Test Drive: 2013 Nissan 370Z Roadster  car test drives reviews nissan
2012 Nissan 370Z Convertible. Click image to enlarge
Test Drive: 2011 Nissan 370Z Nismo

Manufacturer’s web site
Nissan Canada

Review and photos by Mike Schlee

Photo Gallery:
2012 Nissan 370Z convertible

The 2013 Nissan 370Z is the closest thing Japan produces to a muscle car. (What about the GT-R? -Ed.) It is a brash, in-your-face vehicle that doesn’t finesse its way down the road, but rather beats the asphalt into submission. Like a proper muscle car, the 370Z has a large engine stuffed into a small(ish) body, features an unrefined driving experience filled with a cacophony of mechanical noises, and of course, it is flashy as hell—anyone who calls the 370Z subtle may be in need of an eye and/or ear exam. Funny thing is, though, the 370Z is also a great sports car. An open-air sports car, as is the case with my test vehicle, a 2013 Nissan 370Z 6MT Roadster. The 6MT in the model designation stands for ‘Six-speed Manual Transmission’, just the way any good muscle car sports car performance vehicle should be created.

Test Drive: 2013 Nissan 370Z Roadster  car test drives reviews nissan
Test Drive: 2013 Nissan 370Z Roadster  car test drives reviews nissan
Test Drive: 2013 Nissan 370Z Roadster  car test drives reviews nissan
Test Drive: 2013 Nissan 370Z Roadster  car test drives reviews nissan
Test Drive: 2013 Nissan 370Z Roadster  car test drives reviews nissan
2012 Nissan 370Z Convertible. Click image to enlarge

For 2013, the 370Z Roadster has undergone a mild refresh that has brought along minor changes, including a refreshed front fascia with vertical LED daytime running lights and two new colours (Magma Red and Midnight Blue). These new LED daytime running lights seamlessly fit into the revised front bumper and give the vehicle a nice modern update. Sport Package–equipped models, like my test vehicle, add new 19-inch wheels, red brake calipers, and Euro-tuned shock absorbers for 2013.

The 370Z Roadster is a looker from most angles. The low-set convertible roof really accentuates the width of the car and emphasizes its athletic stance when viewed from the rear three-quarter angle. The 19-inch Rays super-lightweight alloy wheels look great on this car and I love the deep-dish stance, especially in the rear. My test vehicle came painted in Pearl White, which looks absolutely stunning on this roadster; the red brake calipers add the perfect accent.

Fire up the 370Z and 3.7L VQ V6 engine brings 332 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque to life; impressive numbers when considering that this convertible vehicle weighs in at only 1,573 kg. Sending power to the rear wheels is a six-speed manual transmission that features SynchroRev Match thanks to the Sport Package. This system will automatically blip the throttle to the perfect rpm when a downshift is being performed. I would simply move the shifter from, say, sixth gear into fourth gear, and before I could let go of the clutch with my left foot, the engine is revved to the appropriate rpm. No matter what I did, SynchroRev Match worked flawlessly. It never missed a blip when I would engage a lower gear. Even when I tried to purposely confuse it by selecting one gear with the clutch in, then quickly changing to another before letting off the clutch, it was always at the proper rpm waiting for me. Call me lazy, but I found the SynchroRev Match to be a great system. I hope this technology finds its way onto more manual-transmission cars. There is something just oh-so satisfying about a perfectly executed downshift every time. Yeah, as a ‘purist’ I should want to time this shift and wind up the throttle myself, but with a system this flawless, why?

The transmission itself engages with a satisfying clunk and is easy to shift quickly or leisurely. I never missed a shift and the gate spacing for the individual gears seems just right for me. But shifting is rarely needed as the engine has good low-end torque and can putter along at low rpms. However, enter the upper rpm range and the VQ really comes alive; anything north of 6,000 rpm is an absolute assault on the senses. While on the topic, that famous VQ engine noise heard outside so many a Nissan vehicle is not the same noise you hear inside the vehicle. It is still a great sound, but different. Want the classic VQ noise? Better go looking for a nice rumbly aftermarket exhaust system.




About Mike

Mike Schlee is the Social Editor at Autos.ca and autoTRADER.ca. He began his professional automotive writing career in 2011 and has always had a passion for all things automotive, working in the industry since 2000.