There’s no nice way to say it: The Nissan 370Z is old.
You may ask, “How can a 2018 car be ‘old’?” Well, the Z hasn’t received a major update since 2009, and the changes that have come along the way haven’t significantly altered how it drives. The 2018 model year welcomes just a minor styling update and a new Heritage Edition with a lot of nostalgia. Heritage Editions are available only on the base model, and the one I tested, with a manual transmission and no other options, rang the register at $31,665 including destination.
The Heritage Edition was inspired by the 1977 Datsun 280Z ZAP Edition. The ZAP is an appearance package likely known only to the hardest of hardcore Z fans; it’s so obscure, Nissan didn’t even have a photo in its archives for us to publish. The ZAP was a yellow 280Z laced with black accents, and so is the 2018 Heritage Edition.
The new-for-2018 package is a collection of aesthetic add-ons for yellow or black Zs. My yellow 370Z test car had black racing stripes. On the side, black decals ran from the back of the front fender to the front of the rear wheel arch. The mirrors were also black, and the cabin had yellow highlights. Those who buy the Heritage Edition in black get silver exterior graphics and the same yellow interior trim.
While driving home in the Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition, a kid about 10 years old shouted, “Hey mister, nice car!” from the street. That’s always a great feeling — especially after my wife tells me I look like an idiot driving a bright yellow car covered in stickers.
How It Drives
The Z’s 332-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 has immediate throttle response and a wide powerband, with good punch at both low and high engine speeds. Yet the experience needs more pizzazz: The exhaust is barely audible from inside the cabin, and that’s an integral part of what makes a car fun to drive. Granted, that’s easy enough to change with the available NISMO exhaust system. A 2017 Chevrolet Camaro, with its 335-hp V-6, has an optional multi-mode exhaust that wails once it’s open and sounds exotic.
My test wasn’t a Sport version with optional performance equipment, which meant it didn’t have Nissan’s trick auto rev-match feature that works so well to smooth downshifting. It’s been copied by many automakers. The Camaro’s auto rev match is standard with the manual transmission.
While rowing through the Nissan 370Z’s the gears of the six-speed manual, the clattering of the valvetrain and the moans and groans you hear aren’t pleasurable noises. More expensive trims have an optional Bose stereo with active sound cancellation that’s supposed to mitigate some of those noises and electronically augment engine noise.