1. The 370Z is a dinosaur
The 10-year-old 370Z is one of the oldest designs on sale. Time has not wearied the body design: it’s still gorgeous to behold. Same can’t be said for the cabin. The march of progress in interior tech and functionality of the past decade means the ageing Nissan looks and feels every inch the pensioner. You get eight airbags but, even after last year’s refresh, its dashboard, multimedia and switches are from another generation, including an orange digital readout akin to your first Nokia phone.
2. It’s an old-school sports car with cosmetic treats
Two-seater coupe, naturally aspirated V6 (245kW/363Nm), rear-wheel drive and six-speed manual: it’s a purist’s delight. Keep the 3.7-litre’s revs high and the gearbox makes slick changes. Acceleration is mighty with instant throttle response and the exhaust note is muscular. It’s all a bit clunkier to live with around town but the ride’s not restrictively harsh. This being the N-Sport you get attractive racing stripes for the bonnet, roof, boot and sides, plus black alloy wheels. Mustardy yellow steering wheel, shift knob, dash, kneepads and door trim are more polarising, akin to some dodgy modified job from the 1990s.
3. The value proposition isn’t too bad
Coupes used to cost some $57K before on-roads but the N-Sport launched in July at $48,490 before on-roads. You should score a good deal if you haggle: there are ex-demo N-Sports with minimal kilometres advertised at $46,000 drive-away. You miss out on modern niceties such as smartphone mirroring, digital speedo and safety kit such as AEB and blind spot monitor. You get a seven-inch touchscreen, reverse camera, satnav, cruise control, keyless entry and start, Bose audio and leather accented heated power seats. Not great is the now miserly three-year/100,000km warranty and service intervals of six months/10,000km that come to a chunky $2322 for the first three years.
4. Few rivals beyond the Ford Mustang
Ford sold 6412 Mustangs last year. Nissan shifted 326 370Zs. Ford’s runaway sales shows there’s demand for big-engined rear drive sports cars, with the more popular 5.0-litre V8 GT version costing $62,990. Cheaper thrills can be had — and with far more modern tech, safety and infotainment. The Mazda MX-5 RF Hardtop is $39,400, Subaru BRZ $34,280 and Toyota 86 GT just $31,440 (all before on-roads).
5. Get one while you still can
Nissan’s Z-car story began in 1969 with the fabled Datsun-branded 240Z. The current 370Z is the sixth generation and potentially the last. Whispers about a supposed replacement called 400Z have gone quiet and Nissan’s focus is very much on SUVs. Until the electric Leaf arrives, its only other proper “car” on sale in Australia is the $189,000+ GT-R supercar. Nissan 370Z N-Sport
Price: $55,992 drive-away
Safety: 8 airbags, rear camera, seat belt warning light, active headrests
Engine: 3.7-litre V6, 245kW/363Nm