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2014 Nissan 370Z Overview
Sometimes standing pat is enough, especially in a world increasingly devoid of rear-wheel-drive, front-engine sports cars. Add a manual transmission to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a veritable blue-moon situation. Of course, that was before the introduction of the 2013 Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ. Suddenly the stables are filling up.
That said, we’re still happy the 370Z simply exists. More options aren’t exactly something to complain about, but Nissan saw what some enhanced competition meant and attempted to sweeten the deal last year with a mild redesign and some added standard features. Things like revised dampers, painted brake calipers and new 19-inch wheels graced any Z equipped with the Sport Package, while the top-tier Nismo got some heavy-duty brake hoses and fluid along with an upgraded Bose audio system. Even the base coupe received some new 18-inch wheels, and all the Zs got some additional paint options.
Apparently, that wasn’t enough. Competition continues to cut into profits with designs that are more efficient, fresh and functional than what the Z has to offer. What this means for 2014 is that the same old Z will be showing up at your local dealership, with two notable differences—a price tag that falls several thousand dollars short of last year's and some further updates to the Nismo.
That’s correct. Nissan has finally realized its sport offering is far too dear when compared with the competition, and while this adjustment goes a long way, it’s still not enough to get the Z down to more reasonable rates.
Not to say that the Z doesn’t offer plenty of fun and performance for its price tag, especially the Nismo, which gets an aesthetic massage with some new paint outside and a new steering wheel and tachometer inside. But even base Zs bring some impressive performance from a 332-hp, 3.7-liter V6. That’s backed up by 270 lb-ft of torque, delivered to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission with SynchroRev-matching or a 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Move up to the Nismo, and you’ll have to learn to shift with the big boys, as only the manual transmission is stepping up to handle the 370 hp that variant produces. (The extra power comes from a sport exhaust and engine mapping/tuning.)
But you’ll also have to deal with a harsh ride, especially in the Nismo, as well as poor rearward visibility—a weak point of this classic design profile. And then there’s all the noise. Usually noise in a sports car is a good thing, but here it’s excessive road noise and harsh engine noise that doesn’t impart that usual dose of visceral response you’re looking for in the vroom vroom.
Choose coupe or roadster, and start deciding which flavor of Z you’d like to savor. Looking to eat up some miles? The Touring trim offers heated/cooled seats, Bose audio, leather and Bluetooth, while the aforementioned Sport Package will also add sticky Bridgestone Potenzas, upgraded brakes and the coveted limited-slip diff.
Personally, I’d prefer the wiggly rear of a Mustang’s live rear axle along with V6 performance of 305 hp and 30 mpg. Or better yet, the BRZ/FR-S option, with better handling and more comfort, not to mention the lower price that comes with any of these options. Otherwise, you’re on the right track, Nissan. Keep plugging away and chopping out those unnecessary bits. We’re just glad you’re stepping up to the plate.
A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.