2019 Nissan 370Z Coupe review: A sports car throwback

Starting at $30,090
  • Engine V6 Cylinder Engine
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • MPG 20 MPG
  • Passenger Capacity 2
  • Body Type Coupes

Roadshow Editors' Rating

5.4 Overall
  • Performance 7
  • Features 3.5
  • Design 7
  • Media 3.5

The Good Tight handling dynamics, a slick-shifting manual transmission and styling that still looks sharp after being in showrooms for a decade.

The Bad Lacks advanced technology features and sluggish throttle response.

The Bottom Line The Nissan Z car is still a treat to drive, but a redesign is needed soon.

Think about everything that's happened in the last decade -- in the automotive world, anyway. High-volume cars such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have undergone two full redesigns. The Chrysler 200, Dodge Dart and Kia Borrego have all come and gone. Entire brands like Saab and Saturn have ceased to exist. And then there's the 2019 Nissan 370Z that's somehow managed to hum along mostly unchanged since launching way back in 2008.

Frozen in time

Sliding into the driver's seat of the Nissan 370Z today is like entering a time warp. The spartan cabin is void of a large center screen to control common infotainment features -- you won't find navigation, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in here. Instead, there's a storage compartment at the top of the center stack where you can stash things like sunglasses, and below that, a 2-DIN radio.

If you want advanced infotainment features, the 370Z isn't for you.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Is the radio chock-full of functions? Nope, it's simply a terrestrial radio receiver with a CD player that pumps tunes through a six-speaker audio system. A USB port in the center armrest and Bluetooth phone connectivity are the closest things to advanced features, with the latter requiring you to go through some seriously unintuitive pairing steps. The advanced safety technology menu is also practically nonexistent -- you won't have beeps or chimes aiding you while out on the road, but there is a backup camera that's integrated into the rearview mirror.

What the 370Z cabin does offer is an intuitive, easy-to-navigate layout, with comfortable and supportive cloth seats. There's a serviceable amount of storage available in cubbies behind the seats and in the 6.9-cubic-foot trunk that I somehow shoehorned a chop saw into. With the $790 Heritage Edition styling package seen here, yellow accents dress the steering wheel, shifter and center console. But overall, the interior is downright archaic by today's standards with its lack of creature comforts and onboard tech.

As for the exterior, the Z's design is still attractive after all these years, particularly with the deep blue pearl paint job and black-finish 18-inch wheels. The Heritage Edition-specific black mirrors and decals on the hood, roof, sides and rear hatch add some visual punch when you're up close, but mostly get lost on the dark car from afar.

A USB port, Bluetooth and a backup camera are as fancy as the 370Z gets when it comes to tech.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Simple sports car

While many will rag on the 370Z for entering its 10th model year without any substantial revisions, you can also argue that few sports cars are so pure.

Powering the Z is a familiar 3.7-liter V6 making 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. That's enough to get the 3,333-pound coupe going in quick fashion with linear power delivery all the way up to 7,000 rpm. The Z still gives off a pleasing exhaust growl when you goose it, but disappointingly throttle response is sluggish, requiring a forceful stab of the gas pedal to rev-match for downshifts.

A few drivetrain improvements arrived for 2018, including a new clutch for the manual gearbox resulting in a lighter pedal and easier-to-modulate grab point. Inching through traffic is no longer a jerky affair, and without the heavier and springier pedal, your left leg will no longer feels like falling off after a rush hour commute.

The Heritage Edition builds on the base 370Z model, so it doesn't include higher-performance items like bigger brakes, limited-slip differential and 19-inch wheels, all of which are available on more expensive Z trims. However, for spirited street driving, the most basic 370Z still brings plenty to the table. Sling it through a series of corners and it responds to steering inputs immediately with excellent feel and feedback available from the hydraulic power steering system -- another throwback item, seeing as how most cars have adopted electromechanical racks.

Lateral maneuvers reveal controlled body roll and there's substantial grip from the 225/50 front and 245/45 rear Yokohama Advan Sport tires. The brakes are also plenty strong, getting matters slowed in a hurry, and there's decidedly firm pedal feel.

How I'd spec it

Since I track my sports car, my ideal Nissan 370Z begins with the $34,605 Sport model so I can get the bigger brakes, limited-slip differential and 19-inch forged Rays wheels. My favorite color on the Z is pearl white, which is a $395 option, and since Nissan doesn't include floor mats, I have to tack on $140 for those, too. This brings the total price of my perfect 370Z to $35,140. The Heritage Edition you see here, meanwhile, is $31,805, including $885 for destination.

Blue is nice on the 370Z, but make mine white. 

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

A league of its own

Honestly, it's refreshing to drive a car like the Nissan 370Z today. There's no touchscreen interface or center console controller. There aren't any flashing lights or audible beeps. It's a simple and honest sports car that still packs impressive performance chops and asks the driver to drive.

Sure, it's showing its age in many respects, but there aren't many cars like it at the $30,000 price point. The closest competitors in ideology are the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins, but the Z overpowers those by a fair amount. The Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang offer similar front-engine, rear-drive dynamics, but those coupes are a lot bigger and heavier.

I'm glad Nissan has decided to soldier on with the current 370Z. But I hope it's not another 10 years before we see a new one.

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