2018 Nissan 370Z Coupe: Enhanced driving experience, revised exterior and new Heritage Edition

By Mike Blake Carlisle Events
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When Nissan created the Datsun 240Z in 1969, it launched a unique automotive nickname designation, “the Z-Car.” That first “Z” was powered by a 2.4-liter engine (hence the “240” portion of the name) that offered 151hp. Over the next 49 years, the “Z” has been upgraded and upnamed to a “260Z” (with a 2.6-liter engine), “280Z” and “280ZX” (with a 2.8-liter engine), “300ZX” (with a 3.0-liter engine), the 350Z (with a 3.5-liter engine), and the current alpha-numeric, “370Z” (with a 3.7-liter 332-hp engine).

The 370 is still part of the official; name, but more often than not, Nissan and its customers are calling it the Z Coupe (no number).

Now in the 10th year of its sixth generation, the Nissan 370Z has been honed by engineers to artfully reduce airflow, and the exhaust note has been fine-tuned. Inside, the feel of the switches and textures of the seats have been elegantly upgraded and the exterior has been revised with a dark headlight treatment, dark tinted rear combination lights, new blackout rear lower fascia and new 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheel design. Behind the wheel, the 370Z driving experience has been enhanced through optimized acceleration and torque profile tuning. Without changing the engine’s internal structure or components, engine performance has been improved through refinement of Accelerator Pedal Opening and Throttle Valve Opening angles. And manual transmission-equipped 370Z models feature a new motorsports-inspired EXEDY® high-performance clutch.

In addition, for 370Z Coupe buyers wanting to stand out from the crowd even further, a new Heritage Edition package is offered on the base 370Z grade – a cost saving of thousands over other trim levels. The Heritage Edition is available in two exterior colors. The Chicane Yellow Heritage Edition features black outside mirrors, gloss-black graphics and yellow interior trim, and the Magnetic Black Heritage Edition includes gloss-silver graphics and yellow interior trim.

Other 2018 enhancements include two additional speakers for the base 370Z audio system and the addition of an electric interior hatch release switch on the center console. Also, the new model year adds a bold new exterior color – Passion Red – to the 370Z Coupe color palette. The Passion Red paint uses a high brightness aluminum pigment in the base coat and Nano-pigment tinted clear coat to give it a vivid, jewel-like red color that looks different depending on the viewing angle.

The 2018 370Z Coupe's aerodynamic exterior design incorporates intentional styling cues from the original classic 240Z – including a short wheelbase, wide track, low center of gravity and fluid silhouette. As in previous years, the "dynamic motion" feel continues, with a dramatic roofline and a "low visual gravity." The sleek profile is defined by its upswept quarter window design that is echoed by the dynamic upward curvature in the lower rocker panel and the sense of the taut sheet metal molding itself around the wheels and frame.

The 370Z Coupe's well-proportioned body provides a 100.4-inch wheelbase, 167.5-inch overall length, 72.6-inch width and 51.8-inch height, giving it a classic sports car look and feel, weighing in at 3375 lbs. for the manual transmission Heritage version I tested.

The 2018 370Z Coupe is offered with a standard 332-horsepower, 270 lbs-ft of torque 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control and choice of 6-speed manual transmission with an available SynchroRev Match® synchronized downshift rev matching system, or a 7-speed automatic transmission with available paddle shifters. The manual system I tested is rated at 18/city, 26/highway and 21/combined, (automatic gains 1mpg/city) and a week of mixed-use driving and decided pedal mashing achieved an average of 20.1mpg on Premium unleaded fuel.

Acceleration is exciting and powerful in all ranges, and my Z finished off a smooth-shifting 4.8-second zero-to-60mph sprint and a 13.7-second quarter-mile.

The driver-oriented cockpit remains essentially unchanged. The traditional 2-seat Coupe layout is built around a deeply scooped instrument panel with a full-length center console separating the driver and passenger's seat. The design focus incorporates an innovative, driver-centric "three-layer" design with information, operation and holding layers. The well-appointed and cozy cockpit provides 38.2 inches of headroom, 42.9 inches of legroom, 54.6 inches of hip room and 54.4 inches of shoulder room.

Safety items include Nissan Advanced Air Bag System Driver and front passenger air bags with dual-stage inflation, seat belt sensors and occupant classification sensor.

Pricing for the 2018 Nissan Z starts at $29,990 for the base 370Z Coupe, goes through six levels, and reaches $45,690 for the 370Z NISMO ® Tech version. The Z Roadster starts at $41,820.My test ride, in Heritage Edition trim in Chicane Yellow, started at $30,780, and added Heritage Edition unique exterior graphics, Heritage Edition yellow interior trim details, leather-wrapped steering wheel with yellow trim and Gloss black outside mirrors to the base vehicle. My test ride came with the 6-speed manual transmission, which is much more fun than the 7-speed automatic that would have cost an additional $1400. Optional accessories included a rear decklid spoiler for $610, front chin aero deflector for $167, carpeted “Z” floor mats for $140, In-mirror RearView Monitor with HomeLink® for $790, and splash guards for $245. With destination and handling charges of $885 the sticker-as-tested was $33,617.

> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby. Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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