Nissan's Z cars have been strong performers for decades. The current-generation Nissan 370Z carries that torch both on the road with potent V6 power choices and on the balance sheet with stellar resale value that competes favorably with rivals from pricier brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
You'll Like The 2012 Nissan 370Z If...
If you're looking for seat-of-your-pants performance in a sexy coupe that won't break the bank, take a spin in a 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe. Open-air fans will love the 370Z Roadster version.
You May Not Like The 2012 Nissan 370Z If...
If you're looking for the best value-to-horsepower ratio, you can climb behind the wheel of a V6-powered Mustang or Camaro, both of which have more than 300 horsepower and a starting price well below $25,000.
There are no major changes for 2012.
Choosing to draw heavily from its Infiniti line rather than the more pedestrian Nissan sedans has endowed the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe with a gorgeous interior that no one will ever criticize as being too plastic or hard-surfaced. Rich color choices for the seats and door cards complement a cockpit filled with soft-touch surfaces and tasteful metallic-looking trim. Nissan maximized the Z's interior space creating a roadster-sized car that can comfortably fit two 6-foot adults. Excellent sport seats hold their occupants firmly in place without the feeling of being shoehorned, and an IP cluster than moves in conjunction with the tilt steering wheel assures drivers of all sizes will find a comfortable position without sacrificing a clear view of the 370Z's impressive instruments. A nice tribute to the original Z car are the three individual gauges for oil, temperature and volts (there's a clock in there, too) mounted atop the center dash and angled toward the driver. While cargo space isn't usually a big priority among this car's owners, it's nice to know there is a usable area behind the seats easily accessible via the large hatch opening (or smallish trunk on the Roadster).
Bucking the trend to grow larger and longer, the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe retains its taut dimensions and lightweight chassis. Sitting low to the ground is one of the keys to the 370Z's impressive handling, but the look becomes more dramatic when equipped with the available Sport Package, which adds side ground effects and a low front spoiler (designed to reduce lift). One look at the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe reveals its strong family heritage with Nissan's other performance legend, the Maxima Sedan. Shared styling cues include boomerang-shaped headlights and taillights, as well as a rich color palate. There's a bit of GT-R in the 370Z's large flared fenders and cantilevered roof, while its radically styled 19-inch 5-spoke wheels are unlike anything offered by Nissan. The 370Z Roadster features a power-operated soft top that stows beneath a color-keyed hard cover.
Unlike its 350Z predecessor, the 2012 Nissan 370Z doesn't force a trade-off between razor-sharp handling and a comfortable ride. The 370Z's sport-tuned suspension is able to perform its magic thanks to the car's lightweight body, short wheelbase and wide track; 19-inch performance tires don't hurt either. In the curves, the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe displays almost no lean or roll, cornering flat as though it were a roller-coaster cart on rails. The well-modulated power steering is spot-on, although just as we were pushing it to its limits, the annoying stability-control systems intervened to spoil the fun. Luckily, Nissan allows the system to shut off, leaving the driver free to test his or her skills the old-fashioned way. As we suspected, with the VDC switched off, the 370Z remains balanced and forgiving. As for power, we never felt let down by the 3.7-liter V6, nor were we disappointed by the grip from the summer tires or the excellent brakes. Nissan's automatic transmission works quite well, but the easy-to-modulate clutch, short-throw shifter and SynchroRev Match option of the manual transmission make it our transmission of choice.
Pricing for the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe starts just over $32,000 for the base coupe and moves up to about $37,000 for the Touring trim. The Nismo edition is priced just shy of $41,500, while the Roadster runs between $40,500 and $46,000. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard with a 7-speed automatic available for an additional $1,300 (N/A on Nismo). The Navigation System adds an extra $2,150 to the bottom line while the Sport Package increases the price by around $3,000. To compare the actual transaction prices for the Nissan 370Z, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price. Like the 350Z before it, the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe is expected to hold its value well over time, far better than the Mazda RX-8, Ford Mustang V6 and Chevrolet Camaro LT, as well as the BMW Z4, Audi TT and Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
The 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe comes in two trims, base and Touring, and one special edition trim: Nismo. Even in base form, the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe is well equipped with automatic climate control, steering-wheel audio and cruise controls, keyless entry and start, xenon headlights and a 4-speaker audio system with auxiliary input. Moving up to the Touring trim adds niceties like power-adjustable heated seats, Bluetooth, leather and suede interior, aluminum pedals and a Bose audio system with eight speakers including two subwoofers. Adding to the safety of both trims are standard stability control, traction control, active head restraints, tire-pressure-monitoring system and six airbags.
There are only two options available for the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe. A Sport Package is available for both base and Touring trims and includes a viscous limited-slip differential, 19-inch forged wheels, sport brakes and downshift rev matching on cars equipped with the manual transmission. The Sport Package also includes a rear spoiler and front chin spoiler that eliminate aerodynamic lift at higher speeds. Available only for the Touring trim is a Navigation Package that includes a navigation system, real-time traffic and weather information, iPod connectivity and 9.3 gigabytes of on-board music storage.
Heel-toe downshifting, which requires using the right foot to both brake and blip the throttle, is one of the most difficult skills for any driver to learn. The 2012 Nissan 370Z's SynchroRev Match system blips the throttle, automatically providing butter-smooth downshifts every time. Driving purists who would rather match revs the old-fashioned way are given the option to shut the system off.
7-Speed Automatic Transmission
Delivering the direct feel and fuel economy of a manual transmission along with quick, smooth shifts, the paddle shifter-equipped 7-speed automatic found in the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe is a winner.
Under the Hood
Power for the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe comes from the latest generation of Nissan's venerated VQ series V6 engine. Producing 332 horsepower (350 in the Nismo), the 370Z's engine delivers robust performance and impressive fuel economy. Stealing some of the focus away from the Z's excellent engine are its advanced transmission options: a standard 6-speed manual and an optional 7-speed automatic. Manual-equipped cars with the optional Sport Package also feature SynchroRev Match, a system that automatically blips the throttle for seamless downshifts.
332 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
350 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm (Nismo)
270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
276 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm (Nismo)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (manual), 19/26 (automatic)
There is so much to like about the 2012 Nissan 370Z Coupe and Roadster that you could almost justify owning one no matter what the circumstances. From a performance point of view, the 370Z is pure perfection, with a sweet-singing V6 engine teamed to a slick-shifting manual transmission, glued-to-the-road handling, and an interior that is visually one of our favorite places to sit. Priced in line with the V8-powered Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang GT, the 2012 Nissan 370Z is easily affordable, providing you need only one car. While others, such as the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, fancy themselves real competition, many 370Z owners feel their cars are more in league with such titans as the Audi TT, Porsche Cayman and BMW Z4. Regardless of what you're comparing it to, there really is only one Nissan 370Z, a car that will keep a smile on your face long after you've shut off the engine and locked the doors.