Charles Darwin would surely have taken to the Nissan Z series for the simple reason that evolution has trumped revolution with steadfast certainty. That means a biggish displacement, normally aspirated front engine driving the rear wheels – much like 50 years ago.
The newly-announced 2018 370Z marks the first titivation of any significance – a relative term in this context - since 2009, so what you see is mostly cosmetic. You won’t miss the rather garish chrome embellishers surrounding the door handles but the black-painted rear diffuser is more subtle as are the NISMOderived darkened front and rear lamps.
Smart 19-inch alloys are also new along with a most appealing and beautifully-applied red metallic paint that adorned all the models we sampled at Red Star Raceway, a location which provided little opportunity to sample the premium infotainment system that incorporates satnav and a rearview camera.
Mechanically the 370Z still relies on the soulful 245kW 3.7 litre V6 stretched to 7,000rpm and coupled to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed auto with paddle shifters. What’s different about the former is the new EXEDY high performance clutch with lighter pedal pressures. This works in conjunction with Syncro Rev Control that matches engine revs to the gear selected, thereby eliminating the need to heel-and-toe into hairpins.
Choosing a track environment to launch even a sports coupe is a brave decision bu