. ABS and VDC (stability control) are standard.
The power rack-and-pinion steering assist is speed dependent. More robust mount bushings augment feel and precision. The 19-inch Yokohama Advan Sport radials are the same size as standard Z rubber in front but 10mm wider in back. Also, the tire speed rating rises from W(168 mph) to Y (more than 186 mph). The RAYS forged-aluminum rims are 9.5 inches wide in front, 10.5-inches wide in back, a half-inch increase at both ends of the car. To accommodate the rolling stock, the front track is 0.2-inches wider while the rear track is 0.6-inches narrower. A viscous-type limited-slip differential (part of the standard Z's Sport Package) helps maintain momentum in tight turns and during aggressive launches from rest.
0907 03 Z+2010 Nissan Nismo 370Z+rear Three Quarters View
The NISMO Z definitely feels like it just graduated from Nissan's advanced driving dynamics academy. The steering is firm, direct, and heavily weighted. Cornering response borders on anticipatory. The front-rear balance is as close as you'll get to drift-ready in any production vehicle we've experienced. The ride is taut but not so rigid that daily driving becomes a pain in the sacroiliac. Body roll during an aggressive turn-in is negligible.
That's the good news. The bad news is that the engine and transmission emit crude noises when pressed to their rev limits and the sound of the new dual exhaust system is too subdued for this hairy-chested edition of the Z. The new wing provides an excellent hiding place for law enforcement agents. But the most frustrating discovery we brought home from the test track is absolutely no hint of performance improvement. The acceleration, braking, cornering, and top speed are no better than the 370 Z Sport we tested last fall.
So the NISMO Z definitely looks and feels the part but don't even think of challenging a 370 Z Sport model on the street. Save your attacks for static gatherings, where the NISMO's hot looks will prevail, and for the race track where its better balance and superior aerodynamics may give you the edge.
0907 07 Z+2010 Nissan Nismo 370Z+side View
2009 Nissan Nismo 370Z
Base Price: $39,850
As-Tested: $40,630
Powertrain: 3.7-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6
Horsepower: 350 hp @ 7400 rpm
Torque 276 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive: Rear-wheel
L x W x H: 174.3 x 72.6 x 51.8 in
Legroom: 42.9 in
Headroom: 38.2 in
Cargo capacity: 6.9 cu ft
Curb Weight: 3365 lb
EPA Rating (city/highway): 18/26 mpg
0-60 mph: 5.5 sec
0-120 mph: 19.6 sec
1/4-mile: 14.1 sec @ 103 mph
Top speed: 156 mph
70-0 braking: 177 ft
Cornering, L/R: 0.97/0.91 g
2010 Nissan 370Z
2010 Nissan 370Z
The 370Zis the current iteration in a long line of Z cars from Nissan. They have evolved quite a bit since their beginnings, but they still offer a great deal of performance for the money. With the introduction of the 370z, Nissan has put the somewhat portly 350z on a diet. Then made it smaller and added more power. What could be wrong with that formula? Along the way, numerous steel pieces were replaced with aluminum in the name of weight savings. The 370 Z is available as either a coupe or a roadster for top down fun.

All 370Z trims share the most powerful Z engine yet implemented. At 332 HP and 270 Ft. – Lbs. of torque, this 3.7 liter V-6 is a screamer. It can transfer this power to the rear wheels via either a 6 speed manual transmission or the optional 7 speed automatic transmission. A feature of note with the manual transmission is the SynchroRev technology which matches engine speed to wheel speed on shifts, even blipping the throttle on downshifts. It makes even the most heavy handed driver shift like the pros.
As you've likely heard, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the legendary Nissan Z sports car. The Japanese automaker has been celebrating that milestone all year long, but the party continues this weekend as six historic Z cars will be on display at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.
Although we've known about the car for weeks, Nissan finally released photos of a one-off Nismo 370Z crafted to celebrate and honor legendary designer/racer Pete Brock.
In a recent Shell TV ad, a Nissan 370Z gets a new batch of oil. The catch? The Z is see-through -- as the oil is poured in, we see it drip to the pan, and we watch it circulate through the engine.
If the 332 horsepower produced by a stock Nissan 370Z isn't quite enough for your tastes, Japanese tuning firm Greddy may have a solution: a pair of turbochargers.

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2010 Nissan 370Z
2010 Nissan 370Z
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
18 MPG City | 26 MPG Hwy
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Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
19 MPG City | 27 MPG Hwy
2010 Nissan 370Z
2010 Nissan 370Z
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
2010 Nissan 370Z
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Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6
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2010 Nissan 370Z
2010 Nissan 370Z
Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe V6

2010 Nissan 370Z Specifications

Quick Glance:
3.7L V6Engine
Fuel economy City:
18 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
26 MPG
332 hp @ 7000rpm
270 ft lb of torque @ 5200rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
36,000 miles / 36 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
Unlimited miles / 60 months
36,000 miles / 36 months
NHTSA Rating Overall
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
No Test Planned
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
No Test Planned
NHTSA Rating Front Side
No Test Planned
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
No Test Planned
NHTSA Rating Rollover
No Test Planned
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

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