We sometimes forget about the pure fun of driving; become lost in the comfort and quiet of our crossovers, sedans, minivans and SUVs. This has led to a disconnect of sorts, a certain expectation. If we don’t float over the road cocooned and seemingly isolated from the rest of the world, it’s almost as If we will look down our nose with distain at the vehicle. How dare you let the outside world intrude; allow road noise invade our otherwise quiet interior. Yes, we are driving, we just don’t want to know that.
However, there’s something to be said about the wind whipping across your face, feeling the sun on your head and hearing the outside world whiz past you. This is pure motoring, something that is nothing more than the road, the driver and the machine.
And motoring is exactly what the 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster offers.
The sixth generation of Nissan’s Z line the 370 Roadster was introduced in 2009. In 2013 it received design changes that included a revised front fascia with LED daytime running lights, a red reflector for the rear fascia that replaced a black center cover, a new 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheel design and added a Sport Package. For 2014 Nissan left the Roadster essentially untouched and after recently spending a week with the 370Z Touring model Roadster we are quite glad they did. Because honestly this car is pretty darn good just as it is.
For 2014 there are three available models: the 370Z Roadster with 7-speed automatic, and the 370Z Touring with 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic.
It’s loud, bumpy, and there is very little to no extra room. You won’t carry much home, you won’t take the soccer team to practice or have a commanding view of the road… but none of that matters. This is a roadster in the truest sense of the word; meant to enjoy the road, become one with it, feel the speed as your hair whips around. This isn’t driving, this is an experience.
Sure you can get a Mustang convertible for less, much less in fact, but that isn’t what this is; a roadster. Even a stripped down Porsche Boxster is in reach at this price, but the truth is you won’t have all the enmities the 370Z offers in the top of the line MSRP of $51,365 for the model we tested including: Standard Nissan Intelligent Key heating and cooling ventilated seats, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, SiriusXM Satellite Radio connected to a great sounding Bose sound system and the advanced Nissan Navigation System.
Owning a stripped down Boxster at this price would be like dating a beautiful woman who always shakes your hand and leaves you standing on the doorstep without even inviting you in at the end of the evening. Besides, a really savvy shopper knows that the MSRP on any car is but a mere starting point and the lower the price the better the deal.
Sure it isn’t perfection; the top going down or up seems to take forever; almost like two slightly inebriated portly fellows trying to waltz. But the trunk is surprisingly roomy and despite the small cabin the seats are comfortable, the gauges well placed, buttons well within reach and the interior is nicely appointed with suede type accents and leather appointments that add a rich feel. Overall everything displays what seems to be very good quality and craftsmanship.
Anything approaching imperfection though is quickly forgotten once the portly men lower the top and you hit the road. With the 3.7-liter V-6 engine delivering 332 horses to the road via the electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and 270-pounds of torque through the 19 inch wheels, standard on the Sport package we had, the experience is near Nirvana. The normal slushiness usually found with a convertible is gone thanks to the Nissan engineers who added a high rigidity body design for enhanced handling; throw in the Euro-tuned shocks on the Sport model and aggressive corners are laughed at. The Adaptive Shift Control (ASC), Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) and paddle shifters allow other traffic to become no more than cones on a slalom course. 0-60 can be had in just under five seconds leaving others behind when the light turns green.
Forget about trying to dampen road noise, or enjoying a smooth ride. You will feel the pavement, hear the pleasant symphony of the engine, and experience the speed whipping across your face. Because that’s what the 370Z Roadster is all about; it isn’t the destination it’s all about the journey there. In the end you’ll be enjoying motoring once again and looking forward to the next time you leave your driveway.
The 2014 Nissan 370Z Roadster
MSRP: (As tested) $51,365
Drive type: Rear wheel drive
Engine: 3.7 L V6 rated at 332 hp @ 7000 rpm and 270 ft-lbs. torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA mileage: (est.) (CTY/HWY) 18/26 mpg
Mileage as tested: 22 (Mixed conditions)
Wheelbase: 100.4 in
Length, Overall: 167.2 in
Width, Max w/o mirrors: 72.8 in
Height, Overall: 52.2 in
Track Width, Front: 61 in
Track Width, Rear: 62.8 in
Passenger Capacity: 2
Passenger Volume: 52.3 ft
Front Head Room: 38.7 in
Front Leg Room: 42.9 in
Front Shoulder Room: 54.4 in
Front Hip Room: 54.6 in
Curb weight: 3278 lbs.
Cargo capacity, all seats in place: 6.9 cu.ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 6.9 cu.ft.
Weight (as tested): 3510 lbs
Basic 3 yr./ 36000 mi. Drive train 5 yr./ 60000 mi.
Roadside 3 yr./ 36000 mi.