2013 Nissan 370Z
Refreshed and ready to roar!
Story and photos by Russell Purcell
Nissan’s popular 370Z has been given some styling updates for 2013 in an effort to stave off competition and rekindle sales. Enthusiast types will be happy to hear that the same proven power train and chassis reside beneath the car’s slinky bodywork ensuring that the 370Z will remain one of the true performance bargains in the automotive marketplace.
As in years past the latest 370Z will be available in both Coupe and Roadster form, but unfortunately the NISMO edition is no longer on the menu for Canada.
The exterior of the 2013 Nissan 370Z has been freshened from front to back. A quick look at the photos accompanying this review will reveal that the front fascia has been revised to include vertical LED daytime running lights that give the car a more upmarket appeal. Gone are the two vertical “fangs” that used to reside on the front bumper to direct air into the engine bay and wheel wells as well as give the car an aggressive look. Personally I liked them, but many Z-car fans felt they were too boy-racer and felt that people looking for that type styling could step up to the NISMO. In their absence, the 370Z’s front end looks very clean and refined.
If you view the car’s side profile you will get a better read on the changes to the frontal aerodynamic skirting and fascia, but it appears that the integrated side skirting effect beneath the doors looks unchanged. The base 370Z comes fitted with 18-inch aluminum wheels but as my test unit was blessed with the Sport Package it wore 19-inch super lightweight forged alloy wheels sourced from RAYS, a Japanese company regarded as one of the premier manufacturers of high end wheels in the world. I was pleased to see that they are very similar in design to those of the outgoing model but now feature a twist effect that really draws the eye and suggests rapid motion. Up-rated Nissan Sport Brakes with bright red calipers (also part of the Sport Package) bring tremendous stopping power, but also help give the car some styling flare.
The exterior of the 2013 Nissan 370Z has been freshened from front to back.
The fewest alterations are in evidence at the rear of the car. Buyers who order the aforementioned optional Sport Package gain a hatch-mounted rear spoiler that seems to have shrunk a little compared to the previous design, and it now sits atop four support points rather than just two. I should point out that this package also adds a slightly longer chin spoiler to the mix as well.
I found the interior on my test vehicle to be a cozy affair, as I am a large-framed guy standing six-foot two-inches tall. There is more room in a 370Z than in its predecessor, the 350Z, but if I was any taller it would be difficult to get comfortable. The heated sport buckets feature an all-new design and seem infinitely adjustable via a pair of scroll knobs on the outboard side (which manually regulate cushion height), while power switches for recline and fore-and-aft positioning reside on the console-side of the seat edge. These highly supportive seats did an excellent job of holding me in place during aggressive manoeuvres, yet proved comfortable enough for long distance touring as well. Nissan’s designers paid extra attention to the driver’s seat to ensure that it was able to hold the upper body firmly, but not interfere with shifting. You will appreciate their efforts if you have ever driven a sports car fitted with an aftermarket sports seat as you may recall how aggressive looking bolsters and extraneous padding can sometimes restrict your ability to efficiently move your limbs. It is hard to control a high-performance car like the Nissan 370Z with the precision it requires if your movements aren’t smooth and fluid. These new seats won’t give you the driving abilities of Nissan factory hot-shoes Michael Krumm or Satoshi Motoyama, but they do inspire confidence and you will likely see an improvement in your handling prowess.
The heated sport buckets feature an all-new design…
The 370Z has been designed as a driver’s car, so once seated you definitely feel like you are in a cockpit environment rather than just sitting in a car. Instrumentation is grouped together in a compact three-gauge cluster arrangement with a large tachometer taking centre stage. It also features a small digital readout to let the driver know what gear is in use and a lofty 7500 rpm redline. A trio of secondary gauges sits atop the dash, angled in a manner to allow the driver to steal a glance without straying too far away from the task at hand. All controls are driver oriented and within easy reach.
The three-spoke steering wheel features a host of secondary controls for audio and Bluetooth operation so that the driver can operate these devices without taking his eyes off the road.
The centre stack features a seven-inch wide multi-purpose screen (part of optional Navigation Package) matched with Nissan’s excellent control panel. The simple switchgear for both the Bose audio and HVAC systems is well placed, intuitive to use, and exceptionally well-integrated with the overall cockpit design.
