2020 Nissan 370Z

Performance


#8 out of 8 in Sports Cars

MSRP
$30,090
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2020 Nissan 370Z Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.9

The 2020 Nissan 370Z has standout performance compared to most regular cars, like sedans and hatchbacks. But compared to other sports cars, its athleticism fails to make a positive impression. Its V6 engine is decently powerful, but this car lacks the potency of many of its rivals, and it's less fuel-efficient than some as well. Handling and ride quality tell the same story: The 370Z is solid in both respects, but most class rivals are superior.

  • Performance is average in most categories. The 370Z's brutish shifter deserves some of the blame (especially without the SynchroRev Match function)." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "Aside from its commendable sporting performance, the regular Z is still a fine car for the daily commute. Its ride is compliant enough to comfortably get you where you're going." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • The 370Z Nismo is like an aging prizefighter. It's getting a bit long in the tooth and around town it can be a bit of a lumbering brute. You may think it awkward, outdated and maybe even a bit stupid. But when it steps into the ring, the Z Nismo takes on a grace you wouldn't have thought possible. It's still got some impressive footwork and there is a practiced intelligence and experience behind its still impressive performance." -- CNET (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The 370Z features a 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. The 370Z Nismo trim has the same engine, but it produces 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard (except in the Sport Touring model), or you can opt for a seven-speed automatic.

In its base setup, the engine delivers quick acceleration and ample power for all driving situations, but it doesn't feel remarkable for a sports car. Even the more powerful Nismo doesn't stand out, as rivals like the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Dodge Challenger all have high-performance variants with hundreds more horsepower.

According to EPA estimates, the 370Z earns 17 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with its standard engine and the manual transmission. Ratings are slightly better with the automatic. Most rivals earn better fuel economy.

  • "In either state of tune, this is a gutsy, responsive, naturally aspirated engine that also manages to achieve relatively decent fuel economy as long as the driver's right foot isn't made of lead. Nissan does recommend a diet of premium gasoline across the board." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The Z got to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, but it seemed to take no pleasure in doing so. The launch is tricky without a limited-slip and the engine's coarse groan makes it mentally difficult to wring it out to the 7,500-rpm redline. The Z is pretty quick, but so are comparable Mustang and Camaro models." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • Fortunately, the good folks at Nissan added an Exedy high-performance clutch on all 2018 370Z trims. The former Z's clutch was like using a thigh-press machine at the gym, making the car difficult to drive in traffic and tough to modulate off the line. The lighter Exedy clutch for 2018 is easier to control, and while driving a stick shift in traffic is never fun, at least now you won't be left with a beefy left thigh at the end of the day." -- CNET (2018)

Handling and Braking

Many other sports cars are more dynamic than the 370Z. It doesn't have the sprightly feel of uber-agile rivals like the Mazda Miata, and it handles winding roads with less finesse than other sports cars. While the ride is reasonably comfortable, it's still on the firm side. Rear-wheel drive comes standard; all-wheel drive is not available.

  • In its regular, non-Nismo form, the 2020 370Z is a tolerable companion on routine drives as well as providing wonderful entertainment when the roads are twisting and lonely. It's not as flowing as a Porsche 718 Cayman or even a Mazda MX-5 Miata. The 370Z needs a bit more manhandling to get it around corners, but this extra involvement has its inevitable upside of profound satisfaction when a driver gets things right. Listening for the ideal engine note to change gear, learning how much brake pressure to apply, and tuning into the steering to sense what the front tires are up to all quickly become second nature." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A sports car should excel above everything else in performance. And while the Z manages to keep up with the competition in a straight line, its handling prowess is restricted by a lack of a proper differential and an unrefined drivetrain." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • Overall the ride is a bit stiff, thanks to the sporty suspension that keeps the 370Z flat in the turns. It's fine for some folks but if this is your first foray into sports car territory, you might find it a little jarring." -- CNET (2018)
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2020 Nissan 370Z

MSRP: $30,090 - $47,190

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