2011 Nissan 370Z Review

370Z

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2011 Nissan 370Z Overview

Despite its reputation for being an updated 350Z, the Nissan 370Z was a near-complete redesign. For 2011, there’s a new rear-view camera added to the optional Navigation Package – a feature that will add voice recognition and traffic information as well as a USB port and a hard drive for the CD/MP3 player in the Touring trim.

Otherwise, the 2011 Nissan 370Z is a carryover model, available in Base and Touring trim levels for the Coupe and Convertible body styles. Coupes additionally have the option of the sport-inspired NISMO trim, which offers several performance upgrades over the other trim levels including Nissan’s SynchroRev Match System, which automatically raises engine speed during downshifts to ensure smoother transitions.

This rear-wheel-drive, 2-door sports car holds two passengers and is powered by two versions of the 3.7-liter VQ engine from Nissan. Its all-aluminum construction sports a DOHC design and variable valve timing via Nissan’s Variable Valve Event and Lift system. For Base and Touring trims, it produces 332 hp at a lofty 7,000 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm. Both trims get the option of a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission, either of which will deliver an EPA-estimated 18-26 mpg for Coupes with the required premium-grade fuel. Choosing the Convertible configuration will offer the same options, but fuel economy on the highway will drop to 25.

For the NISMO trim, exhaust tuning and remapping of the ECU results in 18 extra hp, a 7,400-rpm redline and 6 extra lb-ft of torque. A close-ratio 6-speed manual fitted with Nissan’s SynchroRev Match is the sole option here. The NISMO also enjoys a limited-slip differential, larger brakes and 19-inch RAYS forged aluminum-alloy wheels with Y-rated Yokohama tires. Base and Touring trim levels get 18-inch wheels stock.

The NISMO’s suspension has also seen some attention, with spring rate increased 15 and 10 percent front and rear, stabilizer bars that are 15 and 50 percent stiffer front and rear and a 15-percent increase in roll stiffness rate. Shock damping has also been increased here, 40 percent in the front and 140 percent in the rear. The changes do a lot to improve the handling and braking of the 370Z, although even the Base trim will tackle any corner with ease with standard traction and stability control.

Option packages give you a lot of leeway, with a Sport Package offering everything the NISMO trim gets excepting the engine and exhaust upgrades, and an Aerodynamics Package offering the front air dam and rear spoiler alone. Special praise for Nissan is deserved, as the upgraded brakes can also be checked as a standalone option, a nod to safety that would be welcome amongst other manufacturers.

There had been rumors of a hybrid 370Z this year, but Nissan failed to deliver. Perhaps that’s best, as the two ideas conflict conceptually if not logically. Besides, efficiency isn’t what you’re looking for in a 370Z, despite not unimpressive figures with regard to fuel economy. So small changes in a car that really didn’t need much changing. Sadly, complaints about excess engine noise that plagued even the 370Z’s predecessor are still lingering, although the 3.7-liter engine has been praised for being more refined than the outgoing 3.5. With a bit more refinement, the 370Z could really solidify its place as one of the great sports cars of the new century.

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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.

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