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November 16, 2020

Review: 2020 Nissan 370Z NISMO

2020 has been tough. The pandemic has definitely screwed everyone over—mobility is limited and business is bad. Looking back, there’s not much to like about this year perhaps save for this: the arrival of the Nissan 370Z. The “Z34,” as it’s known among enthusiast is a decade old, sure; but it’s time to erase all those preconceived notions about this pre-teen-aged sportscar. It’s a bright spot in an otherwise dreary year for anything four-wheeled.

Photos simply don’t do the 370Z any justice. Looking at it through a screen makes you think it’s fat and bloated; when in reality, it’s sexy and curvaceous. The exaggerated fenders create a Coke-bottle shaped body that are nicely filled in with thick, meaty tires (245-mm at the front, 285-mm at the back). The design dates back to a time when Tik Tok was a song rather than an app, but it doesn’t look it. The simple, organic lines mean it’s aged rather gracefully than most other sportscars. Oh, and with the Nismo kit—with its racy front and rear clips, ducktail spoiler, and forged wheels, it gives it this nice Porsche vibe.

Sadly, there are ways the 370Z is showing its age, but mind you, they’ll go almost unnoticed. For instance, it’s still using a pair of HID headlights, when other cars, even ones from China have moved on to LEDs. And speaking about LEDs, the rear taillights still don’t incorporate any fancy pattern—they still use that generic, turn of the 2010s dotted pattern.

Sliding inside the cabin of the 370Z Nismo reveals it to be a mix of old and not-so-old school (take note of the choice of words here). The cabin layout and some switchgear require some carbon dating, but at least it doesn’t feel cramped inside. Despite the two-seater layout, there’s plenty of leg- and headroom making this a much friendlier daily driver than, say, a Mazda MX-5. Moreover, Nissan’s tried to modernize things The Blaupunkt head unit is a dealer option which swaps CD playback for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On this particular unit, the installation isn’t as slick—steering wheel controls had to be mapped manually, and there’s this annoying hiss. However, a quick call to both Nissan and Blaupunkt assures it’s because the wiring harness hasn’t been optimized (it was installed for photo shoot purposes only). Customer units won’t experience any of these problems.

It’s worth noting that interior storage isn’t a strong point for the 370Z. There’s a tiny center console bin that can hold your wallet, and probably a pair of sunglasses, but that’s about it. There’s also a lidded bin on the dashboard, but that one’s best left for cards and receipts. There’s also a fold-out bin behind the passenger seat too, but that can only fit the owner’s manual and maybe a map, if you still use one. Oh, and there’s just a single cup holder, but that space will probably be occupied by your smartphone if it’s tethered to the head unit. Thankfully, the cargo hold fairs much better. It can accommodate bulky items like golf clubs and even luggage, but you’ll need to unhook the retractable tonneau cover to do so.

The Nismo’s standard black and red Recaro sport seats look and feel lovely, with the perforated Alcantara inserts keeping the back and bum from sliding about; the same material, but in black, is found on the tiller too. Speaking about the steering wheel, it’s not too thick which makes it feel nice in hand. It’s only adjustable for tilt, but it does have one unique trick: adjusting it also moves the instrument binnacle.

Ultimately, Nissan’s decision to give the 370Z driver a damned good driving position underlines its sole reason for existence: the oh-so-wonderful drive. Press the start button—trimmed in red, of course, and the 3.7-liter V6 thrums to life. It’s a lovely sound—refined, deep, and most important of all, real—there’s none of that fake acoustic piping nonsense.

The 370Z Nismo puts out 344 horsepower (up 12) and 371 Nm of torque (up 8 Nm) compared to the regular 370Z. But without a back-to-back drive, it’s hard to conclude if those numbers make a world of a difference. That said, it always feels in its element—whether it’s in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or being pummeled on the race track. It’s a great all-rounder, extremely linear and easy to live with. It can be driven sedately on EDSA, or flogged on the racetrack; never losing its composure. The decision to use a 7-speed automatic (no, you can’t get the Nismo with a manual locally) drew some flack, but ultimately, it works to broaden this sportscar’s appeal. Besides, purists can still order the base 370Z with a stick if they so wished.

As a sportscar, it’s noticeably rides firm in the city, but not to the level that it’s uncomfortable. Perhaps the bigger annoyance is the constant howling from the tires transmitted by those Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600 tires.

Once it’s freed from the city confines though, it comes into its own. It’s fast, but not stupidly so. Carve through a section of bends, and it behaves predictably. The nicely-weighted steering (it’s old-school hydraulic) is responsive and sends instant feedback. You know exactly what the front wheels are doing, giving you the confidence to push just that little bit harder. There’s also no unpredictability here—no understeer, no oversteer—it’s eerily telepathic, and honestly, addictive.

Priced at P 3.888-million, the 370Z Nismo is a million and some loose change more than base, non-Nismo 370Z. On one hand, some will say that it’s a pretty steep price to pay for what are essentially some factory-tuned handling upgrades; some may even say they could replicate the performance by going the aftermarket route. True. But if there’s one thing you can conclude after driving this is that it goes beyond the numbers. 

After stepping out of 370Z Nismo, you feel properly like you’ve driven a sportscar—one that demands your full and complete attention. For that, it rewards you with the exhilaration that can’t and won’t be reflected on the sticker price. Most important of all, after everything that’s been happening so far this year, driving the 370Z rejuvenates the spirit. It brings back the feeling that better days are ahead, and personally, this sense of positivity and optimism is priceless.

2020 Nissan 370Z NISMO

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Ownership 2020 Nissan 370Z NISMO
Year Introduced 2020
Vehicle Classification Sports Car
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basic
Body Type 2-door Coupe
Seating 2
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 3.7
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders V6
BHP @ rpm 344 @ 7,400
Nm @ rpm 371 @ 5,200
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 7 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 5.52 km/L @ 18 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,330
Width (mm) 1,870
Height (mm) 1,315
Wheelbase (mm) 2,550
Curb Weight (kg) 1,609
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone, NISMO Tuned
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link, NISMO Tuned
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Tires Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600
245/40 R 19 (f),
285/35 R 19 (r)
Wheels Forged Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors None
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts NA
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor NA
Other Safety Features None
Exterior Features
Headlights HID
Fog Lamps Yes, Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather/Alcantara
Seating Adjustment (driver) Manual, 6-way, Recaro
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Manual, 4-way, Recaro
Seating Surface Leather/Alcantara
Folding Rear Seat NA
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo/CD/Aux/USB/Bluetooth (Stock)
Stereo/USB/Blueooth/Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (Dealer Option, as Tested)
# of Speakers 8, Bose
Steering Controls Yes

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