2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster new car reviews

Check it out: The 370Z has gone topless.

Better than: 280ZX 2+2 with T-tops
But not as good as: Mazda Miata
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 88.40

What makes a sports car? Some would say only two seats plus--and this is critical-- a folding top. Well, the Nissan 370Z now fits that bill, as a droptop has been added to the lineup.

While there were rumors about a folding hardtop, the 370Z Roadster gets a traditional soft top. Like the regular Z, the Roadster also gets the 332-horsepower V6 as well as those sexy hips.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

There's a lot that I like about the latest Z-car. I love the proportions, the look, the chassis and even the driveline. I don't, however, like the fact that there's almost zero over-the-shoulder visibility--first the coupe and now definitely with the Roadster.

While this would be fine if you were the only driver on the road, good or bad the zombie infestation hasn't yet kicked into high gear. As a result, we're still sharing the roads and it's nice to be able to change lanes without first having to say a little prayer.

Other than that slightly big deal, the rest of the car is lovely. I did turn off the rev-matching feature, however. While it works nicely, I can manage my own heel-toe downshifts. I also didn't feel like sounding like "that guy" every time I came to a red light.

Scott Lear Scott Lear

The 370Z is a pretty cool toy, but it's a pricey one. The complex folding roof is an engineering marvel, with lots of visible hydraulics and hinges, but the motion wasn't as smooth as the much larger fabric top on my wife's Solara, and the wind noise with the roof up was far more notable than her ragtop Camry, too. This surprised me, since the 370Z's roof is much smaller overall. Rearward visibility with the top up is shameful, so it's a good thing that the car has plenty of power to point and squirt for passing; just assume there's a car in your blind spot all the time and you should be OK.

One element of the 370Z that all sports car manufacturers should mimic is the knee bolsters. When a racing seat isn't an option, you use your knees against the transmission tunnel and the door to brace yourself: on the 370Z, they planned for this with some perfectly-placed suede pillows. It's a brilliant little touch that lets you know that a driver was involved somewhere in the design phase.

I'm still not a fan of the 370Z's power-on breakaway characteristics: it just doesn't slide out as smoothly as my Torsen-equipped IS 300, despite having way more power. The engine is a high-revving funbox, however, and the car has a nice mix of manliness and finesse, somewhere between a V8 Mustang and an S2000. The automatic rev matching is super effective: consider it training wheels if you're just learning the art, but be willing to accept that the computer doesn't make mistakes.

Tom Heath Tom Heath
UberDork

I have to admit I was surprised at how much I liked the 370Z Roadster. Part of the appeal of a top-down car is the simplicity and purity of the driving experience, so although the 370Z has more high-tech future gadgets than I'd prefer it still provided a very engaging and direct experience. Just don't try to see behind you with the top up.

In the end, I still prefer my turbo Miata. On the other hand, on the eve of a 4600-mile road trip, I'd happily switch to the comfort of a brand new car with power seats and a killer stereo, so I guess it depends on your application.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

While the Z goes, stops and turns well, it is missing that intangible something that separates great cars from good ones. Where great cars pour themselves down the road, this Z feels like it's fighting physics with every move. It goes well enough, but it sure seems like it's working hard to get there.

Putting down the convertible top helps solve the coupe's horrid visibility problems. With the top up, though, changing lanes takes a leap of faith. Speaking of the top, its operation certainly doesn't build confidence in the overall quality of the car. The top raises and lowers with a nasty, shaking, clunky noise--certainly way, way out of place in a nearly $40K car. Despite the revised (and quite nice) interior, the entire car seems to be shoddily put together. The doors vibrate when closed, the ride is jouncy, and there's that clunky top....

If you love the look, you may love the car. I'm not thrilled with the convertible's looks, and its manners did nothing to win me over.

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Comments

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Luke
Luke UberDork
8/6/10 9:02 a.m.

Not being able to see out the back, is a bit of a major problem, really. I could put up with that flaw in something outlandish and impractical like a Lamborghini, but not in this. Also, I dig the brown ("chocolate"?) paint.

TreoWayne
TreoWayne Reader
8/10/10 5:52 p.m.

You guys complaining about visibility to the rear must have no idea how to adjust your outside rear view mirrors. I change lanes a lot, and with properly adjusted mirrors I never turn my head to see what is going on behind/next to my car.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
8/12/10 10:50 a.m.

@treowayne-

That doesn't sound like a good idea to me, but that's between you, your insurance agent, and the schoolbus full of nuns you may or may not hit. The mirrors would have to be huge to make up for the massive blind spots in any car.

Rupert
Rupert HalfDork
8/21/10 11:12 a.m.

Unfortunately, most autos & people in the US are suffering the same malady of too much size & weight. Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Corvette etc. all need to remember Less is More.

An updated Datsun 2000 or for a coupe, a 240Z would be a lot more fun than this model. The side view reminds me of an overinflated balloon or a recent model Thunderbird.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

What makes a sports car? Some would say only two seats plus--and this is critical-- a folding top. Well, the Nissan 370Z now fits that bill, as a droptop has been added to the lineup.

While there were rumors about a folding hardtop, the 370Z Roadster gets a traditional soft top. Like the regular Z, the Roadster also gets the 332-horsepower V6 as well as those sexy hips.

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