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2018 Nissan 370Z Roadster performance review

By Scott Newman, 02 Jun 2018 Reviews

2018 Nissan 370Z Roadster review

Auto, drop-top Zed proves to be a surprise packet

If Nissan ever felt like the 370Z needed a rebrand it could always call it the Tardis, for climbing behind the wheel is akin to stepping back in time. There are buttons strewn everywhere and the materials used and overall architecture belong to a previous generation of interior design.

The 370Z first appeared in these pages in February 2009. Nissan is persisting, however, and has given its junior sports car a light update for 2018, including smoked head and tail-lights, redesigned 19-inch wheels and a new colour: Cherry Red.

Most notable, though, is the significant price cut. The Roadster now starts at $60,990 for the six-speed manual, while the seven-speed auto tested here is $63,490. That’s $11,000 more than the equivalent Coupe, however, shaves around $5K from its previous price tag.

It places the 370Z Roadster in a fairly sparsely populated marketplace, with only the Ford Mustang convertible offering a similar blend of pace, handling and presence.

Comparison: 370Z Nismo v Mustang GT

Back behind the wheel, the 370Z Roadster’s vintage has advantages. A button for everything means there aren’t countless digital sub-menus to wade through and there’s a lack of lights flashing at you from all the active safety aids. Even turning off ESP is achieved with a simple press of a button; no Sports mode, nothing.

That said, ESP doesn’t completely deactivate, but provides more than enough leeway to offer a lot of rear-wheel drive entertainment.

Sweet Dream: 370Z Classic

In the wet the 370Z Roadster has to be driven with great care as there isn’t a lot of purchase on the road, however, the system seems to know when to leave you alone and when you need some support.

The 3.7-litre V6 isn’t the sweetest engine around, but it revs to 7500rpm and is a good match for the auto ’box, while the power feels nicely judged to the chassis. The ride is decent, too, and cutting the roof off doesn’t feel to have unduly affected the body rigidity, though the mechanical clunks and groans made during roof operation are far from confidence-inspiring.

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, Father Time has caught up with the Zed. It’s definitely still an enjoyable drive with an entertaining chassis, but when mechanically identical examples are available on the second-hand market for well under $30,000, it’s difficult to recommend spending more than twice that on a new one.

2018 NISSAN 370Z ROADSTER  SPECS:
Engine: 
3696cc V6, DOHC, 24v 
Power: 245kW @ 7000rpm 
Torque: 363Nm @ 5200rpm 
0-100km/h: 5.5sec (est)   
Weight: 1590kg 
Price: $63,490

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Like: 
Decent pace from the atmo V6; entertaining handling; exterior design is holding up
Dislike: 
Clunky roof; engine noise; old interior; price against a second-hand version