Fit-and-finish is impressive throughout the car, and the look, feel, and function of every switch, panel and surface is decidedly upmarket. There is limited space for cargo and luggage however, but remember, this is a sports car. There are clever storage spaces tucked behind the seats to augment the map pockets in the doors, and the traditional glove box, and the cargo bay in the rear should provide sufficient luggage space for weekend getaways for two.
Apart from its stunning performance, every 370Z comes equipped with Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, Traction Control, Vehicle Dynamic Control, 18-inch five-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, an under body V-brace, bi-functional Xenon headlights, leather-appointed sport seats with synthetic suede inserts, automatic climate control, and a Bose audio system with AM/FM/in-dash 6-CD changer and XM Satellite Radio capabilities, as well as steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. There are also active head restraints, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), and a full complement of six airbags on board.
Performance and Handling
The 2013 370Z Coupe and Roadster retain the proven 3.7-litre VQ V6 engine that generates 332-horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. V-Valve technology adjusts the valves to maximize both performance and fuel efficiency. The standard transmission is a six-speed, close-ratio manual transmission. Selection of the Sport Package will add to the car’s capabilities, as the standard manual transmission gains the ability to rev-match (SynchroRev Match) as you move down through the gears, ensuring that there will be instantaneous power delivery when you transition to the throttle. A similar concept (Downshift Rev Matching) is at work to automatically blip the throttle as you operate the paddle shifters on cars fitted with Nissan’s slick seven-speed automatic transmission. Either way, you better be prepared for lightning-quick response.
My test period corresponded with a weekend trip to Kamloops, the sun-baked community recognized for having the hottest summer temperatures in the country. My journey to Kamloops would entail a 700 kilometer round trip through high mountain passes during a heat wave that would see temperatures well in excess of 30-degrees Celsius.
My route began with a blast through the Fraser River Canyon which is bordered by one of the most scenic and twisty highways in Canada. I am always excited to get the chance to follow the tumultuous river along the path favoured by the fur traders of both the North West Company and Hudson’s Bay Company a couple of hundred years ago. The 370Z carved its way through the corners like it was on rails as its meaty tires gripped the searing asphalt. As I rocketed through the many tunnels that line this historic route I found myself lowering the windows to permit the melodious cacophony of engine and exhaust noises to flow readily through the cockpit.
The 370Z carved its way through the corners like it was on rails as its meaty tires gripped the searing asphalt.
Acceleration is brisk and the car is exceptionally nimble and forgiving. The Sport Package brings along larger Nissan “sport” vented disc brakes (4-piston front calipers, 2-piston rears) that proved durable and fade free despite repeated torture during my journey through the mountains at speed. The Euro-tuned shocks, communicative chassis and big performance tires combined to help keep the car glued to the road with the assistance of the latest version of Nissan’s Traction Control and Vehicle Dynamic Control systems.
The test vehicle car delivered to me was virtually brand new, as it had a mere 140 kilometres on the clock, so it came as no surprise that the clutch was very stiff and the shifter needed to find its flow. I managed to behave myself as the car had not yet been broken in and I drove it with a heightened level of awareness with regards to sounds, smells and mechanical operations. It performed flawlessly.
The 370Z proved to be a capable grand touring machine although the stiff ride and limited cargo room might not appeal to everyone. Enthusiast buyers will relish this car for its rear-wheel-drive layout and precise and predictable handling.
Technical Specifications: 2013 Nissan 370Z Coupe
Base price (MSRP): $ 40,978 – 42478 (Automatic)
As tested price: $49,818 (Includes Sports Package $4,000; Navigation Package $2,800; $300 for 3-coat pearl paint and $1,740 freight and PDE)
Type: 2 passenger coupe or roadster
Layout: Longitudinally mid-mounted front engine/rear-wheel drive
Engine: VQ37VHR – 3.7-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 aluminum-alloy engine
Horsepower: 332 hp @ 7,000 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.): 270 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission with SynchroRev Match (or optional 7-speed automatic)
Brakes: Nissan sport brakes – 4-piston opposed aluminum calipers with vented front discs
2-piston opposed aluminum calipers with vented rear discs
Weight: 1,493kg (3,292lb.)
Fuel economy (L/100km): City- 11.8(24 mpg); Hwy- 7.9 (37 mpg)