Grade topping 370Z gets a few new tricks
Nissan’s most powerful and souped-up version of the 370Z enters the 2018 model year with a bunch of more enhancements sure to satisfy the enthusiast crowd, mostly centered around raising performance even further.
The track-ready coupe is shod with a new set of rubber – sticky Dunlop SP Sport MAXX GT600 tires in 245/40R19 front and 285/35R19 rear – which features the same tread pattern as the ones found on the range-topping GTR, and replaces the outgoing Bridgestone Potenza S001. Besides providing a good deal of grip, benefits include a 20 per cent reduction in rolling resistance for better fuel economy and a one-decibel reduction in road noise for quieter daily cruising.
Another upgrade comes in the form of a new EXEDY L-PEC (Light Pedal Effort Clutch), a special unit developed under a partnership between the clutch company and Nissan Motorsports designed for high torque load like the 276 lb-ft cranked out by the 370Z. Operation is nice and smooth as its name suggests, however if you’re not used to driving a manual transmission sports car the clutch will feel much stiffer than those found in run-of-the-mill passenger vehicles.
Speaking of the transmission, the six-speed manual features a SynchroRev Match system that during downshifts automatically syncs engine speed for a smooth transition. Picture a perfect heel-and-toe gear change every time. For drivers who prefer manual operation of the procedure, a button next to the shifter deactivates the function.
Power is still produced by the VQ37 3.7-litre V6 motor making 350 horsepower, or 18 more than the standard version due to ECU tuning and a special exhaust configuration. The coupe is quick no doubt, but the 1,567 kilogram curb weight is definitely felt during acceleration and increased application of the throttle is required to really get going. Because of the short wheelbase, standard Viscous Limited-Slip Differential and the NISMO’s 15-millimetre-wider track and stiffer double-wishbone suspension dampening, you can whip the car around corners with little thought or effort. Huge bright red four-piston front, two-piston rear brakes ensure quick stops as well.
Although the 370Z is getting on in years, as it was introduced nearly a decade ago, this factory-modified variant keeps things fresh. Hits of red on the front chin spoiler, side skirts and rear diffuser are eye-catching, especially against the Pearl White paint option, and so is the larger flared out duckbill wing integrated into the trunk lid. Huge black-coloured 19-inch RAYS wheels finish off the package. In addition, the chunky aluminum vertical door handles present on all trim levels make a great design statement.
Getting inside, passengers slide into body hugging Recaro bucket seats adorned with Alcantara, the suede material also found on the sporty steering wheel. Elsewhere in the cabin, however, is where the vehicle’s age truly shows. Don’t get me wrong – I love the three-pod oil temperature, voltmeter and clock gauges and presence of actual physical buttons to control infotainment settings, but the centre stack layout and plastic-heavy construction look dated and out of place on such a model. A Bose six-speaker stereo and a couple of subwoofers sufficiently take care of audio needs. Advanced Active Noise Cancellation and Active Sound Enhancement remove unwanted road and engine noise, leaving only a pleasant exhaust note.
Motor: 3.7-litre V6
Horsepower: 350 @ 7,400 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 276 @ 5,200 rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed automatic
Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 15.1 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)