2016 Nissan 370Z

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
June 27, 2016

Buying tip

Make sure to take the 370Z for a test drive before you buy, especially if you're considering the NISMO model. The noise issues should be fixed with the new stereo system, but the ride can feel stiff to some and interior and cargo room are at a premium.

features & specs

2-Door Coupe Automatic
2-Door Coupe Automatic NISMO
2-Door Coupe Automatic NISMO Tech
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MSRP
$31,290
MSRP
$43,290
MSRP
$46,790

The 2016 Nissan 370Z offers a wide range of performance options in two body styles, all of which represent good value in a segment of the sports-car world with few other similarly priced options.

Over the course of this generation, Nissan's current 370Z has built on its long heritage, resulting in a thoroughly modern sports car with excellent driving dynamics and (mostly) excellent ride quality. The base car is available in either coupe or convertible form. The NISMO model is coupe-only and turns up the dial even more, for track-focused buyers and those who like the racecar look.

The latest Z car is arguably the best to date. The Z has a front-mid-engined layout, and all are rear-wheel driven. The standard car has a 332-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6. Drivers get their choice of a 6-speed manual transmission with SynchroRev automatic rev-matching or a 7-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The 370Z looks as good in roadster form as it does as a coupe, which hasn't always been the case with past generations, including the previous 350Z. An aggressively styled nose sweeps up and back into a laid-back windshield and short, taut cabin before ending in a bluff, snub rear end. The proportions are half modern wide-track sports coupe and half cabin-rearward classic Z. Inside, the 370Z gets a focused and sporty-feeling cabin, with the familiar three-dot Z theme found throughout. The 370Z NISMO enhances the car's styling with wings and flares, which Nissan says are effective aerodynamic elements, though some may find it carries the look to the level of caricature.

Review continues below

That NISMO variant gets an upgraded version of the same 3.7-liter V-6 engine, rated at 350 hp. The extra power comes from an exclusive H-pattern exhaust and optimized engine tuning parameters. Although 370Z NISMO models were originally manual-only, the performance model is now available with the same transmission options as the standard 370: a 6-speed manual transmission with rev-matching downshifts, or the 7-speed automatic, which also blips the throttle as it downshifts.

Even in base form, the 370Z is an impressive performer, particularly when matched with the rev-matching manual transmission. The automatic is very capable, though, and actually yields better acceleration times in some measures. Plenty of grip and a fairly well-balanced chassis yield engaging interaction for the driver on spirited drives. The NISMO's sharpened edge kicks the entire experience up a notch, though it does add some harshness along the way, particularly in ride quality.

Supportive, comfortable seats provide the foundation for the cabin's sporty experience, with available leather upholstery, power accessories, keyless ignition, and cruise control. Optional extras for even more convenience include navigation, satellite radio with real-time traffic, and HID headlights.

The equipment list has been updated over the course of this generation. Standard items include Bluetooth connectivity, LED daytime running lights, keyless ignition, and AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary input. Step up to the Touring specification (available on both coupe and Roadster models) and you'll add leather-appointed heated and cooled power-adjustable seats, Bose audio, and more. A Sport package is available for both base and Touring Coupe models, as well as Touring-level Roadsters; it adds 19-inch Rays forged aluminum alloy wheels, stickier Bridgestone Potenza high-performance tires, upgraded brakes, and a viscous limited-slip rear differential. 

NISMO models get their own unique set of features and styling that was updated for 2015; features include most of the convenience items from the standard 370Z. An upgraded NISMO-tuned suspension, reinforced suspension tower bracing and body dampers, unique aerodynamics, 19-inch Rays wheels, and unique NISMO interior trim and badges separate it from the other models. 

The 370Z has never been crash-tested by either the NHTSA or the IIHS. In terms of safety equipment, it comes standard with front, side, and (on coupe and NISMO models) side curtain airbags; stability and traction control; and anti-lock brakes. Visibility in the 370Z is generally good, but thick roof supports can obstruct rearward visibility in Coupe models; the Roadster's top causes similar issues when it is up.

Last year, the high-performance NISMO model received sleeker styling and a newly optional automatic transmission—all in the name of becoming a better-rounded dual-purpose car, too. For 2016, Nissan has attended to the coupe's tendency to echo boominess throughout the interior by fitting a noise-canceling system to the eight-speaker Bose audio system; it's included on all but the base hardtop models. The only other change for 2016 is a new exterior color—Deep Blue Pearl—which is available on all variants.

