► Zed gets 2018 model year updates
► Now with less leg-straining clutch
► New bumpers, lights, wheels
Sharing the limelight with the enormously extroverted Nissan GT-R means the 370Z is easy to overlook – it’s the ‘other’ performance coupe in the Japanese maker’s line-up.
However, while more and more of its rivals are downsizing and turbocharging, the Zed, with its whacking great 3.7-litre V6, is quietly becoming the last naturally aspirated-man standing.
Now a model year update brings revisions to boost its appeal, including a new clutch that doesn’t require Chris Hoy’s thighs to operate.
Could it finally be more desirable than a turbo’d Porsche Cayman or BMW 2-Series?
Well, is it?
Yes, and no. This model year update isn’t quite as far-reaching as a proper facelift so while the styling has been tweaked and the usability improved, there aren’t any other mechanical changes.
That means you still get quite a bit of road noise from the wide tyres and the interior remains distinctly last-generation. The engine rumbles away under the bonnet and there’s a disappointingly limited range to the exhaust note’s voice.
Thing is though, while the most expensive Nismo version is nearly £40,000, the most basic, pure version is ten grand less. That’s hot hatch money for a six-pot sports coupe.
That Exedy clutch, plus a darker tint to the door handles, rear bumper, head- and tail-lamps. You can also choose a new deep red metallic paint and different 19-inch wheels.
A manual gearbox with automatic rev-matching function is standard, while mid-spec models get the NissanConnect infotainment system, with sat-nav, DVD player(!) and rear-view camera on a seven-inch touch-screen.
Despite the big screen the 370Z’s interior styling remains resolutely analogue, as does the way it drives, happily.
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Gravelly note aside the 370Z’s engine remains a big factor in this car’s appeal because of its smooth, linear responses – especially compared with blown rivals.
Although it doesn’t exactly rip its way to the redline, the big V6 fires the Zed down the road at a decent pace – with 323bhp and 268lb ft of torque resulting in a 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds.
All of the control weights are heavy (the clutch now less so now, making it more in-line with the other pedals and steering heft) so you’ll get tired on a challenging road unless you’re built like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
Our favourite feature remains, though – the no nonsense traction control button, which switches everything off quicker than you can say the words ‘risk assessment.’ Even without any electronic interference, a standard limited-slip differential means the 370Z handles with more sophistication than its bruiser looks would suggest.
Simply having a naturally aspirated V6 under the bonnet isn’t enough to sell the 370Z alone, especially when it doesn’t sound or rev quite like a philharmonic six-pot of old.
Without those benefits you’re really just left with a heavy, thirsty lump that’s starting to feel decidedly Sportscar 1.0 in the face of more technologically advanced rivals.
That said, while I don’t want to patronise the Zed by labelling it ‘characterful’, that old-school charm does still make it an intensely likable thing. And thanks to the new clutch, now you can drive it and skip leg day.