First Look: 2013 Nissan 370Z

Though it walks in the shadow of the omnipotent GT-R, Nissan’s 370Z hasn’t been completely forgotten about. In fact, the company has a few changes in store for the 2012 model year — although, as Nissan freely admits, they’re relatively subtle.

Seeing as the latest iteration of the Z is but three years old, we’re not too surprised that Nissan’s latest batch of updates are primarily cosmetic. 370Z coupe and roadster models gain a new front fascia with vertical LED driving lamps, and a chiseled lower lip that vaguely recalls the 370Z Nismo model. Two new paint colors — Magma Red and Midnight Blue– are added for 2012, as are revised 18-inch wheels, and a red reflector in lieu of the unsightly black plug in the rear diffuser.

370Z Sport models gain a few additional goodies. In addition to a new 19-inch wheel pattern — still supplied by Japanese wheel specialist Rays — Sport models also receive new “euro-tuned dampeners.” Nissan’s upgraded sport brake package is still a hallmark of the Sport Package, but they now boast calipers painted a bright shade of red.

Little has changed within the confines of the engine compartment. Nissan’s 3.7-liter DOHC V-6, rated at 332 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, remains the only engine offering for the 2013 370Z range. A rev-matching six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic are available, though buyers seeking a row-it-yourself roadster are again forced to pony up for the Touring trim level.

Revisions made to the track-tuned 2013 Nismo 370Z are even fewer. Nismo models do without a new fascia or rear reflector, new dampeners, or even the new blue paint hue. Instead, Nismo models gain new lighter 19-inch wheels with a dark gunmetal finish, high-rigidity brake hoses and performance brake fluid, and a new Bose premium audio package — something previously restricted to 370Z Touring models.

Although it uses the same 3.7-liter V-6 as the remainder of the 370Z range, the Nismo remains the most powerful variant: the six-cylinder has been tweaked to produce a stout 350 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual remains the lone transmission choice. Nismo models also retain the bespoke suspension tuning, bumper fascias, wheels, and exhaust used in previous years.

Pricing has not been disclosed for the 2013 models, but we wouldn’t expect MSRPs to rise much above the current $32,960 for a 370Z coupe, $40,830 for a 370Z Roadster, or $42,070 for a Nismo 370Z. Expect finalized figures to emerge this summer, as 2013 370Zs should reach U.S. dealers this June.

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