Like a fine wine, the Nissan 370Z has gotten better with age. Many manufacturers are making performance cars less exciting, more driver friendly and more road-friendly, as evidenced by the new Evolution and Miata. Here is the question that plagues us: should a sports car have the traditional qualities of being loud, unforgiving, and brutish; or should it be re-made into a daily driver by making it quieter, gentler, and overall more vanilla?
This is the first full redesign of the Nissan Z since its re-introduction in 2003. The 2009 model features a shorter wheelbase, lightweight body materials, a new 3.7L engine with more power and improved fuel-economy, a new 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, the world”s first synchronized downshift rev matching system for the manual transmission and much more. The 2009 Nissan 370Z basically outperforms its predecessor in every aspect, it is faster, it handles better, stops shorter and has a more comfortable and solid ride.
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Reviewed: 2009 Nissan 370Z:
As soon as you set your sights on the 2009 370Z, you’ll notice that it’s much smaller than the 350Z – nearly four inches shorter to be exact (100.4 inches versus 104.3 inches). At the same time, the overall width has been increased by 1.3 inches, the rear track by 2.2 inches and overall height reduced by 0.3 inches, giving the 370Z a much more aggressive stance.
The love it or hate it styling of the 370Z combines retro and modern design into one unit, which we feel works out well, but that’s about it. The retro aspects of the car are not nearly as exaggerated as those found in the Camaro or the Mustang, but it certainly does not go unnoticed. Both the front and rear lights are oddly shaped, the front bumper is split for brake cooling by bodycolor fin-like splitters that are set in a black grille. There is a rectangular-like opening in the bottom of the rear bumper that reminds of a tow-hitch mount; the lines on the hood continue onto the roof and actually add a great aesthetic touch.
Opt for the 2009 Nissan 370Z with a Sport Package and you’ll get a front-chin spoiler, a body-color rear spoiler and 19 inch RAYS super-lightweight forged alloy wheels with little ‘Z’s in the 5 spokes.
“As an Everyday Sports Car, every aspect of the interior needs to address two needs ““ support and enhanced driver performance during spirited driving and offer high levels of comfort and utility for normal commuting and around-town activities,” says Al Castignetti, vice president, Sales, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. The interior of the 370Z has gone through a night-and-day transformation since the last generation. The interior is exceptional in terms of design, ergonomics, and surprisingly, even the materials are no longer rough hollow plastics that make you wonder why you spent over $30,000 on a Nissan. Instead, there are more expensive materials, softer-plastics, and leather trim around the center console, dashboard and doors.
The center stack reminds of an Infiniti especially on the Touring model. The Touring model features options such as standard 4-way power adjustable heated synthetic suede and leather-appointed sport seats with adjustable lumbar support, a Bose audio system with 8 speakers and MP3/WMA playback, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and optional navigation package, with Nissan’s touch screen hard-drive navigation system with a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive and iPod input.
So what happens if you don’t go for the Touring model with Nissan’s tech-savvy navigation system? Well, then you get a little storage bin in-place of the navigation system.
Before we move on, we must point out that our biggest pet-peeve on the 350Z is now gone. The giant beam in the back to keep your Z stable when taking fast turns is now gone and you can actually use the storage space provided in the trunk of your 2009 370Z.
Its seems like Nissan’s engineering team made the simple power-to-weight formula their main focus when working out the performance of the 2009 Nissan 370Z. While being 225 pounds lighter, the new Nissan 370Z has 26 more horsepower than its ancestor. Power comes from a 3.7L VQ37VHR V6 engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) making 332-hp at 7,000 rpm with a maximum torque of 270 lb-ft at 5,200 rpm. 0 to 60 mph comes in about 5 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.
All that makes the 2009 370Z harder, lighter, faster, tighter and better. However, there is one feature that impressed us the most in terms of performance and it’s called the SynchroRev Match, available only with the 6-speed manual transmission. It makes driving a manual sports car just a little more fun and easy to drive. Billed as the world”s first synchronized downshift rev matching system, the SynchroRev Match system automatically revs the engine so your road speed is matched to your revs when you’re downshifting. Therefore, you won’t feel the jerks and bumps, or make a fool out of yourself when you drive your new Z to pick up a hot date. It’s simple, clever, and made us love every second of downshifting in the 370Z.
As for handling, the 2009 Nissan 370Z is every bit better than its predecessor and most of its competition. Rear body torsion rigidity is improved by up to 22 percent and rear body vertical bending rigidity is improved by up to 30 percent. Nissan says that that results in “overall solidity and handling capability.” In short, you will feel very comfortable in putting the 370Z sideways and through twist and turns.
So is there anything really wrong with the Nissan 370Z? Yes, it’s very loud and rugged. While it is a little more refined and quiet than its predecessor, the 370Z is a bit too nasty for an everyday commuter car. However, depending on how you look at it, that minute downside is overshadowed when you compare the 370Z with other cars in its segment that cost almost twice as much and don’t offer the same exhilaration. Take the new 2010 BMW Z4 for example. The 2010 Z4 sDrive30i starts at a whopping $45,750 with a 255-hp 3.0L inline 6 while the turbocharged 300-hp Z4 sDrive35i starts at $51,650. The 332-hp 2009 Nissan 370Z, on the other hand, offers every bit (and more) of Z4 fun with pricing starting at just $29,930 for the base model. Opt for the Sport Package (with the SnychroRev Match feature) and you’re looking at $32,930. If you want all the good stuff like Bluetooth, a Bose sound system, leather seats and other goodies, get ready to cash out $34,460 for the 370Z Touring. Even the top of the line 370Z Touring with a Sport Package (starting at $37,460) comes in at around $8,000 cheaper than the starting 255-hp BMW Z4 sDrive30i.
Oh, and let’s not forget – Nissan also offers the 350-hp NISMO 370Z starting at $39,130 – and that eats the 2010 BMW Z4 for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unless of course you’re the classy, refined type.
Reviewed: 2009 Nissan 370Z:
– By: Omar Rana
All Photos Copyright ©2009 Omar Rana – egmCarTech.