2012 Nissan 370Z Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
January 3, 2012

Performance per dollar, the 2012 Nissan 370Z is a bargain, and it's quick enough in absolute terms to reach toward the domain of much more expensive sports cars.

With more tech, power, and luxury than previous Nissan Z cars, the 2012 370Z is nonetheless lighter than its predecessor, the 350Z. It's also still a relatively focused sports car despite the gradual creep toward grand touring status.

Three versions of the 370Z are built, including the coupe, the roadster, and the NISMO. Both the coupe and the roadster share similar styling elements with the exception of the convertible's soft top. Muscular curves, modern edges, and arrow-shaped headlights are the core design elements. The NISMO model adds more aggressive aerodynamics, with fangy bumpers and a rear diffuser, plus NISMO badging. Inside, the 370Z is more refined, and quieter, than previous models, with better materials (though there's still a lot of exposed hard plastic) and comfortable, well-bolstered seats.

Powering the coupe and roadster is a 3.7-liter V-6 engine rated at 332 horsepower running up to a 7,500-rpm redline. Though not as torquey as the 350Z's engine, there's still plenty of oomph from low in the rev range. The NISMO gets a peakier version of the same engine, rated for 350 horsepower. Two transmissions are available: a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and a six-speed manual with a unique Synchro-Rev match feature that automatically blips the throttle for perfectly synchronized downshifts.

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With its relatively aggressive stock suspension tune, short wheelbase, and wide track, the 370Z is a potent performer, capable of neck-stretching grip and confident cornering. Steering is accurate, if not laden with feedback, and at high speeds, the 370Z does exhibit some tramlining. Nevertheless, it's a capable and exhilarating sports car, made all the more so in the more hardcore NISMO trim.

All of that sports car competence can translate into a ride that's too harsh for some, however, particularly when pressed into daily driver service over less-than-ideal roads. The cabin does its best to mitigate the discomfort, however, with comfortable adjustable seats, including available leather upholstery. Standard equipment includes power accessories, keyless entry/start, and cruise control. Optional upgrade packages bring navigation, Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio with real-time traffic, and HID headlights among other improvements.

The 2012 370Z packs the usual array of safety features, including anti-lock brakes, stability control, and traction control. Front and side airbags are standard, with roof-mounted side curtain airbags on coupe models. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have crash tested the 2012 370Z.

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