2013 Nissan 370Z: Same as it ever was

Nissan unveils the 2013 model update for the 370Z, to be shown at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. Beyond cosmetics, little is changed in Nissan's sports car.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
2 min read

The news that Nissan updated the 370Z for the 2013 model year seemed promising. The update that took it from the 350Z to the 370Z produced a brilliant little sports car.

But after reading the press release and looking at the photos, published in conjunction with the 2013 370Z's unveiling at the Chicago Auto Show, this is not a car to get particularly excited about. When Nissan launched the 370Z in 2009, it came out with a shorter wheelbase and more power than the outgoing 350Z. The 2013 370Z changes little from the 2012 model, with mostly cosmetic touches.

2013 Nissan 370Z preview (photos)

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The grille loses its deep intake look, replaced by a simplified surround. Nissan added LED running lights, which are becoming as prevalent as rear view mirrors, to the front fascia. Two new colors, magma red and midnight blue, will show up on the Web configurator.

For performance upgrades, Nissan gives the sport trim model "Euro-tuned shock absorbers," which we assume means they handle cobblestone streets well. The 19-inch wheels on the Sport trim model get a new design.

The engine is still the 3.7-liter V-6, producing 332 horsepower, with a six-speed manual transmission or the seven-speed automatic.

The only cabin tech change is the addition of more speakers to the NISMO 370Z's Bose audio system.

These updates don't hurt the car, which remains a brilliantly fun sport driver, but they won't help it much, either. Much of what Nissan has done with this update seems like it could have been performed in a tuner shop.

We also hope this update does not signal a lengthy wait for a more significant change to the 370Z. The current generation launched as a 2010 model. On a five-year product cycle, that would mean we won't see a big change to the car until the 2015 model year. But there have been big changes in the competition's engine and cabin technology. The 370Z could end up looking very stale if Nissan waits too long for a real update.