By on July 11, 2017

2018 Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition previewed at New York Internat - Image: NissanNissan has revealed that modest improvements to the 2018 Nissan 370Z will not result in any increase to the 370Z’s base price.

In the United States, 370Z pricing will start once again at $30,875, including an $885 destination and handling charge. But Nissan believes the 2018 370Z, while still very much the same sixth-generation car it’s been since the 2010 model year, is better than the 2017 car.

You can’t get a manual transmission in a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS. You can’t get a manual transmission in a Ferrari 488 GTB. Yet for its ninth model year, Nissan saw fit to improve the 370Z’s manual experience.

How ’bout that?

All 2018 370Zs, Nissan says, “feature a new motorsports-inspired Exedy high-performance clutch.” After working with Nissan Motorsports in what Nissan calls a longstanding relationship, Exedy developed a light pedal effort clutch for the 370Z, which Nissan says enhances “driving response.”2018 Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition - Image: NissanThere are other changes to the 370Z for 2018, though most are predictably minor. Darker lights front and rear, new 19-inch wheel designs, a new shade of red paint, and a Heritage Edition for the basic 370Z with yellow paint and black graphics, or black paint and silver graphics. Nismo Zs wear GT-R-like Dunlop tires with less rolling resistance, less road noise, and “the current handling performance.”

Conventional 370Zs produce 332 horsepower from a 3.7-liter V6; 18 fewer than the 370Z Nismo and no better than the Z launched for MY2010. But Nissan says for 2018 the 370Z’s V6 is “enhanced through optimized acceleration and torque profile tuning.”

Nissan’s commitment to the 370Z’s manual transmission isn’t terribly surprising given the model’s age — why change now? Yet in a market that increasingly turns away from the three-pedal format, and with competitors increasingly less interested in offering a DIY shifter, it’s nevertheless a welcome turn of events.

Nissan isn’t merely paying lip service to the manual transmission with these 2018 improvements, either. Roughly one third of the 370Zs currently stocked at Nissan’s U.S. dealers, according to Cars.com, are equipped with a manual transmission.

An improved clutch will not, however, spur 370Z sales to new heights.

The return of the Z 15 years ago brought about peak U.S. sales (of the 350Z) in 2003, its first full year. From that high water mark of 36,728 sales, Z volume declined in five consecutive years before perking up slightly to 13,117 units with the launch of the 370Z in 2009. 370Z volume then held largely steady between 2011 and 2015 before falling to a low of only 5,913 sales last year.

Through the first-half of 2017, the 370Z is down 17 percent to only 2,489 sales. Buyers who don’t want the six-speed manual continue to have the option of a seven-speed automatic.

[Images: Nissan]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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22 Comments on “Manual Dexterity: Improved by New Clutch, 2018 Nissan 370Z Maintains $30,875 Price Point...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The 370Z’s biggest strength (low price) comes from its biggest flaw (age). You can get an 09 with less than 100K miles for about $12K. More crucially, you can get a 14-15 for about $20K. And the same $30K will get you a stickshift G37S, which sadly seem to be appreciating in value, and by all non-performance metrics are better cars.

    Nissan needs to transfer its GT-R DCT experience to the Q50.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    8 years is a normal model cycle for GM. How much longer with this model carry on?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      It’s a relic by today’s standards!

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Which performance coupe will be replaced first? The Challenger or the Z? They’re both ancient. I seriously think they’ll make it to the 12-year mark like the 2nd and 3rd generation Camaro/Firebird.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      My guess is not much longer. Next time you see a Nissan ad notice the lack of the Z… they don’t even bother showing it in long shot, zoom out line up at the end of the spot! As for actually advertising the Z itself – forget it!

      Given the Z and Q share the same platform I guess a new Z could come out with minimal changes sporting the new twin turbo engines but why bother? It would cost too much compared to the competition and be a fat pig (it already porky). Nissan needs another reboot here like they did in 2003. The question stay big (like the Q) or go smaller (like the FRS).

