Can the Nissan 370Z prove to be the biggest performance car bargain today?by Dim Angelov, on
With the official unveiling of the 2022 Nissan Z, many people have been dying to find out if it will be anything close to what we were being promised. On paper, things are looking great – a twin-turbo, 400-horsepower V-6, manual gearbox, rear-wheel-drive, and a relatively affordable sticker price. That said, Nissan is still being represented by the Nissan 370Z in the compact sports car segment. YouTube channel Ratiti’s Rides is asking a very relevant question – is the Nissan 370Z worth choosing over a brand new Toyota GR86?
In order to answer the question, a 2020 Nissan 370Z was borrowed from Maus Nissan, Florida. Joe takes a quick look at the Nissan Z’s history, which starts with the 240Z, after which the 2022 Z is styled. Both the 2020 Nissan 370Z and Toyota GR86 cost under $30,000. The dilemma here is, should you get the newer car or the most car for your money? And yes, you can still pick up a brand new 370Z from a Nissan showroom.
Looking at the exterior, the 370Z is very clean. No fake vents here. Moreover, the styling manages to blend both functionality and aesthetics, with a slight hint of retro. If you notice the roofline, it still resembles that of the 1969 240Z.
This being a base model, you get the smaller 18-inch wheels – 225 in the front and 245 in the back.
It is a hatchback-style coupe, which means the whole rear section opens. Not so the case with the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ. This being a base 370Z, it does not have a decklid spoiler. The rear is just like the front – nice and tidy. “I love a nice size rear end”, Joe shares.
Opening the engine bay reveals the lack of gas struts. Instead, you get “the stick”. Other than that, the engine bay looks nice and stylish. You get an engine cover that’s neither boring nor over-styled. Just like in the rear, you get a strut tower brace, passing over the engine.
Speaking of the engine, this is another area where the 370Z vastly outguns the GR86.
That gets a 2.4-liter flat-four with 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet (250 Nm) or 2.0-liter with 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet (212 Nm), while the V-6 in the Nissan makes 332 horsepower and 271 pound-feet (368 Nm) from its 3.7-liter V-6.
The soundcheck reveals a satisfactory engine note, although nothing too exciting. Still, it’s way better than the 86 noise, which is often compared to that of a garbage truck.
Interior-wise, the 370Z and 86 balance each other out. The Nissan has more soft materials throughout, but the cloth on the door can wear out quicker than you’d like. The center console also feels hard and cheap. Other than that, everything on top is nice to the touch. While the interior is very ergonomic, the infotainment gives away that you’re essentially in a car that came out in 2008.
In the back, you have a rather shallow, but still very usable trunk. Good practicality for a sports car. However, the Toyota 86 trunk may be slightly more usable because of the body shape.
First driving impressions reveal that the 370Z is more refined than the BRZ/86. It has a hint of gran-tourer in it, while the “Toyobaru” feels like a 1990s Japanese import car.
Although the 370Z automatic is better than the 86/BRZ unit, a manual is the way to go for both cars.
Performance-wise, there’s no hiding the fact that the Nissan has way more power – over 100 more than the 86. In terms of handling, the Toyota/Subaru proposition is more direct and a bit more chuckable into corners, while the Nissan feels a bit less eager and heavier (which it is). Still, it does exhibit just the right amount of oversteer, for that spectacular corner exit.
The 370Z will allow you to change gears yourself, but the base car does not have paddles behind the wheel. Instead, you need to move the gear selector, which is at least a bit closer to having an actual manual. Pulling back the lever downshifts, while pushing it forward upshifts – a bit unintuitive according to Joe.
The verdict is that the 370Z has managed to age gracefully and still has it. But, the manual is the way to go, as it is more involving.