By KBB.com Editors
The 2011 Nissan 370Z retains the same basic principle that spawned the original 240Z; namely, to offer world-class design and performance at a reasonable price. The 370Z's seductive exterior, potent engine and dynamic driving characteristics easily qualify it as a competitor to the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Hyundai Genesis Coupe. But, many Z-car owners also consider their little 2-door terror the equal of such high-end names as the Audi TT, BMW Z4 and Porsche Cayman. No matter what you compare it to, the 2011 Nissan 370Z is one serious driving machine that is sure to please even the most hard-core driving enthusiasts.
If you're seeking a fast coupe with BMW-like performance at a very un-BMW like price, take a spin the 2011 Nissan 370Z.
The definition of affordable is open to interpretation. While the 370Z's $30,000 starting price might seem a bargain to some, remember that the V6 powered Mustang and Camaro both offer more than 300-horsepower and start well under $25,000.
Changes for 2011 are limited to the addition of a rearview camera to the available navigation and a new color, Gun Metallic.
Driving Impressions Unlike previous Z cars of late, the 2011 Nissan 370Z strikes an acceptable balance between razor-sharp handling and a comfortable ride. The Z's short wheelbase, lightweight chassis and wide...track help the suspension to deliver praise worthy performance handling, with almost no perceptible lean or roll. The power-assisted steering is accurate and well-modulated. On an enclosed race track, we were able to push the Z hard, which caused its stability control system to intervene a bit too quickly. Switch the stability control off, and the 370Z remains balanced and forgiving. We never felt as if the Z was lacking for anything, delivering plenty of power when exiting corners, ample grip in the turns and brakes that never seemed to fade even after repeated hard stops. Nissan's automatic transmission works quite well, but the easy-to-modulate clutch, short throw shifter and SynchroRev Match option of the manual transmission make it our transmission of choice. Away from the race track, in everyday driving, we found the 370Z's ride never feels overly harsh and the cabin remains impressively quiet.
Heel-toe down shifting, which requires using the right foot to both brake and blip the throttle, is one of the most difficult skills for any driver to learn. The 370Z's SynchroRev Match system blips the throttle, automatically providing butter-smooth downshifts every time. Driving purists who would rather match revs the old fashioned way are given the option to shut the system off.
7-Speed Automatic Transmission
Delivering the direct feel and fuel economy of a manual transmission along with quick, smooth shifts, the paddle shifter-equipped 7-speed automatic found in the Nissan 370Z is a winner.
When it debuted the 350Z some years back, Nissan got an earful regarding the car's cheap interior plastics and hard surfaces. Determined not to repeat their mistake, the 2011 Nissan 370Z has been blessed with a detailed interior full of high-quality materials, soft-touch surfaces and rich, vivid color choices. An efficient use of the available space has resulted in a surprisingly accommodating cabin, especially in the areas of head, hip and legroom. The 370Z's interior is visually stimulating, with unique features such as an instrument cluster that moves with the tilt steering column and three individual gauges for oil temperature, volts and clock mounted atop the center dash pad. The 370Z's cargo area is free of the former car's obtrusive strut tower brace, creating a usable cargo hold for luggage with additional cargo nooks located behind the front seats.
While many performance coupes are growing larger (mostly to accommodate a rear seat), the 370Z's dimensions remain compact and lightweight. The 370Z sits low to the ground and when equipped with the Sport package includes ground effects and a low front spoiler designed to reduce lift while improving the car's aerodynamics. The 370Z's styling shares some common themes with Nissan's other performance legend, the Maxima Sedan, including its "boomerang" inspired headlamps and taillights. The Z car's large flared fenders and cantilevered roof are vaguely GT-R like, but aggressive 19-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels are unlike anything in the Nissan lineup.
The 2011 Nissan 370Z comes in two trims, base and Touring, and one special edition trim: NISMO. Even in base form, the 370Z is well equipped with automatic climate control, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, keyless entry and start, xenon headlights and a 4-speaker audio system with auxiliary input. Moving up to the Touring trim adds niceties like power-adjustable heated seats, Bluetooth, leather and suede interior, aluminum pedals and a Bose audio system with eight speakers including two subwoofers. Adding to the safety of both trims are standard stability control, traction control, active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system and six airbags.
