Sports cars are having a moment—witness the revived Toyota Supra and the splashy mid-engined Corvette that both debuted last year—so it’s perfect timing for Nissan to redesign its aging Z coupe, which we expect will bear the name 400Z. Nissan has been secretive with details about the 400Z, but we expect to see shared powertrain and platform with the Q60 coupe from Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti. That would mean a twin-turbo V-6 engine, rear-wheel drive proportions, and—mercifully—a much needed technology update. All the necessary information about – 2021 Nissan 370Z read on.
New Nissan 370Z 2021
Sports cars tend to go the longest between redesigns because they sell in such low volumes that it takes forever to amortize the tooling and development costs. The venerable Nissan 370Z, for example, was new in 2009 and hasn’t seen much updating. If I’m honest, I was slightly surprised that Nissan still sells the car when this 2021 370Z 50th Anniversary special edition arrived in our weekly fleet. As we noted during its New York Auto Show debut, the Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary package is available on the Sport or NISMO trim levels, with a manual or automatic transmission, but it adds no performance. What it does add is $2,600 worth of graphics and retro-reminders that it’s been five decades since Mr. K (Yutaka Katayama), president of Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A., first brought the Nissan Z-car to America. Believe us, the retro runs WAY more than skin deep. Here are eight positive and negative features of the 50th Anniversary car that struck us as perhaps unintentionally retro. Nissan 370Z 2021 – see interior and exterior photos in the article.
Although it’ll be all-new for 2021, we’re not anticipating that Nissan will change the layout of the Z’s cabin and that it will remain a two-seat coupe with no vestigial rear seats à la Porsche 911. We are, however, expecting a big improvement in the design and feature content of the 400Z’s cabin. Beyond that, we’re praying for it. The 370Z’s current interior is very dated and lacks many options that modern cars half its price offer as standard. To justify its expected price-hike, we’d expect Nissan to throw in genuine leather upholstery, power-adjustable seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Cargo space remains a mystery, but we aren’t hopeful that the 400Z will turn into a Costco-run champion; we fit three carry-on suitcases in the trunk of the 370Z, which should be plenty for buyers of such a vehicle. New Nissan 370Z 2021 – see the photo on this page!
The sports car that everyone forgot—including Nissan, apparently—is still alive, though hardly doing well. Judged against today’s sports cars, the 11-year-old Nissan 370Z is about as competitive as a bicycle. Later this year, though, Nissan will finally give the Z-car the attention it deserves by introducing a successor. The new Z, code-named Z35, won’t be a ground-up rethink. It will continue on the latest version of Nissan’s FM platform and share components with the Infiniti Q60 coupe. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that makes up to 400 horsepower in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 seems like a shoo-in. A seven-speed automatic is the only transmission available in those Infinitis, but we’re hopeful that a stick shift will be offered as well. Nissan already hinted that such a thing is possible when it bolted a six-speed manual to the twin-turbo engine for a modified 370Z SEMA concept in 2021. The engine and architecture can accommodate all-wheel drive, but we doubt Nissan will go that route. The Z is a front-engine rear-wheel-drive sports car, and this one should stay true to that heritage.
Launched over a decade ago, the 370Z wasn’t even considered pretty when new. It still wears the boomerang-shaped Nissan lights of that era, like the Juke, so it’s the perfect candidate for a redesign from The Sketch Monkey. As in most cases, The Sketch Monkey focuses a lot of his attention on the lights, which can instantly date a vehicle. The 370Z comes with relatively narrow ones, so he just gives them sharper graphics. Another issue is that the back of the car is too long, too fat even, while classic Datsuns had almost all their bodywork in the nose.
The EPA hasn’t released any estimates for fuel economy for the new Z, but if the Q60 is anything to on, we can expect highway fuel economy ratings as high as 28 mpg or so, with city ratings falling just south of the 20-mpg line. We’ll know more closer to the car’s on-sale date and we’re hoping to test the 400Z’s highway fuel economy on our 200-mile test route.
The 370Z features a 332-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6 and is paired with either a 6-speed manual with available rev-matching downshift technology or a 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Though its naturally-aspirated power delivery is a delight, this aging powertrain can get raspy when pushed, and not in a pleasing way. Handling is taut and responsive though, making the Z a throwback driving experience, and one that’s downright track-ready with the Nismo model.
Nissan’s venerable VQ V-6 engine has been in production since 1994, offered globally in displacements ranging from 2.0 liters to 4.0 liters (North America examples always displaced 3.0-4.0 liters). While these engines were state of the art in their youth, the larger displacement ones have felt a bit unrefined in “polite-car” sedan duty of late. But this one’s rough and racy nature and baritone wail totally befit the Z-car’s mission.
