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#4

in 2012 Affordable Sports Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $23,622 - $28,564
Original MSRP: $32,280 - $44,500
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy

2012 Nissan 370Z Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

With its nimble handling, powerful V6 acceleration and slick rev-matching transmissions, reviewers maintain that the 2012 Nissan 370Z offers performance that rivals much pricier sports cars. However, they also note that the 370Z’s V6 feels unrefined in some situations.

  • "Though it doesn't jump off the line like some sporty cars, 370Z is smooth and strong. It responds well for passing and merging." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Graced by a short-throw stick shift and Nissan's SyncroRev Match option, which blips the throttle automatically to rev-match downshifts, the Z encourages you to dart between traffic gaps and generally haul ass whenever possible. No teenager belongs within reach of the keys." -- Cars.com 
  • "Traveling along some of my favorite West Virginia back roads, the Z was nothing short of a blast. There's ample torque, so I could leave the shifter in third and concentrate on the fine handling." -- MarketWatch 

Acceleration and Power

The Nissan 370Z wows reviewers with its slick transmissions and powerful V6 engine. However, a handful of critics note that its engine feels unrefined in the upper revs.

Under the hood, a 3.7-liter V6 generates 332 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 270 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. A six-speed manual transmission, or an optional seven-speed automatic, routes power to the rear wheels. Reviewers praise Nissan for its SynchroRev and Downshift Rev systems. After a gear change, these systems automatically adjust the engine speed to match the new gear in order to get the most power. However, if you’d like your 370Z to have a little added oomph, the top-of-the-line NISMO 370Z puts out an impressive 350 horsepower.

The EPA reports that the 2012 370Z coupe gets 19/26 mpg and 18/26 mpg city/highway with automatic and manual transmission, respectively. The 370Z Roadster gets 18/25 mpg city/highway with either transmission.

  • "The manual has smooth clutch action, though the shifter is a bit notchy. The automatic is crisp, with its steering-wheel paddles a boon to spirited driving." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Mash the floor-mounted accelerator, and prepare for a stupid grin to be plastered on your face." -- Motor Trend 
  • "If a quick downshift was called for, the Z would automatically provide just the right power blip for a smooth transition. All in all, a nice bit of work for those of us who never did master the old heel-and-toe technique." -- MarketWatch 
  • "The V6, while strong, lacks some refinement and feels labored at high revs. This might seem a petty complaint, but it substantially dulls the enjoyment of a spirited run on open roads.” -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The 370Z’s nimble handling and strong brakes continue to earn high marks from reviewers. They often say that the Z’s impressive driving dynamics rival that of luxury sports cars, and that in terms of poise, it’s one of the best sports cars for the money.

Still, one test driver counters that the 370Z Roadster is expensive, and that its ride isn’t as refined as the similarly-priced BMW 1-Series convertible over rough pavement.

  • "Base, Roadster, or NISMO, 370Z is stable, controlled, and balanced. All models carve corners with poise exhibited by cars that cost thousands more. Steering feel is direct and responsive." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "This is the quickest-stopping Z we've ever driven. And we've driven many, many Zs over the years." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Things get squirrely if you nail the gas coming out of a turn, and mid-corner bumps perturb the chassis more than I'd like. As $40,000 droptops go, the BMW 1 Series convertible stays more planted." -- Cars.com (370Z Roadster) 
  • "Body lean is minimal and the message from your bones to your brain is, ‘This is why you bought a sports car!’" -- MarketWatch