2014 Nissan 370Z Touring CoupePosted on November 19th, 2013
Sports-coupe favorite gets a price cut
By Bob Golfen
The Nissan 370Z is one of the best sports-car deals out there, quick and agile and with just enough warts to remind you that it is a Nissan after all and not some fancier, pricier brand.
The big news for 2014: the 370Z coupe has become an even better deal with a price drop of $3,130 for the Base coupe, which now starts at a reasonable $29,990 for the stickshift car, plus $790 shipping. The luxurious Touring coupe drops $2,550 to $36,270, plus shipping.
The roadster versions of the 370Z Base and Touring remain in the low $40,000s, same as for 2013. The NISMO Z tuner performance version, which has added new body and interior features for 2014, retains its starting price of $43,000. The NISMO Z comes only as a coupe.This latest generation of the Z raised the bar for the popular Japanese sports car, with more performance and a much-improved interior for the sporty two seater. The styling remains controversial, some seeing it as bulky and unattractive. To my eye, the look is properly muscular with a modern twist, its angular forms melded into the traditional style of a long-hood sportster.
The Touring coupe tested here includes a suite of luxury and convenience add-ons. The price of the test car jumped with the addition of the desirable Sports and Navigation System packages, hitting a bottom line of $41,460, which is not cheap but still a lot of sophisticated sports car for the money.
The coupe version looks sharper than the convertible, though it lacks the doubtless advantage of a roof that comes off for open-air sports-car driving in classic form. The coupe’s cabin feels slightly roomier than the convertible’s does with the top up. It’s noisier, though, with too much road roar echoing through the rear under the hatch, especially in freeway driving.
But when you release the 332 horsepower of the 3.7-liter V6, the more-welcomed sound that takes over is the ripping exhaust howl. This is a sweet engine with plenty of pull, not terrifically fast by today’s standards, but powerful enough for most sports-car maneuvers. The NISMO gets 350-horsepower from its 3.7-liter V6, plus styling, interior and suspension tweaks for track-day fun.
The Touring’s Sport package adds a unique feature called SynchroRev Match, an industry-first technology for manual transmissions that mimics the effect of heel-and-toe downshifting. This rev matching happens automatically as you downshift, replacing the driver’s expertise with electronic magic. This has been a Nissan option for a number of years, but I’m still impressed with how well it works.
The rev matching only engages when the driver pokes the Sport button; otherwise, you can rev match on your own in normal fashion. The only challenge is remembering when in Sport not to do your own throttle blips, which is redundant. It doesn’t hurt anything if you do, but it messes up the graceful execution of the downshift.
This is the kind of technology that could rescue stickshift from the scrapheap of outmoded mechanical systems, along with carburetors and ignition breaker points, as automatics take over and the ability to drive stickshift becomes a lost art.
Acceleration is brisk, but the clutch takeup is a bit hard to modulate for smooth upshifts, especially when going quickly between the lower gears. I recently drove the mechanically similar Infiniti Q60 with a six-speed and I had the same feeling of clutch non-cooperation. Otherwise, shifting in either the Nissan or the Infiniti is crisply precise.
The steering and handling are right on the mark both in feel and performance. The Sport package, a $3,000 option, includes “Euro-tuned Sport Shocks,” which adds precision, plus upgraded brakes, attractive 19-inch alloys shod with performance tires, and a viscous limited-slip differential. For performance freaks who crave a tighter package, upgrade to the NISMO.
The luxurious interior in the Touring test car had all the features of a proper premium car, such as leather and power seating, a superfine Bose audio system, and all the electronic goodies you can handle. The $2,150 navigation package adds the hard-drive GPS with a seven-inch monitor, device connections, streaming audio via Bluetooth and a rear-view camera.
Now, about that rear-view camera: I’d say it’s a genuine necessity because of the significant blind spot in the right-rear corner because of the roof’s broad C pillar. Backing into or out of a parking space is a leap of faith. I can’t remember whether the top-up convertible has the same issue, though it most likely does. So yes, I’d say the rear-view camera is an important addition.
Inside, the coupe is fairly tight, and there’s not a lot of luggage space under the rear hatch, so plan ahead. Sports enthusiasts can probably fit most items in here for a day of activity, though forget about bikes, kayaks and such. I’m sure someone makes racks for these cars, but still …
The 370Z coupe is a thoroughly enjoyable performance car that enjoys a strong following of aficionados, some of whom recall when the Datsun 240Z landed on these shores in 1970 and showed how a Japanese manufacturer could uphold sports-car tradition on its own terms.
Likes: Engine power, handling, price cut.
Dislikes: Noisy cabin, rear blind spot, problematic clutch uptake.
Model: 370Z Touring
Base price: $35,270
As tested: $41,460
Engine: 3.7-liter V6
Horsepower: 332 at 7,000 rpm.
Torque: 270 at 5,200 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Zero to 60: 4.9 seconds
Wheelbase: 100.4 inches
Curb weight: 3,318 pounds
Bicycle friendly: No
EPA fuel economy: 18 city, 26 highway, 21 combined
Bob Golfen is a veteran automotive writer and editor, formerly with The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com. Reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Best Value, Luxury 2014, 370z, auto review, coupe, Nissan, performance, pricing, sports, Z car
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