2009 Nissan 370Z Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2008
FAST FACTS
  • Redesigned for 2009, with new name
  • 370Z and 370Z Touring models are available
  • 3.7-liter V-6 engine rated at 332 horsepower
  • Significantly lighter than the outgoing model for faster acceleration
  • SynchroRev technology for engine rev-matching during downshifts
  • New available 7-speed automatic transmission
  • Improved quality for driver-centric interior
  • Available hands-free phone, XM NavTraffic, and Music Box hard drive

Introduction

The name Nissan is synonymous with the "Z," a popular line of rear-wheel-drive sports cars manufactured since 1969 (until 1984 under Nissan's "Datsun" brand). The early 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, 280ZX, and 300ZX culminated in the technically advanced fourth-generation 300ZX models offered in the 1990s. Slow sales resulted in a five-year production hiatus for the Z, but the fifth-generation 350Z was introduced for 2003, followed by a convertible version in 2004. In 2007, Nissan made significant revisions to the 350Z including styling updates for the hood, bumpers and headlamps, and the inclusion of an updated version of Nissan's award-winning VQ-series engine under the hood.

For 2009, Nissan is introducing a completely redesigned Z-car. The 2009 Nissan 370Z has a shorter wheelbase and a lighter chassis for improved handling. The familiar VQ-family V-6 engine has grown in size and power, for faster acceleration. The interior has also been completely reworked with higher quality materials and better ergonomics, the company says.

Model Lineup

While the 2008 Nissan 350Z was offered in no less than five models (Base, Enthusiast, Touring, Grand Touring and NISMO), the 2009 lineup has been simplified. There are just two models: 370Z and 370Z Touring. Both share the same V-6 powerplant, transmission choices, and rear-wheel-drive powertrain. The differences are found only in the equipment levels.

Standard on all 370Z models is air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, manually-adjustable cloth seats, and an AM/FM/CD audio system with 4 speakers. The 370Z Touring is upgraded with leather and suede seating surfaces, power seat adjustment, and a 240-watt Bose audio package with 6 speakers and 2 subwoofers. Optional on both models is a hard drive-based Nissan navigation system with XM NavTraffic and a 9.3-GB music hard drive with a built-in iPod adapter. An optional Sport package adds a limited-slip differential, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, sport brakes, and a front and rear spoiler package.

Hardware

The 2009 Nissan 370Z is the most powerful Z ever. Under its aluminum hood is Nissan's 3.7-liter VQ powerplant (it's the same engine used in the Infiniti G37). In the Z, it is rated at 332 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. There are two transmission choices. The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual with SynchroRev matching. The optional transmission is a 7-speed automatic with a manual mode and paddle shifters on the steering wheel. All 370Z models are rear-wheel drive and offer a performance-oriented limited-slip differential (LSD).

The standard disc brakes are 12.6 inches in diameter in the front, and 12.1 inches in the rear. Optional on both models (included in the Sport package) are 14.0-inch disc brakes with 4-piston calipers in the front, and 13.8-inch discs with 2-piston calipers in the rear. All 370Z models are fitted with 18-inch cast aluminum alloy wheels as standard equipment. Larger 19-inch forged aluminum alloy wheels, with wider performance tires, are included in the Sport package.

Safety

All 2009 Nissan 370Z models are equipped with the company's Advanced Air Bag System including dual-stage front air bags with seat sensors, and front passenger classification sensors. Both seats are equipped with 3-point restraints with pre-tensioning devices. Driver and passenger side-impact air bags and side curtain air bags are standard. Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC-and commonly known as stability control), traction control, and a tire-pressure-monitoring system are standard on all 370Z models in 2009.
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