With the 7-speed automatic, the Z coupe scores EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined. Roadster models take a slight hit due to their less-aerodynamic shape, rating 18/25/21 mpg with the auto.

Manual-transmission coupes rate 18/26/21 mpg, while three-pedal roadsters return 17/24/20 mpg.

9

2016 Nissan 370Z

Styling

The Z is simply still a great-looking sports car.

The 370Z is a much more successful design than the 350Z it replaced, especially when comparing the convertible models to their coupe siblings. In NISMO form, the 370 is at its most aggressive, with aero bits here and there to help its performance and its image.

All three share the same basic styling, though each has its own notable traits. The Coupe combines a clear sports car profile with aggressive but not overstated details. The Roadster shares much of its shape with the Coupe, but gives a more muscular and sensuous appearance with the power-operated top lowered. With the top up, the lines are still relatively sleek and sporty; there's none of the awkwardness of the previous-generation 350Z Roadster.

For 2015, the 370Z NISMO model shed its beak and oversized spoiler for a considerably sleeker, more handsome exterior. It's not quite as easy to pick out of the crowd now—just look for tinges of red trim here and there—but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The cabins of all 370Zs are rather similar, with simple but pleasing designs and a functional, purpose-oriented theme. Materials and styling are greatly upgraded from previous-generation Z cars, but the upper end of the Z's range is restricted in its plushness to leave space for Nissan's premium-brand coupe, the Infiniti Q60.

Review continues below
9

2016 Nissan 370Z

Performance

The standard coupe and convertible are suitable for daily driving, but buckle up and get some earplugs before you tackle the track-ready NISMO.

All 370Z models get a 3.7-liter V-6 engine, although it is served two ways and with a choice of two respectable transmissions.

Base models make 332 horsepower, while the NISMO variant boosts the output figure to 350 hp. That 3.7-liter V-6 comes from a long line of well-known and much-beloved VQ-series engines, and while this one might not sound quite as nice as the previous 3.5-liter version, its reliability makes it desirable even in the used market.

Transmissions choices on each 370Z model include a 6-speed manual transmission and a 7-speed automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The manual transmission is fairly slick, delivering shifts with short, stiff throws. A SynchroRev system negates the need for heel-toe skills, blipping the throttle automatically on downshifts. The automatic transmission does the same, though with less directness.

Balancing between true sports car and grand touring categories, the 370Z is nimble and powerful, a deft combination of strengths, especially considering its price point. The dual nature of the 370Z also brings some compromises, including slightly dull steering feel that doesn't communicate much of the car's road-level behavior to the driver. Still, on the whole, the Z is a rewarding and engaging car to drive hard. 

Roadster models feel a touch softer, in part because of reduced structural rigidity that comes with removing the lid, but the open-top element is a big upside. NISMO models take the 370Z's basic mix in the other direction, adding firmness and power, but at the cost of some comfort and quietness.

For 2015, the suspension was revised across all models, giving the Coupes and Roadsters a slightly more comfortable ride while enhancing the NISMO's track-day prowess.

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7

2016 Nissan 370Z

Comfort & Quality

The 370Z is comfortable, but ride noise and harshness are never far away.

The Nissan 370Z straddles the realm of hardcore sporting and leisurely touring. As a result, it's more comfortable than a minimalist sports car, but not quite as practical as a typical sport sedan.

Low-slung and snug, the seating is comfortable for most body types. Power-adjust seats with ventilation are available on upper-tier trims. Despite the comfortable seats, however, the 370Z's ride is fairly stiff—drivers will seek out the smoothest pavement out of pure self-interest.

On the materials front, the Nissan 370Z manages to make a convincing case for near-premium positioning, especially on higher-trim models. The switches and plastics feel solid, the leathers and upholstery feel durable yet supple. The 370Z's interior quality won't sway any buyers from German or American luxury coupe marques, but it won't send them running, either. 

Roadster models get a power-retractable soft top that is quick to open and close. Unfortunately, the soft top lets in even more noise, and takes up some of the available trunk space when down. Many alternatives in the segment have a more secure, quiet-enhancing folding hard top roof. 