      Lightening the clutch would be appreciated, my wife can’t stand driving my ’03 Touring Z for multiple reasons but the heavy clutch is in the mix along with: brutal suspension, high interior noise levels and heavy steering effort.

      Thankfully by now they have fixed the weak syncros, but then the slave cylinder for clutch was another weak point. I’ve heard the rev matching option for the manual is top notch. The heavy clutch was technically fixed some years back in the aftermarket but the guy who engineered it is no longer building replacements that relocated the pivot point for a much better feel.

      Since a manual is no longer available on the Infiniti Q60 Coupe you are pretty much stuck with Z if you want to row your own in a Nissan sports car. Everything else is a CVT these day. And unless you are track guy (like me) I would highly recommend the Infiniti for the reasons listed above. You gotta be a pretty specific buyer to actually want (and put up with) a Z car.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Sadly, in the old days buying a manual Z would have been a good theft insurance move, since most thieves can’t drive a manual. Given the current version’s lack of popularity I suspect even the most clutch savvy carjacker will not risk their parole status on a 370Z.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    To me the 370Z is still a viable option fop a sport coupe. I would hope they have decent incentives to make it a decent value. Otherwise I woill let the first buyer take that hit and buy a used manual.

    I haven’t driven m this generation but I would think the road noise issue with the first gen was taken care of.

    Still a decent looking car.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      “I would hope they have decent incentives to make it a decent value. Otherwise I woill let the first buyer take that hit and buy a used manual.”

      So in either case, Nissan won’t make any money on sports cars and then people will wonder why they’re being killed off.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      I thought that the “road noise issue” was on the 350Z, and was related to the incorrect suspension geometry that caused abnormal tire wear. My understanding is that is was fixed pretty early on after the first year.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        My ’03 has the suspension tweak to the new specs… its doesn’t help the road noise, especially with once more aggressive tires are fitted. Honestly the car has almost NO sound insulation on the inside. It has various plastic bits in the back that fix together like some old worn out jigsaw puzzle. It rattles, squeaks and creaks. This give it character as the Z doesn’t isolate you from the driving experience. However most people aren’t going to appreciate that. The difference between my ’03 Z and my wife’s ’14 Q60 are night and day in terms of road noise. Just having back seats (as tiny as they are) really helps keep noise out of the G35/37/Q60 Coupes I think. Another reason for extra noise might be the frameless windows. I’ve never owned another car with frameless windows so I can’t really compare. The exhaust note is pretty loud too and I bet some people file that under road noise.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I think it’s entertaining that people like to rag on the 370Z for being too old or to close in price to a Mustang for what you get. However, most so-called enthusiasts weep in their overly hoppy craft beers that you can’t get a RWD manual car at a reasonable price anymore even though IT’S RIGHT HERE! For anyone who turned their noses up at a BRZ saying that it needed more power, HERE’S YOUR CAR! Sadly, most of these folks would grumble that they can get a Mustang GT for nearly the same price (base GT MSRP is 33k) but then go out and buy a CR-V because dog.
    Keep making fun of it, but this is one of the last manual transmission Nissans you can buy in north America that isn’t a Versa.

    • 0 avatar
      Eiriksmal

      Hooray for 6MTs! I spent 6 weeks searching every car finding website with a 500 mile radius and 20 local dealership sites to find an un-molested ’10-’13 G37S stick-shift sedan (aka the last year of the 6MT 4-door Z) and gave up. There was only one viable car that came up that whole time and he needed the next owner to bail him out to the tune of $8K over book value for his ride (which he’d removed the mufflers from… nice.). The few other 6MT G37s were either salvage titles or had a ludicrous number of miles on them.

      I eventually found an ’05 G35 sedan 6MT in a lovely dark blue that I snapped up. 1 owner drove it for 12 years in Santa Monica before trading it in on a flipping Lexus GS. The last of the new stick-shift sport sedans are almost gone and the used ones are disappearing almost as quickly. :(

      The ol’ Skyline 350GT is miles beyond my ’05 Maxima. A fantastic handling sedan and, bonus, every single suspension part from the Z will bolt straight onto the other Nissan FM-platform vehicles!

