By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
As it nears the end of its current life cycle -- a new Z is expected in the next year or two -- the 2017 Nissan 370Z deftly maintains a balance between high performance and everyday livability, remaining a unique proposition for the price. Sure, there are competitors like the Porsche Cayman or BMW Z4, but both are thousands of dollars more. Then there are cars like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, which offer similar performance and price, but in packages that, with their rear seats, don't exactly embody the 2-seat sports-car ideal. In Coupe, Roadster and high-performance Nismo versions, the Nissan 370Z is available in a form fit for just about anybody.
If the 370Z's powerful V6 engine, sharp suspension and cool driving aids like rev-matched downshifting in manual models don't win you over, maybe its head-turning style will. Icing on the cake is the Z's reputation for reliability that's as strong as its performance.
The Nissan 370Z emphasizes driving balance over all-out muscle, so it's slower than V8 muscle cars like the Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. And, if all-out speed isn't the most important factor for you, the 300-horsepower V6 models of those cars are generally less expensive.
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Not much is new for the 2017 Nissan 370Z coupe or convertible. The noteworthy change is the addition of a new exterior color, called Chicane Yellow.
The Nissan 370Z shares a lot of its underpinnings with several Infiniti models, which explains its surprisingly comfortable and livable demeanor around town. Oh, you'll notice road distortions and freeway...
... expansion joints, but the ride isn't overly harsh for a 2-seat sports car. Yet, take that exact same car to a twisting road, and you'd be hard-pressed to imagine that it's related to the Infiniti QX50 in any way. On a mountain pass, you'll discover a car with flat cornering, excellent steering and powerful brakes. If you've opted for a manual transmission, the SynchroRev Match does just what it says: matching downshifts and making it easy to shift this sports car like a pro. While the V6 offers excellent mid- and high-rev power, it could use more low-end torque. Also, be forewarned that the Nismo versions eschew any sort of road manners for that last nth of handling.
The Nissan Z was one of the first cars to automatically match revs as you downshift, and while it's not unique anymore, it's still a godsend for drivers who haven't quite mastered the intricacies of heel-toe downshifting. Don't worry, old-schoolers: You can turn it off.
It should come as no surprise that the 2017 370Z offers up excellent handling. It is a 2-seat sports car, after all, and that's its job. But the unexpected benefit of a comfortable ride when you just want to cruise to the beach is equally welcome.
The 2017 Nissan 370Z is not luxury-car quiet, but it is much more livable on a day-to-day basis than you might expect for a relatively affordable 2-seat sports car. Active noise cancellation added last year helps quiet the interior without adding heavy sound-deadening materials, and it fits in nicely with the upscale materials and quality feel of the 370Z. The three gauges in the center of the dash hearken back to the original Z from the 1970s, and the Z offers good ergonomics, comfortable seats, decent cargo space, and touches like a gauge cluster that adjusts with the steering column.
From some angles, the Nissan 370Z looks a little stubby, thanks to its low profile, short wheelbase and wide stance. But overall this is a sharp, smart and right-styled car. It's also small, and the wide stance and flared wheels serve to exaggerate the smallness. But it all works in its own aggressive way, and when you add the available Sport Package you get front and rear spoilers and bigger tires and wheels. The higher-performance Nismo version includes aerodynamic aids like a larger front spoiler and rear wing. The Roadster's power-operated top quickly stows underneath a hard cover for open-air motoring.
The 2017 Nissan 370Z Coupe is offered in, Sport, Sport Tech, Touring, Nismo and Nismo Tech models; 370Z Roadsters offer base, Touring and Touring Sport. Base Coupe and Roadster models come with automatic climate control, Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio and cruise controls, keyless entry and start, xenon headlights and a 4-speaker audio system with auxiliary input. Touring models add luxury, such as power-adjustable heated seats, navigation, leather and suede inside; Sport models double down with bigger wheels and a rear spoiler. Nismo models get more power and stiffer suspension. Safety features include stability control, active head restraints and six airbags.
If you want options on your Nissan 370, you're choosing a different model, not checking an order sheet. The only stand-alone option is a 7-speed automatic transmission. Otherwise there are various factory- and dealer-installed accessories available as stand-alone options. An Aerodynamic Package adds a front wind deflector and rear spoiler.
The long nose of the hood of the 2017 Nissan 370Z houses a 3.7-liter V6 engine in two distinct versions. Non-Nismo models get one developing 332 horsepower, while the Nismo gets a bump to a solid 350 horsepower. Either way, the Z is a quick, powerful and responsive machine. Power is routed to the rear wheels through your choice of transmissions. Standard is a 6-speed manual that includes SynchroRev Match on Sport, Sport Tech and Nismo models. A 7-speed automatic is available as well. Fuel economy is maybe better than you'd think for a powerful sports car, but note that Nissan recommends premium gasoline in both versions of this engine.
332 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (Coupe, manual), 19/26 mpg (Coupe, automatic), 17/25 mpg (Roadster, manual), 18/25 mpg (Roadster, automatic)
3.7-liter V6 (Nismo)
350 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm
276 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (manual), 19/26 mpg (automatic)
Prices haven't changed much since last year for the 2017 Nissan 370Z. The base coupe has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $31,000 when you include the $835 destination charge. The high-performance Nismo Coupe starts at just under $43,000. For a Z Roadster, you're going to pay nearly the same $43,000 as the Nismo coupe, or nearly an entire Nissan Versa more than the coupe. And that's for the base roadster; a loaded Roadster Touring Sport tops $50,000, about the same price as V8 versions of the Mustang GT, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, none of which are slouches. However, if you avoid those higher-priced trims the Z is a very reasonably priced sports car. Just check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to make sure you're getting the best deal in your area, and note that the Nissan 370Z should hold its value well over the long term.