You'll Like The 2009 Nissan 370Z If...
You'll like the Nissan 370Z if you want a fast, fun and approachably priced sports coupe. Buyers eyeing the offerings from Porsche and BMW will find the 370Z offers similar thrills at a much lower price.
You May Not Like The 2009 Nissan 370Z If...
The original 240Z won fans by delivering great style and performance at an impressively low price. While still a good value, the 370Z's starting price around $30,000 may no longer fit everyone's definition of affordable.
Big changes for 2009 include more power, less weight, a revised engine, a new seven-speed automatic transmission and an automatic rev-matching downshift feature for the six-speed manual transmission. There have also been noticeable improvements made to the interior that address the quality concerns of the previous 350Z.
Some of the biggest improvements made to the 2009 Nissan 370Z are found inside. The new 370Z does away with the hard plastic that graced the old model, opting instead for soft-touch surfaces covering the dash, door trim and almost anywhere an occupant's hand might rest. Overall interior volume has shrunk slightly, but efficient use of the available space resulted in identical head room and improved leg, hip and shoulder room. The large structural element that bisected the previous model's trunk has also been removed, which, along with storage nooks behind the seats, greatly improves the 370Z's cargo-carrying abilities.
Unlike most new cars, the 2009 Nissan 370Z is actually smaller in length, height, and wheel base than the car it replaced, its tidier dimensions contributing to the new model's reduced weight and solid, planted stance. In shaping the 370Z's exterior Nissan's design team retained enough of the 350Z's essence to make the new model immediately recognizable as a member of the Z family. However, the 370Z has a distinct persona of its own thanks to unique details including "boomerang" head and tail lights, big flared fenders and a cantilevered roof reminiscent of the Nissan GT-R's.
In motion, the Nissan 370Z's lighter chassis, shorter wheel base and wider track work together to provide immediate, sporty handling. Yet, on long stretches of highway, the ride never feels overly harsh and the cabin remains impressively quiet. When pushed hard, at the racetrack perhaps, the stability control system can feel overly eager to intervene. Turn stability control off, and the 370Z remains balanced and forgiving. There is plenty of power coming out of the corners, lots of grip when turning, and the brakes are strong and easy to modulate. The 370Z's automatic transmission works quite well, but the easy-to-modulate clutch, short throw shifter and SynchroRev Match option of the manual transmission make it hard to pass up. Forward visibility is good thanks to thin A-pillars, but rear visibility is limited to a narrow slit of glass by the stylishly raked rear hatch.
Pricing for the Nissan 370Z starts at around $30,000 for the base coupe and moves up to a little over $35,000 for the Touring trim. A six-speed manual transmission is standard for both trims with a seven-speed automatic available for an additional $1,300. The Navigation System adds an extra $1,850 to the bottom line while the Sport Package increases the price by $3,000. To compare the actual transaction prices for the Nissan 370Z, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price. Like the 350Z before it, the 2009 Nissan 370Z is expected to hold its value well over time.
The 2009 Nissan 370Z comes in two trims, base and Touring. Even in base form, the 370Z is well equipped with automatic climate control, steering wheel audio and cruise controls, keyless entry and start, xenon headlights and a four-speaker audio system with auxiliary input. Moving up to the Touring trim adds niceties like power-adjustable heated seats, Bluetooth, leather and suede interior, aluminum pedals and a Bose audio system with eight speakers including two subwoofers. Adding to the safety of both trims are standard stability control, traction control, active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system and six airbags.
There are only two options available for the Nissan 370Z. A Sport Package is available for both base and Touring trims and includes a Viscous limited-slip differential, 19-inch forged wheels, sport brakes and downshift rev matching on cars equipped with the manual transmission. The Sport Package also includes a rear spoiler and front chin spoiler that eliminate aerodynamic lift at higher speeds. Available only for the Touring trim is a Navigation Package that includes a navigation system, real-time traffic information, iPod connectivity and 9.3 gigabytes of on-board music storage.
Heel-toe down shifting, which requires using the right foot to both brake and blip the throttle, is one of the most difficult skills for any driver to learn. The 370Z's SynchroRev Match system blips the throttle, automatically providing butter-smooth downshifts every time. Driving purists who would rather match revs the old fashioned way are given the option to shut the system off.
Seven-Speed Automatic Transmission
Delivering the direct feel and fuel economy of a manual transmission along with quick, smooth shifts, the paddle shifter-equipped seven-speed automatic found in the Nissan 370Z is a winner.
Under the Hood
Power for the 2009 370Z comes from the latest generation of Nissan's venerated VQ series V6 engine. Producing 332-horsepower, the 370Z's engine delivers more power than last year's model while moving less mass thanks to a chassis that weighs approximately 95 pounds less. Stealing some of the focus away from the Z's excellent engine are its advanced transmission options: a standard six-speed manual and an optional seven-speed automatic. Manual-equipped cars with the optional Sport Package also feature SynchroRev Match, a system that automatically blips the throttle for seamless downshifts.
332 horsepower @ 7000 rpm
270 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26
Much like the original Datsun 240Z, Nissan's intention for the 2009 370Z is to offer world-class design and performance at an enticing value. Competitors for the Nissan 370Z include affordable coupes like the Ford Mustang and Honda Accord Coupe all the way up to premium competitors like the Porsche Cayman and BMW Z4 Coupe. Compared to the 350Z that preceded it, the 370Z's exterior and interior have been thoroughly redesigned along with significant improvements in quality, performance and technology that should help it remain a strong performer in the sports coupe category. Fans of the Z Convertible may be disappointed to learn that only the 370Z Coupe will be sold during the first year of production.