      I wonder how much more fun the new Mustang GT would be than a new 370Z. Are the GT’s electronics so good at keeping everything on the pavement that you don’t get many more smiles out of the extra 100 HP? At least it sounds phenomenal with the Ford racing exhaust stuff.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        All I can say for the new Mustang is the front visibility is terrible compared to my Z. The hood and dash on my Z drops away leaving you with a great forward view. Out the back and sides its a different story, it has massive blind spots (you’ve been warned). The view out of the Z is very much like an 90s Honda CRX or most ‘Vettes. The Mustang has a long, flat hood with creases in all the wrong places, I personally don’t like it.

        As a track day instructor I get to ride in many cars and honestly the Z’s biggest drawbacks are: lack of big power, adjustable traction control and general heaviness. Nissan’s VDC is an all or nothing thing while almost everyone else has stages. Even my brother’s VW Golf R has 2 modes so you can slide it around a bit instead of full nanny.

        As everyone knows the FRS/BRZ/86 biggest weakness is the lack of power and while Z fixes that you have the weight penalty to deal with. Also as I said above the Z’s steering and clutch make you work for it. I drove an FRS on track and felt like I could drive with one finger and one toe the whole time… it was effortless, turn it was razor sharp. The Z understeers at the limit (as most RWD cars due for safety reasons). However with sway bars and different tires it becomes totally neutral. I feel the Z is very rewarding to drive at limit but most people don’t go there and honestly shouldn’t on the street.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      Spot on Zamoti!
      I was looking at a z or G37S for a little while. Even in a FWD econobox it’s difficult to find a stick. There’s a full-sized BMW dealer near me; 5 years ago I called first to get a test drive of a 335 with stick. I’m glad I called … they finally got back to me about 1 month later that they just got in 1 (yes ONE) car fitting that description. They had something like 30 335s in stock!

      I noticed that the Boxster&Cayman transmission mix changed from mostly sticks to mostly automatics when the automatic switched from a conventional slush box to the dual clutch. At least you can still get a Porsche with a stick… as long as you only want two doors (in the USA, at least).

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Yes, that is a good thing. However, just because it’s a manual transmission RWD car, that doesn’t mean it’s for every enthusiast. Millions of people buy auto transmission cars, and they don’t all buy the same one. I think enthusiasts are lamenting the lack of choices in front of them. There are things about the 370Z that aren’t great, just as there are things about the Camaro, Mustang, and BRZ that aren’t great. More options would be nice.

      For me, I would really like a new RX-8 with better mileage. But that’s not available, so I will keep what I have.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      Agreed. 330hp is the right number, and you can get the sport, which is the model everyone on here asks for – base model plus fat brakes and LSD. Models in my area are advertised around $5k off MSRP, which isn’t too shabby. It’s on my short list if I ditch my S2k and Mazda3 in favor of a new all-arounder.

  • avatar
    EX35

    from looking at forums and cars.com, it looks like you can pick up a new 2017 370Z 6M for about $25K. That’s a pretty good deal for someone looking for a manual sports car with 330+HP.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      That’s a base though – if you want the good stuff you need to add $4k for a Sport.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Or scoop up the parts from someone who is upgrading. Not sure about the rev matching and LSD, but the brakes are a direct bolt on. In fact I bolted them onto my 2003 Z with just adapter. Nissan switched from Brembo to Akebono brakes a few years ago for both the Zs and Gs. The ones for the Z are red (ohhhh) but those on the G Sport are silver with Infiniti name on them. If this is uncool you are just a can of caliper paint away from Z Sport brakes. The upgrade made a big difference on track from the stock single piston slider caliper and undersized rotors (11.5″ vs 14″).

  • avatar
    jbw9999

    Hopefully the next Z will have the VR30DDTT. If so, as long as they don’t screw up the looks, I’ll buy.

  • avatar
    415s30

    I have an S30 and I like the look of the 370Z. I sat in a Nismo and it was pretty cool.

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