As a rain of ash fell on most of Southern California the crew from Inside Line set out to introduce enthusiasts to Nissan's new sports coupe, the 2009 Nissan 370Z. The gathering took place at the advertising offices of Chiat/Day, which supplied a striking background for the next generation Z model. First impressions of the 370Z in person were no different than those formed after viewing the initial images. The design intentions, to blend between the outgoing 350Z and stylings pulled from the Z cars of yesteryear, was especially apparent. However, it was certainly strengthened when the new model was parked in close proximity to examples of both the Z33 and its forebears vehicles. Getting a real life view of the new Z was nice, but a vehicle is best defined by the ease of human/machine interaction. The 370Z meet and greet offered the first opportunity to poke around in the coupe. Unfortunately, this blogger did not get a chance to peek inside the vehicle before the Inside Line crew put her on the spot for an opinion. The end result of the interrogation can now be seen on Inside Line's preview video.
After breaking away from the Inside Line crew I eventually secured a spot behind the steering wheel of the Z34. I was most curious about the side view offered by the larger rear fender and C-pillar combination, and as I suspected, the view was non-existent. The rear hatch also angled more sharply than the 350Z, which combined with the 370Z's smaller physical dimensions, meant less space for piling up junk in the trunk. The trunk held other surprise: an on-off switch for a rear differential cooler pump was hiding underneath the mat. The cooler addition is a typical Japanese trick for protecting sporty vehicles from abusive drivers, also known as members of the press. A shiny anodized fitting for an oil cooler was also spotted in the Z's front fender well. The extra hardware prompted rumors and questions about NISMO upgrades, but currently there are no answers on that front. One question that did receive attention was aimed at hashing out more details on the downshift rev-match option. According to those on hand, it will be a feature available on sport models and will operate through feedback on clutch engagement, brake pedal position, rpm, throttle position and gear selection.
Check the galleries below for everything we've amassed in the lead-up to the new 2009 Nissan 370Z's introduction, which should tied you over until the official unveiling at next week's LA Auto Show.