2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster

The Nissan 370Z Roadster is a rear-wheel drive convertible that blends athletic proportions with track-tuned handling. The convertible is available in two trim levels, and buyers who prefer the comfort of a closed roof can opt for the coupe model.

The 370Z is powered by the same all-aluminum 3.7-liter V6 engine that is found under the hood of the Infiniti G37. The six-cylinder sends 332 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. of torque to the rear wheels via a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed automatic unit. A carbon composite driveshaft links either transmission to the rear axle.

When driven conservatively, the 370Z Roadster returns 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission, and 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway when equipped with the seven-speed automatic.

Looking The Part
The 370Z's front end wears an eye-catching design thanks in part to vertical LED daytime running lights and high intensity discharge (HID) headlights shaped like a boomerang. Out back, the aggressive look continues with wide fenders, a bumper-mounted air diffuser and dual exhaust tips finished in chrome.

The Z's body is made out of high-strength steel but the doors, the hood and the hatch are crafted out of aluminum in order to save weight. Packing a 54/46 weight distribution, the coupe tips the scale at 3,488 pounds with a manual transmission.

Life Aboard
The 370Z offers a track-inspired cockpit with room for up to two passengers. The instrument cluster consists of two analog gauges and a configurable thin-film transistor (TFT) screen, and three additional gauges mounted on top of the center stack hark back to the iconic Datsun 240Z coupe of the 1970s while providing the driver with vital information about what is going on in the engine bay.

Connectivity is not one of the Z's strong points but certain models can be equipped with a hard drive-based navigation system controlled by a seven-inch touch screen mounted in the middle of the dashboard. The navigation adds Bluetooth audio streaming and a voice connectivity function. Base model coupes have to settle for a traditional AM/FM/CD player.

Trim Level Breakdown
The 370Z is available in base and Touring trim levels.

The base coupe comes standard with cloth-upholstered bucket seats, cruise control, an AM/FM/CD player linked to four speakers, an auxiliary jack, keyless entry and start, a leather-upholstered multi-function steering wheel, power windows and door locks, a storage box behind the passenger seat, heated mirrors, automatic headlights and a vehicle security system.

The Touring trim adds leather upholstery, HomeLink, power-adjustable seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a six-CD Bose sound system with MP3 capability linked to six speakers, SiriusXM satellite radio, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and aluminum-trimmed pedal.

Optional Features
Nissan offers two option bundles dubbed Navigation and Sport Package, respectively.

The Sport package adds a limited-slip differential, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels mounted on low-profile tires, upgraded brakes, a front lip spoiler, a trunk-mounted spoiler, and Nissan's Euro-tuned shock absorbers. When ordered with the six-speed manual, the package adds a function that automatically matches the revs on when the driver downshifts.

Only available with the Touring trim level, the Navigation bundle consists of a hard drive-based navigation system controlled by a seven-inch touch screen or by a voice recognition software, Bluetooth audio streaming and a rear-view camera.

A spare tire is an extra cost add-on, and Nissan offers a wide array of aftermarket accessories including spoilers, heavy-duty floor mats, mud flaps, airbag anti-theft bolts, wheel locks and seat belt extenders.

Occupant Safety
All 370Z models regardless of trim level come standard with dual front, side and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

Key Competitors
Buyers in the market for a relatively affordable performance-focused convertible should also look at the V6-powered Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang and the BMW 1-Series Convertible. V8-powered variants of both the Camaro and the Mustang offer more power than the topless Z for roughly the same amount of money.