2016 Nissan 370Z

The iconic Z is a decent package of power and handling, but it’s starting to look dated versus the competition. Its 3.7-liter V-6 makes 332 hp, but that’s also getting old; a six-speed manual is available with optional rev-matching. The seven-speed automatic, however, is not a willing partner in spirited driving, with slow shifts that detract from the fun. Feel like a track star? Then check out the NISMO with its snazzier styling. With 350 hp, it might not be faster, but it looks it.

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The VQ gets grainy at higher revs and the sound (at least of the $30,815 base 370Z we tested) isn’t very zoomy. Spend more for the Touring, Sport, or Sport Tech trims and active noise cancellation quells the coarseness while active sound enhancement emphasizes the melodious stuff via the standard Bose premium sound system. Getting underway, clutch takeup is linear and predictable and the short-throw shifter on the Z’s close-ratio six-speed manual operates with precision. We did, however, notice some annoying fore/aft driveline lash in our base 370Z test car when tipping in and lifting off the throttle; the automatic downshift rev-matching of the Sport and Sport Tech models may help mitigate that.

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Still, the 370Z’s basic no-nonsense goodness and bang for the buck can’t be denied. Even though steering effort can be a little heavy on-center, the Z tracks straight and true; pick a line through a corner and the car accurately and obediently gets you there without drama or fiddling. Brake response, even with the smaller units on the base car, is taut and easy to modulate. At 0.90 g, ultimate grip with the 225/50R-18 front and 245/45R-18 rear Yokohama Advan Sports can’t rival the Cayman’s 1.03 g of stick, and the Z’s 167-foot stop from 70 mph can’t top the Porsche’s phenomenal 148-foot figure. But at an as-tested price of $30,940, the base 370Z is barely half the tariff of Porsche’s least-expensive mid-engine coupe. Or looking at it another way, the base 370Z represents a chance to score a dedicated sports car with superior performance stats for the same or less money than a lightly optioned Ford Mustang EcoBoost four-cylinder.

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Ever-tightening fuel-economy regulations may force a turbo-four under the Z’s hood in its next generation, so before sports cars become the high-tech playthings of the idle rich you might want to taste test the original-recipe Z

Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/nissan/z

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