Following on from an illustrious line of cool and desirable Z sports cars dating back to the 1970s, the 2-seat 2018 Nissan 370Z -- available in Coupe, Roadster and track-ready Nismo styles -- wears its years well. Thanks in no small part to Nissan’s build quality and reliability, plus a modern take on a classic look.
You'll Like The 2018 Nissan 370Z If...
Old-school driving thrills are the order of the day. This is a well-balanced rear-drive machine with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard. The V6 engine is punchy, the suspension is precise. And admittedly this is subjective, but the 370Z looks as sharp as it drives.
You May Not Like The 2018 Nissan 370Z If...
Technology is important. Sadly, the 2018 370Z is a bit behind the times in this respect. It’s not until the higher trims that a USB port and a rearview camera become available. The controls aren’t so well calibrated, either, with grabby brake pedal action and a notchy manual gear shift.
The 370’s looks are updated, with dark treatments of the headlights and taillights. A darker rear lower fascia joins a fresh design of 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Engine management has been tweaked for better throttle response. And versions with the manual transmission receive a high-performance clutch.
The 370Z is not luxury-car quiet, but more bearable on a daily basis than might be expected for a fairly affordable 2-seater. Active noise cancellation helps to hush the interior without adding heavy sound-deadening materials. The three gauges in the center of the dash are reminiscent of the original Z from the 1970s, and they move with a steering column that adjusts for height only. Even so, the Z offers decent ergonomics, comfortable seats, sufficient trunk area for a couple of golf bags (in coupe form, at least), and handy stowage space that includes a compartment behind the passenger seat.
The 2018 370Z coupe has that classic profile of a long hood and rearward-leaning cabin with a roof that slopes sleekly down to the tail. Overall, the car is quite short and wide, but any stubbiness is offset by the low roof, sharp shapes, well-judged lines, and flared fenders. It all works in its own aggressive way. The higher-performance Nismo version includes aerodynamic aids like a larger front spoiler and rear wing. The Roadster's power-operated top stows quickly beneath a hard cover.
Despite a few faults, the 2018 Nissan 370Z has an engaging character that demands a certain level of involvement. And the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. The driver feels (and hears) what’s happening with the tires, learns the ideal engine notes signaling when to change up or down a gear, and applying the right amount of brake pressure soon becomes second nature. Get it on a mountain road and the Z is in its element. Yet it’s also comfortable enough to handle the weekday commute, at least in its regular form. The Nismo (short for Nissan Motorsport) version is far more hardcore, but the 2018 model has new Dunlop high-performance tires that Nissan claims are quieter than the previous Bridgestones by one decibel. That’s not a lot, but it’s a step in the right direction.
In basic coupe form, the 2018 Nissan 370Z’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is just under $31,000, including the $885 destination charge. The high-performance Nismo Coupe starts at $46,575 in Tech trim. The 370Z Roadster is priced from just under $43,000. A loaded Roadster Touring Sport with an automatic transmission breaks the $50,000 barrier, which brings us into territory occupied by V8 versions of the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, none of which are slouches. However, avoid the higher-priced trims and the Z is a reasonably priced sports car. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to make sure you're getting the best deal in your area. The Nissan 370Z should hold its value well over the long term.
The 2018 Nissan 370Z Coupe comes in base, Sport, Sport Tech, Touring, and Nismo Tech models. 370Z Roadsters are available in base, Touring and Touring Sport trims. All models come with automatic climate control, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, keyless entry/ignition, xenon headlights and a 6-speaker audio system. Touring models add power-adjustable heated seats, navigation, and leather/simulated suede upholstery; Sport models come with bigger wheels and a rear spoiler. The Nismo model has more power, a stiffer suspension, sport seats, and various aerodynamic additions. Safety features include stability control, active head restraints and six airbags.
The main option for the 2018 370Z is the 7-speed automatic transmission. To get more equipment means stretching the budget to a higher trim level. So, if choosing a manual transmission, consider Sport trim for the rev-matching feature. This will also bring 19-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential and a Bose audio system. Otherwise there are various factory- and dealer-installed accessories available as stand-alone options. An Aerodynamic Package adds a front wind deflector and rear spoiler.
The Nissan 370Z was one of the first cars to match engine speed with road speed on the downshift. While this feature is more commonplace now, it's still a boon for drivers who haven't mastered the heel-toe technique. Don't worry, old-schoolers, it can be turned off.
The 370Z uses a double wishbone suspension setup at the front, just like Mercedes-Benz cars, for example. This means a fine combination of suppleness and precision. So while it repays an attentive driver with fun, it doesn’t force itself on someone who wants to have a more relaxed journey.
Under the Hood
The gutsy 3.7-liter V6 engine in the 370Z could easily have been one of our favorite features. The regular version develops 332 horsepower; the Nismo gets a useful bump to 350 horsepower. Either way, the Z is quick, powerful and responsive. Drive goes to the rear wheels either through a standard-issue 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 7-speed automatic. Sport, Sport Tech and Nismo trims have the SynchroRev Match function with their manual transmissions. For a sports car with this much muscle, fuel economy is pretty good, but Nissan recommends using premium gasoline in both versions of this engine.
332 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (Coupe, manual), 19/26 mpg (Coupe, automatic), 17/24 mpg (Roadster, manual), 18/25 mpg (Roadster, automatic)
3.7-liter V6 (Nismo)
350 horsepower @ 7,400 rpm
276 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 mpg (manual), 19/26 mpg (automatic)
The 2018 Nissan 370Z is a tricky proposition. On the one hand, here is a 2-seat sports car that can be used every day, with the reliability and tolerability that implies. Try looking elsewhere for those qualities and the alternatives offer less power, like the Mazda MX-5 Miata, or cost much more, like the Porsche 718 Cayman/Boxster. On the other hand, the 370Z is almost past its sell-by date (despite sports cars having longer shelf lives than regular vehicles), with a new model rumored to be in the pipeline. In the meantime, the Nissan 370Z comes in coupe and Roadster (convertible) forms, with the coupe also available as a high-performance Nismo version.