The Nissan Z car has been a pace-setter for the overall entry-level sports car market as we know it. From its very first introduction to our American shores in 1969 as the Datsun 240Z, the Z has been a staple in automotive history and lives on as a well-aged platform that continues to be refreshed to keep it going as strong as its proven 3.7-liter V6 engine in the latest 2019 model.
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Having a close tie with the Nissan 370Z from my many previous test drives with the latest Z car, receiving the new 2019 model year in the roadster form I was intrigued to see how well such a platform has aged. Nissan’s choice to keep the Z alive says something about the brand and its willingness to keep enthusiasts in their corner. The welcomed sharp steering and somewhat of a raw driving experience has paid dividends for a vehicle platform that hasn’t been changed much from its last redesign as a 2009 model departing from the famed 350Z.
Keeping things simple and not getting too far in the mix of today’s tech, which can be a distraction for some enthusiasts, the 2019 Nissan 370Z Roadster retains basics for the pure-hearted enthusiasts and those who still want the option of rowing their own gears. While my test vehicle was equipped with the proven 7-speed automatic transmission, there is a certain level of appreciation that comes easily for those who don’t want to work too hard. For others, there is still the option of getting a 6-speed manual transmission in the 2019 370Z Coupe with the popularized downshift rev-match programming and rear wheel drive with a limited slip differential.
Taken much from my older reviews of the 370Z, the Z remains to be a compliant two-seater with a beefy V6 producing 332 horsepower and 270 ft-lbs of torque. The engine and platform are showing their age with a harshness of engine noise when revving up to its 7,500 pm redline. Nothing else has changed in nearly 10 years of the 370Z for the drivetrain other than minor tweaks to the suspension and taking away the availability of a manual transmission for the roadster model. Other changes for the 2019 model are more streamlined trims where the Touring and Sport Tech trims are merged into one Sport Touring trim. Lastly, the auto-dimming rearview mirror with the integrated rearview camera is now a standard equipment item.
The 2019 Nissan 370Z Roadster’s stunning Passion Red paint job and newly-styled forged 19-inch wheels are part of the Z’s formula to keep it relevant after nearly 10 years of a highly praised platform from Nissan that has birthed many other vehicles from rear-wheel-drive-based luxury sports coupes to crossover utility vehicles. Don’t expect much tech to influence the purchase of a new 370Z, as it is devoid of any active safety features but makes due with basic Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, and the highlighted features of heated and ventilated seats, a Bose Premium audio system, 19-inch RAYS forged wheels, and a limited-slip differential.
Pricing for the 2019 Nissan 370Z Roadster can start to question the outdated parts of the Z when comparing it to the slim competition out there. However, there aren’t many choices when it comes to a hot roadster in a world where crossovers, SUVs and trucks are dominating the sales chart. My loaded-up top-trimmed 2019 Nissan 370 Roaster Sport-Touring test vehicle tips the price scale to just over $50,000, which is a slight departure from the base price of the 370Z roadster at $41,820, which still gets a plethora of desirable features (HID headlights, V6 engine, 18-inch wheels, review monitor).