Last chance to get a Nissan 370Z
It's pretty rare for us to review one of last year's cars, but the 2020 Nissan 370Z is special both to Nissan and to sports car enthusiasts. Nissan has a supply of the NISMO performance center's special 370Z model as a certified pre-owned example.
Some sports car enthusiasts scoff at the 370Z because it's a bit dated. Nissan has been producing the 370 since 2008 without any dramatic changes. There was a light refresh in 2012, but that's it. So you won't find the latest modern updates in a 370Z, but if that's not important to you, what you will get is an exciting sports car in the classic mold.
The 370Z comes with Nissan's long-proven 3.7-liter V6 engine, rated up to 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque in the NISMO trim, or 332 horsepower in standard trim. That's paired with either a paddle-shifted seven-speed automatic or a crisp 6-speed manual transmission with an Exedy sport clutch installed at the factory. Like any great classic sports car, the 370Z is rear-wheel-drive.
Peeking under the fenders, the 370Z comes with four-wheel disc brakes and fourwheel independent suspension, but that's not the whole story. Dive under the NISMO edition and you'll find a carbon-fiber driveshaft and radiator support.
You'll also notice that the engine is mounted aft of the front axle line, giving the Zcar 45% of its weight in the rear to 55% in front. That's good for front traction as well as laying down the power coming out of a corner. Acceleration tends to shift weight rearward, delivering an effective 50/50 weight balance when you're on the throttle, and more weight transfer to the front tires under braking.
It's easy to notice the 370Z's old-school charm in the cabin. First you can see the three small gauges in their binnacles at the top center of the dash. That's a nod to the original dash design of the 1970 240Z, and it will bring a smile to any classic Datsun enthusiast. You do get a screen in the latest model years, but not the lavish infotainment system of a modern design.
This is a car for driving, not a mobile living room. The 370Z offers you what you need to be comfortable and drive well — and not much more than that.
On a windy mountain road is where the 370Z wants to be, and if that's where you want to drive, this car is still a great choice. It's raw, fast, responsive, and exhilarating. The 370Z rewards good driving technique, where many modern sports cars are engineered to cover up the driver's mistakes.
If any of that displeases you, don't despair. Nissan has a new car coming to take up the Z-car mantle. The upcoming Nissan Z-Proto is said to include a new twinturbocharged V6 like the legendary turbo-Zs of the early 1990s, and will still be available with a manual transmission. If anything, the Z-Proto looks more like the original 240Z than ever. After more than 50 years of producing Z-cars, Nissan knows what they need to do with this machine.
But if you want a 370Z before they're gone forever into the collector market, the time buy one is now.
2020 Nissan 370Z
Base price: $25,000-$34,000
Price as tested: $34,000
Type: Sports car
Engine: 3.7-liter V6 (350 hp, 276 lbs-ft)
Transmissions: 6-speed manual; 7-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 19/22
Overall length: 167.5 inches
Curb weight: 3,333 pounds
Final assembly: Tochigi, Japan
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