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2018 Nissan 370Z Overview
As Nissan's legendary Z car approaches its 50th anniversary in 2019, the automaker is rolling out a Heritage Edition of its current 370Z 2-seater for 2018 to commemorate the event. Introduced to the world as the Datsun 240Z in 1969, the Z established itself as a relatively affordable sports car designed for active daily driving, and it quickly gained a reputation as a competent racer on the track, as well. The Z has since evolved through six generations to the current 370Z, which debuted in 2009. Although it's well into its generational cycle and due for a refresh, there are few indications that a new Z is on the horizon. Instead, the automaker is extending the current design for another year and has added the Heritage Edition to the 370Z lineup, where it joins the existing Coupe and Roadster trims.
Offered only in the coupe body style, the Heritage Edition essentially amounts to a base 370Z Coupe with a choice of two exclusive exterior colors and unique exterior graphics. Designed to suggest a customized look, the Chicane Yellow exterior color scheme features a gloss-black center stripe and black graphics along the lower sides, while the Magnetic Black color scheme adds a silver stripe and graphics. Both color schemes include a black interior with yellow trim on the steering wheel, shifter, and center console.
All 370Z trims receive a few feature upgrades for 2018, such as new headlights and taillights, smoke chrome door handles, and a slightly redesigned rear fascia. Models equipped with the manual transmission also come with an upgraded Exedy high-performance clutch.
Despite its age, the 370Z remains a good-looking car, with only a hint of cobwebs in its design. The muscular front end and hunky haunches continue to draw the eye, and when viewed from the side, the steeply sloping roofline, short overhangs, and flared wheel wells are still visually pleasing. Granted, the sidelines feel dated and the black grille looks completely unadorned in this age of more aggressive designs, but the 370Z has aged well overall.
As in previous years, Nissan offers the 370Z Coupe and Roadster convertible body styles in a variety of trims. The Coupe comes in five trims—base, performance-oriented Sport, feature-loaded Sport Tech, top-of-the-line Touring, and specialty Nismo—while the Roadster continues with the base, Touring, and Touring Sport trims. Standard exterior features roll over from 2017 and include automatic on/off high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, power side mirrors, and dual exhaust pipes. The Nismo comes with a number of aerodynamic exterior upgrades, such as a sport-tuned dual exhaust and unique front and rear fascias, side sills, and a rear spoiler. The base and Touring trims ride on 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, while other trims get 19-inchers.
All 370Z Roadster trims come equipped with a power-folding black cloth top, which raises and lowers in about 20 seconds. The soft top features a glass rear window and a fabric inner liner designed to help reduce road noise. When the top is lowered, a wind deflector behind the seats helps reduce turbulence in the cabin.
A 3.7-liter V6 engine, mid-mounted behind the front axle and placed longitudinally in the chassis, continues to power the 370Z. Producing 332 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, it propels the vehicle to 60 mph in about 5 seconds. Buyers can opt for a 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters and a down-shift rev-matching system, which adjusts the electronic throttle for smoother downshifts. In true sports-car fashion, both transmissions send power to the rear wheels. The Coupe manages fuel economy numbers of 18 mpg city, 26 highway, and 21 combined with the manual transmission and 19, 26, and 22 with the automatic. The Roadster gets about a gallon less in each category, and premium fuel is required for either variant.
The 370Z rides on a short wheelbase of 100.4 inches and is fairly light, tipping the scale at around 3,300 pounds for the Coupe and 3,500 pounds for the Roadster. Together with the performance-oriented V6 and smart-shifting transmissions, this translates to true sports car performance and handling, which is where the 370Z excels. A double-wishbone suspension in the front and a 4-link configuration in the rear, front and rear stabilizer bars, and sport-tuned shock absorbers ensure a smooth ride and good agility, with plenty of road grip and minimal body roll in tight corners. For more aggressive driving, the Sport, Sport Tech, and Nismo trims all come equipped with a limited-slip differential and sport-tuned brakes with larger calipers and discs. The Nismo trim also rides on a sport-tuned suspension with adjusted spring, dampening, and stabilizer rates.
While the 370Z performs and handles well, it comes up short in other areas. Cargo space is tight at just 6.9 cubic feet for the Coupe and 4.2 cubic feet for the Roadster, making the 370Z's trunk the smallest in its class. Tech features remain old school, with no available state-of-the-art apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and options like navigation and a reversing camera add thousands of dollars to the vehicle's cost. In addition, fuel-economy numbers are stuck in the low 20s, although the generous 19-gallon fuel tank means less-frequent fill-ups.
On the plus side, the 370Z offers a comfortable, upscale cabin with high-quality materials and plenty of head- and legroom for taller occupants. The dual-cockpit layout features a full-length center console between the well-bolstered sport seats. Although the instrument gauges and controls are layered for easier driver access, they're a bit outdated compared to the instrumentation of competitors like the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the MINI Cooper Roadster. Standard features for all trims include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, and push-button start. All trims except the base come with an 8-speaker Bose audio system (the base makes due with a 4-speaker unit), while the Sport Tech, Touring, and Touring Sport receive navigation and a reversing camera. The top-of-the-line Touring and Touring Sport trims upgrade from cloth to leather upholstery with heated seats, while the Nismo trim receives unique Recaro leather seats with Alcantara inserts.
Safety features for the 370Z, which include a full range of airbags, are adequate but again lacking when compared to most current sedans and SUVs. Cutting-edge driver-assistance systems like lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, and rear cross-traffic alert are not available, and to date neither the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash tested the 370Z.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.
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