Since the iconic 240Z was launched, we have been exposed to six generations of Z-car, ranging from the original to the 280ZX, 300ZX (Z31), 300ZX (Z32), the 350Z and the outgoing 370Z, which has been with us since 2009. Nissan South Africa recently unveiled a mildly updated version of the 370Z, which I had a chance to sample at the rather spectacular Red Star Raceway outside Delmas.
The updates made to the exterior of the 370Z are mild to say the least, with the head and tail lamps both receiving a darkened tint much like those seen on the previous Nismo 370Z.
Keen observers will also note the chrome door handles and a rear diffuser, which has now been painted black. Despite how minor the exterior makeover has been, I still feel that the 370Z is an attractive sports coupe that should age rather well.
Inside, things look pretty familiar with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a three gauge information pod mounted to the dashboard being highlights of the interior. It is inside where you'll notice that the 370Z is closing on a decade old with a design that looks slightly dated, despite the fact that there is still commendable build quality.
Nissan is one of the last manufactures to keep a large naturally aspirated lump in one of its sports cars. The updated Z retains the 3.7-litre VQ37VHR V6 motor from the previous model with 245kW/363Nm on tap.
As before, there is the option of either six-speed manual or a seven-speed automatic gearbox, with the former benefitting from an improved Exedy clutch. The manual derivative also comes with what the brand calls Syncro Rev Control, which is an auto-blip system that removes the need for the driver to heel-and-toe while shifting down when pushing on.
Performance is commendable with the manual version getting to 100km/h from zero in a claimed 5.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 250km/h, while the auto does the same sprint in 5.6 seconds before also topping out at 250km/h.
I had a chance to put the rev-matching and new clutch to the test on track, and came back pleasantly surprised. Despite its age, the 370Z still provides a balanced and responsive driving experience, especially in manual guise. The automatic on the other hand is best left for road driving, with a dull gearshift response and a less engaging track driving experience.
The 370Z's age might be quite noticeable from behind the wheel, but there's no denying that it still provides driving fun and sports car dynamics. It also makes for quite a good value proposition as it is quite a bit cheaper than the Ford Mustang, which currently rates as its biggest rival locally.
Warranty and service
Both 370Z models come with a three-year /90 000km service plan and six-year/150 000km warranty as standard.
370Z - R661 900
370Z AT - R680 900