2014 Nissan 370 Z

First Drive

By Steve Wheeler

Nissan’s 2014 370Z continues to earn its reputation as an affordable enthusiast’s car. While you can spend well over $45-grand on a super sporty NISMO edition, the regular 370Z starts at $29,900. The regular 370Z doesn’t change much for model year 2014, and the NISMO edition gets primarily cosmetic changes inside and out.

All 370Z models are powered by a 3.7-liter V6 mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic. In the regular Z, the engine delivers 332 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. The same engine in the NISMO edition, however, is specially tuned to generate 350 horses and 276 lb.-ft. of torque.

The NISMO edition also gets Nissan’s SynchroRev Match manual transmission which automatically adjusts engine speed when you shift to the next gear. It basically “blips” the throttle to smooth out up and down shifts. We’re not sure what effect it might have on fuel usage, but it helps the driver focus more on actually driving than working the clutch. The feature can be deactivated. Despite its sporty look and high-revving engine, our NISMO test Z was rated at 26 miles per gallon on the highway and 18 mpg in the city, not bad for a car with this type of performance.

The 370Z is a very tight package with a rigid body that remains flat in hard cornering. The stiff structure, which does make for a rougher ride on the road, allows the Z to fly through s-curves and carve up a racetrack. Edmunds.com testers took the Z NISMO from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds.

Our own independent testing found our NISMO test car to be, well, fast as all get out. Once we fell down into the heavily – and we mean heavily – bolstered seats, our Z test car was a blast to drive. It’s not a bad car to look at either. The check mark headlights and low profile leave no doubt about the coupe’s heritage. A serious double wing spoiler in back and the gorgeous 19-inch Rays wheels completed the look.

Inside the 2-seater Z cabin, of course, there isn’t much room. Our sporty NISMO cabin had embroidered NISMO stitching on the seatbacks, special carpet and a NISMO shift knob. The driver’s seat adjusts eight ways and the passenger’s seat adjusts four ways. A large storage bin is high on the dash, while three round hooded gauges stand at the top. The hatch back is long and heavy and opens to a wide and long deck that, because of the Z’s style, isn’t tall. Will it hold a regular set of golf clubs? Sure. Weekend bags? No problem. A YETI Tundra 65-quart cooler? No way.

The 2014 370Z coupe with the 6-speed manual starts at $29,900. A 7-speed automatic transmission version is $31,290. The Touring model starts at $35,270 for the manual and $36,570 for the automatic. The NISMO, which is available only with the manual transmission, starts at $43,020.

Our NISMO test vehicle also had the optional Bose upgrade that added upgraded sound, satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free phone, a 6-CD changer and an automatically dimming rearview mirror. The test car also had a rearview camera and compass in the rearview mirror, a $790 option. The bottom line on our 2014 370Z NISMO test car was $46,370, including freight.

The 2014 370Z has not been safety tested by the insurance industry, but it has massive antilock brakes that bring the car to a stop right now. Air bags include driver and passenger, side impact and curtains.

2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO

Engine:

Specially tuned 3.7-liter V6

Horsepower/Torque:

350 / 276 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

6-speed manual with

SynchroRev Match feature

Price:

$43,020 ($46,370 as tested)

EPA mileage rating:

18 mpg city / 26 mpg highway