Nissan’s latest GT-R supercar may have stolen much of the Z’s thunder since coming onto the market but the automaker's current entry-level sports car, the 2012 370Z, is still a focused performer that shouldn’t be overlooked.
And unlike the GT-R, the 370Z comes in a convertible bodystyle as well as the standard coupe, and if you want a bit more performance there’s also a sportier Nismo edition.
Only one engine is offered: a 3.7-liter V-6 rated at 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque in the standard model and 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque in the Nismo edition. A six-speed manual comes as standard and is complemented by an optional seven-speed automatic with paddle-shifters. The Nismo edition, which is aimed at more hardcore users, comes only in manual.
While both transmissions are good, we’d recommend sticking with the manual. It features a relatively unique Syncro Rev-Match system that automatic blips the throttle on downshifts to mimic the effects of heel and toe shifting. It’s a lot of fun and will make you engine-brake more, helping to preserve those brake pads!
The engine loves to rev, though at the same time it also requires a lot of fuel to get the most out of the car. All models will get you from 0-60 mph in around 5.0 seconds or less, though at that rate you’ll be hard-pressed to get the official 18/26 mpg city/highway EPA-rated fuel economy.
The 2012 model doesn’t offer much in the way of new items, though there is an oil-cooler now fitted as standard. Available goodies include a hard-drive based navigation system with seven-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth, USB, and iPod connectivity, XM NavTraffic with Real-Time Traffic Information and XM NavWeather, a backup camera, and Nissan’s Intelligent Key keyless entry and ignition system.
If you’re going for the Nismo edition, you’ll be pleased by the uniquely-styled bodykit, stiffer suspension, 19-inch wheels, and uprated brakes and tires. The interior is also dressed up with several Nismo emblems and custom red stitching.
With its relatively aggressive suspension, even in stock form, as well as the wide track and short wheelbase, the 370Z is a potent performer, capable of neck-stretching grip and confident cornering. Steering is accurate, if not laden with feedback, though at high speeds the car does exhibit some tramlining. One other issue; if the 370Z is going to be your daily driver you may start to grow weary of the harsh ride, though we wouldn’t say it’s uncomfortable for either driver or passenger.
For the full review of the 2012 Nissan 370Z, head over to our sister site The Car Connection.