IN a volatile car market where SUVs and hot hatches are pulling out all the stops to attract new customers and maintain the current ones, there is one manufacturer staying true to ‘old school cool’. Enter the 2019 Nissan 370Z N-Sport.
Built on the platform of it’s predecessor, the 370Z N-Sport stands alone without a true 2-seater rival, although it could count the Ford Mustang, Lexus RC coupe range, and Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ among its competitors.
After nearly a decade of minor tweaks and facade updates, the naturally aspirated V6 rear-drive sports car sits in a tiny minority, where four chambers and a turbo charger appear more appealing than a capable six for most brands.
To truly appreciate the 370Z N-Sport though one must forgo driver aids like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and all the other fancy stuff, because the 370Z N-Sport isn’t fitted with any of it, and that’s why we love it.
It’s also not the lightest or the most agile in it’s class, but a sporty rear-drive coupe does not withstand the test of time without having an ace up its sleeve. That ace could well be special editions, like the NISMO variant and the sleek looking N-Sport edition.
Powered by a 3.7-litre VQ series V6, that pushes out 245kW of power and 363Nm of torque, the 370Z N-Sport delivers on a raw, rear-wheel drive sports car fix that probably only a Lotus or Porsche could better.
And whilst there are hot hatches producing similar torque figures, like the Volkswagen Golf GTI (370Nm), there is no substitute for the raspy growl of six thumping cylinders, especially when it’s mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
One feature we found annoying with the gearbox was the over zealous rev matching on down shifts. A novelty initially, the 370Z N-Sport would benefit from an ‘off’ button for when you’re not at the track.
If a stick shift is not your preference though, the N-Sport can be purchased with the 7-speed auto which bumps the sticker price up to $50,990 plus on-road, from the $48,490 plus on-roads for the manual.
Nissan’s claimed fuel figures of 10.6-litres/100km on a combined cycle were no match for our 12.8-litres/100km during testing, which is to be expected given there were some spirited presses of the loud pedal.
The power delivery is linear and impressive, with the 370Z pulling all the way to 7000rpm, with 500 rpm in reserve before hitting red line. But it’s the driving experience where the 370Z N-Sport comes into its own.
The independent double wish-bone suspension up front and independent rear suspension in the rear has been dialed in with precision by Nissan engineers, making the ride comfort smooth and compliant when cruising suburban streets.
With its 55-45 front to rear weight distribution and a factory limited slip diff, the 370Z does exactly what you ask it to do. It’s precise and direct with little body roll and total confidence, even on the N-Sport enhanced black 18-inch alloy wheels.
At full noise, it’s capable of 0-100km/h in 6.0-seconds flat. That’s only 0.5 seconds off the 253kW NISMO version, which hits the market at $11,000 more than the N-Sport. Tipping the scales at 1,515kg, that represents a whole lot of fun.
On top of the wheels we already mentioned, the 370Z N-Sport exterior receives a decals pack and black side mirrors, which compliment the three N-Sport colours; Chicane Yellow, Shiro White and Diamond Black.
The black or white option will, however, set you back an extra $580. There’s also LED tail-lights and daytime running lights up front to finish off the tough, athletic stance of the 370Z N-Sport nicely.
The interior is fitted out with a plethora of yellow highlights and comes standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, SatNav, 9.3GB music hard drive and an eight-speaker Bose audio system.
The N-Sport does however miss out on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software, which is disappointing. It is however fitted with a rear view camera, push-button start, climate control and cruise control.
The four-way electric premium cloth sport seats, leather trim steering wheel and gear knob finish the cabin off with a sporty feel. Vision out the rear glass isn’t fantastic but it wasn’t something that we seemed to give much thought to.
Cabin space is surprising, with a large center console bin, two good size cup holders, and storage cubbies in behind the driver and passenger seats. The boot stores a space saver wheel, multiple tie down points and will get you out of trouble if you need groceries.
The 370Z N-Sport also comes standard with ABS brakes, six airbags, traction control, brake assist and electronic brake force distribution. There’s no ANCAP safety rating for the Z though, as it’s never been tested.
The 2019 Nissan 370Z N-Sport comes with a 3-year/100,000km warranty and three years roadside assist, with Nissan the last remaining major car maker not yet offering longer warranties.
Overall, it offers what can best be described as a classic yet modern driving experience, and caters for the driver who is all about the journey. It’s quite possibly the best rear-wheel drive performance car under $50,000 on the market.
Our test vehicle was supplied by Nissan Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Nissan 370Z N-Sport, contact your local Nissan dealer. Note: As the 2019 Nissan 370Z N-Sport is a two seat sports car, the Family Friendliness rating has been removed.