2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary essentials: The case for the familiar

Our Opinion:  I have been at Autoweek for just over seven years now, and I have been driving the Nissan 370Z (or some variation of it) for all of them. The car I drove as an intern felt exactly the same as the 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition car that I just drove. But rather than complain about it — God knows I have in previous 370Z reviews — I’ve actually come around to the concept of leaving things well enough alone. I like this Z; it feels familiar.
Does this mean I’m getting old?
There’s an interesting piece up on Automotive News by Richard Truett. It’s about the Mini brand, and its uncertain future in the US market, but I was thinking about it a lot as I drove around in this Z. This part in particular really stuck with me:
“We Mini drivers want a simple, clean design that is instantly recognizable as a Mini, a car that does not stray far from the original Mini silhouette. Also, we don’t need a new platform every five years. Keep it simple and affordable. And keep BMW platforms under BMW vehicles. If we want a BMW, we’ll buy one. Mini is the automotive equivalent of a classic Savile Row suit. It doesn’t need much changing and updating. The original 1959-2000 model wore the same clothes for its entire production run.”
Obviously, the Mini branding and BMW platform stuff doesn’t apply here, but the rest could just easily be said about Nissan’s sports car lineup. So what if the 370Z has been on the market for a decade? There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with a simple, straightforward and relatively affordable front-engine rear-drive sports car. It still looks good and purposeful, and it’s still a lot of fun to drive.