There are only two options available for the 2011 Nissan 370Z. A Sport Package is available for both base and Touring trims and includes a Viscous limited-slip differential, 19-inch forged wheels, sport brakes and downshift rev matching on cars equipped with the manual transmission. The Sport Package also includes a rear spoiler and front chin spoiler that eliminate aerodynamic lift at higher speeds. Available only for the Touring trim is a Navigation Package that includes a navigation system, real-time traffic and weather information, iPod connectivity and 9.3 gigabytes of on-board music storage.
Power for the 2011 370Z comes from the latest generation of Nissan's venerated VQ series V6 engine. Producing 332-horsepower (350-hp in the NISMO), the 370Z's engine delivers robust performance and impressive fuel economy. Stealing some of the focus away from the Z's excellent engine are its advanced transmission options: a standard 6-speed manual and an optional 7-speed automatic. Manual-equipped cars with the optional Sport Package also feature SynchroRev Match, a system that automatically blips the throttle for seamless downshifts.
332 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
350 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm (NISMO)
270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
276 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm (NISMO)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (manual), 19/26 (automatic)
By olive on Monday, June 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great styling, really powerful."
Cons: "Just the balky synchro in first to second."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Very reliable and fun to drive. Great build quality. Unbelievable value for the money. Resale holds up well too. Takes a while to master a somewhat notchy clutch/transmission combo; but not a deal breaker by any means. Would buy another if they ever change the style. Great Japanese engineering and quality. Except for a somewhat imperfect first to second synchromesh connection. Otherwise, would recommend to anyone."
8 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By OfficerFriendly on Monday, May 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great handling...good power...fun to drive."
Cons: "Poor visability...high road/tire noise."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Purchased vehicle new and it's been fun to drive and own. Value as far as bang 4 the buck is high. Has performance to match more expensive brands. Handles great and more than adequate power. I avg. 20 mpg in a typical week...mostly work commute. Major cons would be high level of road/tire noise as not much noise deadening was used in wheel wells."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By zman on Friday, April 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "nice looking car, fun to drive"
Cons: "continuous problems with manual transmissions"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Purchased new. Excessive oil consumption=engine replacement while under warranty (not uncommon), routine Concentric Slave Cylinder failure (will leave you stranded with no previous warning)causes clutch pedal to remain stuck on the floor and the car left immobile. Repair to this product is in excess of $1000.00, and may fail again within low mileage. Steering Wheel locking mechanism replaced while under warranty (vehicle recall). On a good note, the car starts without interruptions but is unreliable because of routine problems with the concentric slave cylinder. If buying a Z, buy the automatic transmission, as you will definitely have problems with the standard transmission."
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Ronrizz on Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, Looks, Handling, Driveability"
Cons: "Road noise (it IS a sports car)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Waited almost a year for my dealer to find me exactly what I wanted, and couldn't be happier with it. So much fun to drive, Tons of power for a small car and handles incredibly. I get alot of comments on its appearance, because you don't see them everyday, and its such a sexy car in Black cherry."
6 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By FricFrac on Saturday, March 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "No heated steering wheel."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought my car new in 2009 and I still own it. I've been impressed by every aspect of the car. I purchased the sports package and all Canadian models have the LSD, etc so the only upgrades are the sports and navigation packages. I daily drive this car during the spring/summer/fall and put her away during the winter months. I've taken it to the track and auto X and everyone ridding shot gun was blown away by how it handles. For some reason the 2009 model didn't come with heated side mirrors. I'd also like the option of a heated steering wheel but other than that there isn't anything else I don't like about the car."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Roadster on Friday, February 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, sporty looks, handling"
Cons: "Limited trunk space, but enough for a suitcase."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car for two years and love it. I especially like the ride and handling. The suspension is tight and for a convertible, is very quiet. I wanted one with a stow away top, an this one is great. I do not drive it during the winter, but love it all other times of year. I receive compliments on the car every time I take it out. I drove it from Virginia to Florida this past summer, and then my wife and I drove it from Central Florida to Key West and back, and we both loved it, especially when we could put the top down. Was fun cruising around Key West. If not for this trip, it would have only 5,000 miles on it. Great acceleration for the highway. Comfortable ride."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful