Wednesday, January 2, 2019

[CAR REVIEW] 2019 Nissan 370Z NISMO Manual

The Nissan 370Z has been around since 2006. It was one of my dream car, an aggressive looking RWD sports coupe that packs enough power to keep a young man flushed with excitement. Fast forward 11 years, thanks to Nissan Canada, I was given the chance to test drive the NISMO version of this beast. Below is my unbiased review of the 2019 Nissan 370Z NISMO Manual.

The exterior of the 370Z hasn't changed much since its debut in 2006. I am surprised by how modern it still looks 11 years after. The NISMO version bears the signature black-and-red NISMO badge, and GT-R inspired trims for a more aerodynamic and aggressive look that is optimized for providing additional front and rear down-force. It is 3 inches longer and 1 inch wider compare to the standard 370Z coupe.

I personally find it to be a great looking car especially from lower angles. It looks aggressive from both the front and the back with sweeping character lines and tasteful red lower spoilers. The swoosh shape headlights and taillights compliment the car nicely.

The side profile of the car is uniquely distinct. The sharp transition from the front windshield to the sloped-back roof line not only gives the 370Z a pouncing stance, but also provides good aerodynamic performance. The twin five spoke 19-inch NISMO aluminum alloy wheels coupled with the Dunlop SP Sport MAXX GT600 high performance tires and bright red calipers makes the NISMO version of the car look even sportier. I am not a fan of the vertical chrome door handles, and would prefer a color matching horizontal configuration.

The interior of the 370Z is definitely not for everybody. It is bare bone, driver-centric, and unrefined. You can either appreciate it as a motorsports-ispired design or find it unbearably basic. If you belong to the second group, this is probably not the car for you. The NISMO model is enhanced with black-and-red leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and NISMO red tachometer.

The seats are positioned quite low which makes getting in and out of the car a little bit of a workout. The seats can only be adjusted manually, but they provide great lateral supports. The choice of material within the cabin is on the frugal side. There is plenty of hard plastics around the dashboard, center console, and the side door panels. I can appreciate the cost and weight saving this would provide for a drive-centric car, but it doesn't explain why the shift knob and break level also feel cheap and rubbery.

Advanced Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Active Sound Enhancement (ASE) systems are standard on every 2019 370Z NISMO. The ANC system generates canceling sound waves to remove undesirable low frequency engine noise, and the ASE enhances natural engine sounds to help bolster the driver's acceleration experience. The car is definitely loud, and the engine vibration becomes quite noticeable once pass 4000rpm. For this reason, my dog Coco was not a big fan of sitting on the floor of the front passenger space.

There is a 7.0 inch touchscreen in the center console that comes standard with Navigation system.
The dials and buttons below the display is similar to what we saw in the Nissan Pathfinder. It is a design that has been in many Nissan vehicles for generations.

A LCD panel that provides driving information is located at the left of the instrument cluster. You can't control the information displayed by the controls on the steering wheel. Instead, you will have to reach for the awkwardly located buttons on top of the instrument cluster.

There is a Bose 6-speaker audio system with two subwoofers to provide great bass and an overall pleasant sounding experience.

The 2019 370Z NISMO is powered by a 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine rated at 350 hp @ 7,400 rpm – 18 horsepower more than a standard 370Z Coupe – and 276 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm. The front engine RWD configuration can push the car from 0-100km/h in only 5.5s. There is plenty of low end torque. Coupled with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, one can skip a few shifts when being extremely lazy. The clutch is on the heavy side, and the shifter has a nice, hefty feedback.

The manual transmission also features standard SynchroRev Match. It automatically controls and adjusts engine speed when shifting to the speed of the next gear position, essentially "blipping" the throttle to smooth out any up/down shifts. It allows for a heel-toe-like downshifting without doing the work. Fortunately, the system can be deactivated with a button next to the shifter for drivers who prefer to shift on their own.

The brake and throttle pedals are located ideally for toe-heel actions, and there are three dials on top of the center console facing the driver to show battery voltage, engine oil temperature, and.... time. The tachometer is located in the center of the instrumental cluster. Two red lights beside the tachometer would start to blink when the RPM is pushed above 7000.

This is a car that has to be pushed to be enjoyed. The steering is heavy (one of the last remaining purely hydraulically assisted steering available in the market), but reassuring. The suspension is stiff but controls the body roll well in tight corners. The cabin is loud, but the engine sounds great. For the price point, it offers great driving performance, and plenty of pleasure in its purist form. That is the reason why the 370Z has been able to survive all these years with little change.

Cargo Space & Storage
To be honest, you would not buy a sports coupe for its cargo and storage capacity. There is minimal amount of trunk space, and putting anything taller in it would obstruct the already limited rear view. The small-items storage options are also limit. There is only enough space for one cup holder in the center console, and the storage space behind the front seats are not only small, but awkward to use. You will almost have to be a contortionist to salvage anything that fell out of the designated storage pockets.

The 2019 Nissan 370Z NISMO is not a car for everyone. Its firm steering, stiff suspensions, and heavy clutch makes driving it around town somewhat of a chore. And the limited storage options making it hard to be the only car in your garage. But once you have the chance to step on the pedal, this car comes alive. Its delivers a pure, mechanical driving experience that rewards the driver with lots of feedback and thrills. If the price premium of the NISMO is hard to swallow, the regular 370Z delivers a similar experience at a much lower price tag.

Test Vehicle

$48,798 CAD without Freight & PDE
Pearl White


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