Base: $45,000 (est.); Premium: $48,000 (est.); Track: $50,000 (est.); NISMO: $53,000 (est.). We expect a price hike over the current 370Z to somewhere in the mid-$40,000 range for a starting price. To justify its higher price tag, we expect that the 400Z up the ante with more luxury features, improved performance, and more desirable styling, all of which will also help it move up from the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Subaru BRZ playing field to compete with the likes of the Supra, the BMW Z4, and the Audi TT.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash tested the 400Z and they likely won’t as neither one regularly tests sports cars. The 400Z will likely showcase Nissan’s latest driver-assistance features, but high-tech party pieces are expected to remain optional. Key safety features are likely to include: Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection; Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist; Available adaptive cruise control.
Like its beastly brother, the Nissan GT-R, the 400Z is expected to be powered by a twin-turbocharged V-6. But, instead of the fire-breathing 565-hp 3.8-liter that’s under the hood of the GT-R, the 400Z will likely get the 300-hp 3.0-liter mill from the Infiniti Q60. It’s also possible that high-performance NISMO variant could get the 400-hp version of that engine that’s currently exclusive to the Q60 Red Sport 400. While all-wheel drive is available in the Infiniti, we expect Nissan will stick with rear-wheel drive exclusively for the 400Z; a second-speed automatic is likely, but we’re hoping for a six-speed manual option as well.
The 2021 Nissan 370Z is old enough to be an awkward 12-year old middle school student. With an interior that was barely modern in 2009 and a gravely powertrain to match, the Z’s old-school approach may put some potential buyers off. As far as pure sports car experiences go, however, sometimes age is a merit. We give the 370Z 4.6 overall, taking its stale styling and features into account but giving praise for its handling and value. The options list is predictably sparse in base trim, but all Zs get LED daytime running lights, an aluminum hood, doors, and trunk, and… that’s about it. Sport models get 19-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, rev-matching technology for the manual transmission, and Bose audio, while the Sport Touring trim adds leather seats and touchscreen navigation. With only two seats and limited cargo space, the 370Z is best used as a toy, not a daily driver. The racing-inspired Nismo model adds special wheels, suspension, and body cladding that are designed to turn up the intensity, and the V-6 gets a bump to 350 horsepower. No active safety technology is available on the 370Z due to its age, and because it’s a low-volume sports car, and no crash tests have been conducted either. At up to 22 mpg combined, the 370Z is largely a victim of its age in the fuel economy department, but you don’t buy a sports car to save on gas, do you?
The Z keeps the 3.7-liter V-6 it’s had for over a decade now, and with 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, this naturally-aspirated powerplant is one you have to rev hard to get the most out of. With a 6-speed manual transmission as standard and an optional 7-speed automatic, the immediate power delivery is a delightful throwback, but a raspy engine note spoils the experience slightly. Also, don’t bother with the automatic. The 6-speed has short throws and even notching. It’s easy, and the clutch pedal is balanced so the only time you have to stomp it through the floor is on start up. With active rev-matching available on manual-equipped Sport models and above, it’s easier to drive with three pedals than many others in its class. A short wheelbase and well-sorted suspension make for a great handling experience, but its old bones are not nearly as refined as we’d like. At this price, however, the handling stands out as the best thing about the Z-car.
No, the Nissan 370Z isn’t a good sports car. It trails many competitors in most, if not all, areas. The 370Z delivers great performance compared to your average sedan or SUV, but its athleticism is lacking for a sports car. It also looks and feels obsolete; it’s been more than a decade since this Nissan’s last redesign. The in-cabin tech is easy to use, but it’s less modern than rivals’. The 2021 Nissan 370Z is part of a generation that began with the 2009 model. The biggest change for 2021 is the discontinuation of the roadster body style. For 2021, Nissan streamlined the trim lineup and dropped the manual transmission option from convertible models. Additionally, a rearview camera became standard for 2021. If you are interested in a used 370Z, be sure to read our 2021 and 2021 Nissan 370Z reviews. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.
There’s no doubt about it, even the most basic and purest cars are becoming more complicated as they get loaded up with more technology. But there’s one standout sports car that bucks that trend: the Nissan 370Z. It’s essentially stuck in a time warp from the previous generation and lacks many of the driver aids and infotainment technology that can be found in even base-model economy cars these days. But that doesn’t mean we don’t recommend the Z. Its V6 engine produces a healthy 332 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque and comes with a direct-acting six-speed manual gearbox to send the power to the rear wheels. A Nismo trim squeezes a bit more power out of the same engine (350 hp and 276 lb-ft). But its improved suspension, aero, and wheels and tires are the real reasons to opt for this factory-modified sports car. In the middle, the Sport model has more dynamic capability than the base model, while the Sport Touring version adds luxury touches and some in-car electronics. However, the Z is now in its 10th year of production. And other sports cars, such as the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota 86, offer an even purer driving experience coupled with the benefits of more modern engineering and design. On the other end of the spectrum, cars such as the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro perform like a sports car but with a back seat and modern electronics. Although even further afield in price, the new front-engine Corvette C8, Toyota Supra and Jaguar F-Type share the same two-door coupe layout, while the Cayman S and GTS feature a racing-oriented mid-engine layout. Either way, all of these models instill the same passion for sports cars and driving.
See photos of the interior and exterior Nissan 370Z 2021 on this site.