2009 370Z New Car Test Drive
Nissan is calling the 370Z an all-new car, and it's hard to argue with that. The wheelbase of this sixth-generation car is almost four inches shorter than the previous-generation 350Z, and all of the sheet metal is new. Overall, the 2009 Nissan 370Z is 2.7 inches shorter and 1.3 inches wider, and although the styling has something plainly in common with the previous (2008) model, almost every plane and contour is subtly or distinctly different.
As a gesture of respect to the designers of the first Z-car, the base line of the rear quarter window sweeps up just as it did on the original 1970 Datsun 240Z. In more modern vein, the front and rear light shapes are hooked (or barbed) for improved visual effect, and are quite unlike the symmetrical shapes found on the preceding model.
At the rear, the new lights combine with more-rounded contours to produce an elegant effect not unlike that of a Porsche. Altogether, we think the appearance is more subtle and mature than the somewhat squat aspects of the outgoing model.
There's still ample space in the seats for two occupants to travel in comfort, but the interior ambiance is now much improved by the new design and the choice of far more suitable textures.
Now enlarged to 3.7-liters, the V6 engine has plenty of power and a high operating speed. It's hooked to a six-speed manual with Nissan's interesting new SynchroRev system that matches revs for you on downshifts as long as the system is switched on at a button alongside the gear position indicator. The seven-speed automatic transmission does something very similar, blipping the throttle to match revs when you tug the paddle for a downshift.
By keeping the model variations to a minimum, but splitting the available options essentially between manual and automatic, basic and Touring, Nissan has broadened the appeal of its iconic Z-car in a meaningful way.
The 2009 Nissan 370Z is offered in just two models: the 370Z ($29,930) and the 370Z Touring ($34,460). Currently, it's only available as a coupe.
The standard 370Z is well equipped, and includes the Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start, power windows with one-touch auto up/down feature, power door locks with auto-lock feature, a center console box with a new non-intrusive cover design, automatic climate control, rear window defroster with timer, two 12-volt power outlets, four cupholders (two in door panels, two in center console), dual overhead map lights and a AM/FM/CD/AUX four-speaker audio system with illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls. It comes with the standard six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters ($31,230).
The 370Z Touring model adds four-way power adjustable heated synthetic suede and leather-appointed sport seats with adjustable lumbar support, a 6CD Bose audio system with eight speakers (includes dual subwoofer) and MP3/WMA playback, XM Satellite Radio (XM subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth Handsfree Phone System, HomeLink Universal Transceiver and passenger seat map pocket. It comes with the standard six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters ($35,760).
Options are limited to a Sport package and a Navigation package. The Sport package ($3,000) adds 19-inch forged lightweight aluminum-alloy Rays wheels, fitted with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A high-performance radials. Spoilers are fitted fore and aft, and lower the car's drag coefficient from 0.29 to 0.28. Also included with the Sport package are higher-spec brakes with 14-inch front rotors and 13.8-inch rear rotors (versus 12.6/12.1-inch standard rotor sizes) with four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminum calipers. The chassis calibrations are otherwise the same as on the base car.
The Navigation package ($1,850), offers a GPS powered by a hard drive and featuring a touch-screen display. The system includes real-time traffic information from XM NavTraffic, which requires a paid subscription. Also bundled in this option is a 9.3 Gig Music Box hard drive and interface system for iPods and other MP3 players.
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags plus front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags for torso protection and side-curtain airbags for head protection. Active head restraints are also fitted, as are four-wheel tire pressure monitors. Active safety features include anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control.