Wide tires and the stiff suspension also greatly contribute to cabin noise. The noise issue with the 370Z doesn't all come down to the sporting side of the car, though; there's a wind noise issue, and the engine itself is intrusive when pushed hard. Some engines you want to hear at full song. Here, the 3.7-liter V-6 is less mellifluous than it is mechanical. For 2016, Nissan has added a noise-canceling system that should at least reduce this problem; it is standard on all coupes save for the base model. We haven't sampled the new version but will update this review once we do. Roadster drivers will have to make do with the sounds they encounter naturally.

Despite the 370Z's noise and ride harshness, it's not all that unusual for its performance class; these traits go hand in hand.

Review continues below
7

2016 Nissan 370Z

Safety

Crash-test data has been lacking with the current generation of Nissan's Z sportscar.

Because of its limited sales numbers, the 370Z has never been tested by either of the major crash-testing agencies. It includes the normal safety systems and, given the performance of other Nissan vehicles, should perform well in an accident.

Standard safety equipment on the 370Z Coupe and Roadster covers all of the modern basics, with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, front and side airbags, and, on coupe and NISMO models, side-curtain airbags. Also, its sporty dynamics and direct steering should allow drivers to make some evasive maneuvers in a pinch.

Forward visibility in the 370Z is generally good, but the thick rear roof supports in Coupe models (and the soft top on Roadsters) obstruct rear three-quarters views. A rearview camera is included on all but base models.

Review continues below
8

2016 Nissan 370Z

Features

Few options are offered on the 370Z, but it's fairly well-equipped out of the box.

The Nissan 370Z comes in a flavor for nearly any taste, regardless of whether you want a coupe, roadster, or high-performance NISMO model.

Coupe models can be had in base, Touring, Sport, and Sport Tech specifications, with the Roadster offering base, Touring, and Touring Sport levels. Base models get standard features like Bluetooth connectivity, HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, keyless ignition, and an AM/FM/CD stereo system with auxiliary input.

Moving to the Touring package brings leather-appointed heated and cooled power-adjustable seats, Bose audio, and more.

The different Sport models include 19-inch Rays forged alloy wheels, grippier Bridgestone Potenza tires, larger brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, and the SynchroRev manual transmission system (on manual-equipped models).

The NISMO coupe was revised for 2015 with new LED running lights, Recaro seats, and for the first time ever, an optional automatic transmission with downshift rev-matching. It's now also available with a second trim—the NIMSO Tech model—which adds Bluetooth connectivity, a touchscreen navigation system with satellite radio, Bose audio, and a garage-door opener.

Aside from the choice of transmissions, there are few options on the 370Z, with most feature content baked into the various trim levels. New for 2016, all coupe models but the base version include a Bose noise-canceling system to help quell some of the engine's boominess.

Review continues below
6

2016 Nissan 370Z

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy isn't the Z's strong suit, but it's not a huge penalty, either.

The 2016 Nissan 370Z earns middling fuel economy numbers, even for cars in its performance class. On the upside, although the NISMO model makes more power, it returns the same mileage ratings as the standard coupe model.

With the 7-speed automatic, the Z coupe scores EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined. Roadster models take a slight hit due to their less-aerodynamic shape, rating 18/25/21 mpg with the automatic.

Manual-transmission coupes rate 18/26/21 mpg, while three-pedal roadsters return 17/24/20 mpg.

Review continues below
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June 27, 2016
For 2016 Nissan 370Z

Best vehicle for the price

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its so good. though the mpg isnt that great. it is still decent
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February 4, 2016
2016 Nissan 370Z 2-Door Coupe Automatic Sport Tech

2016 370Z sport tech is a wonderful sports car.

  • Overall Rating
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If you want a proven sports car with power, performance, top steering, sport brakes, comfort, style and looks, the 2016 Z is it. The ride quality is way better then some reviewers report. After test driving a... + More »
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September 23, 2015
2016 Nissan 370Z 2-Door Coupe Manual NISMO

Love it! Recommend to everyone!

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The refreshed Nismo edition looks absolutely amazing. Clutch is a bit heavy and bites fast. Steering Wheel is a bit heavy too. Great gearbox. I love to shift in this thing. I would recommend finding an... + More »
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8.0
Overall
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Styling 9
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 7
Features 8
Fuel Economy 6
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