Nissan’s well-known “Z” rear-drive sports car that started in the 1970s still pulls at the heart strings of driving enthusiasts with its sporty, two-seat cabin, low-to-the-pavement stance, racetrack-ready stiff ride and strong V-6 power.
Race day sensations are even greater in the top-of-the-line 2014 370Z NISMO model, where power is tuned up to 350 horses, suspension is so taut the car corners like it’s on rails, and brakes are the largest in Z car history.
The starting retail price for the 2014 370Z Coupe dropped some $3,000 from its predecessor, and the price for the top-of-the-line, 2014 370Z NISMO was unchanged.
Specifically, starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $30,800 for a base, 2014 370Z Coupe with 332-horsepower V-6, six-speed manual transmission and 18-inch, high-performance tires. The 2014 370Z Coupe with same engine and a six-speed manual with SynchroRev Match — a feature that has won raves because it makes downshifts quicker and smoother — starts at $33,830. The more powerful 2014 370Z NISMO starts at $43,830.
Among the exclusive standard features on the NISMO are an Alcantara-finished steering wheel, 19-inch, forged alloy wheels by Rays Engineering and a plaque on the centre console noting the vehicle’s model year and serial number.
As expected, the Z car, where premium gasoline is recommended, and its V-6 competitors Camaro and Mustang are not fuel sippers.
They all carry federal government fuel economy ratings of 18 or 19 miles per gallon in city driving, which is akin to the rating for a 2014 Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicle with V-6. Highway ratings for the sports cars with V-6s range from 26 or 27 mpg for the Z and Camaro to 31 mpg for the base Mustang. These numbers are higher than the highway mileage estimate for the Highlander.
Nissan further bolstered the NISMO Z for speedy travel by adding a longer front nose for more downforce and special side sills and new rear bumper for smoother airflow around the car.
Styling-wise, dark grey paint with red pinstripe is added at the lower front and rear fascias to differentiate the NISMO models from lesser Z cars.
All 2014 models of 370Z continue with Nissan’s squat, strong, exterior appearance that’s unlike that on any other car. It reminds some observers of a car body composed of flaps rather than graceful curves.
Inside, the two seats provide good support, and Nissan uses hold-fast fabric seat inserts to ensure people stay put during the ride. The three round gauges directly in front of the driver and three other round gauges atop the centre of the dashboard are reminiscent of earlier Zs and are easy-to-read references on the car’s operation.
The Z has six air bags, traction control, antilock brakes and electronic dynamic control. But some safety items, such as blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning, are not offered. Options in general are minimal.
The 370Z also is offered as a roadster with a starting retail price of $42,280.