In the first full redesign of the iconic Nissan Z since its re-introduction in 2003, the new 370Z now sports a shorter wheelbase, greater use of lightweight body materials, new engine with more horsepower and a new 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, as well as the world’s first synchronised down/up shift rev control system for the manual transmission.
But to get the full measure of the new model, now designated the Nissan 370Z, one need look no farther than the subtle upswept line of the new rear quarter window. Quintessentially Z, the window is reminiscent of the original 1970 240Z – a car that revolutionised the sports car world with its unique combination of performance, style and, especially, value. The new 370Z continues this philosophy, offering accessible performance, true sports car handling and athletic, agile design.
“The fresh character of the Nissan 370Z is immediately apparent in the crisp new exterior design, which is sportier yet still immensely identifiable as a Z,” said Pierre
Loing, Nissan’s European Vice President for Product Planning. “The new 370Z builds on the best features of both the first and last generation’s Z–cars – respectful but not retro, simple yet sophisticated, and unmistakeably Z.”
The New Exterior: More athletic, more muscular, 100% Z
The 2009 370Z’s dynamic new styling offers dual benefits – a more aggressive appearance and a lighter, tighter structure for enhanced performance. The new Z’s wheelbase is nearly 100mm shorter than the previous generation Z (2550mm versus 2650mm), accomplished by moving the rear wheels forward in the 2nd generation FM platform, while overall length is reduced by 70mm (4250mm versus 4320mm). At the same time, the overall width has been increased by 33mm and the rear track by 55mm.
The more compact exterior dimensions and expanded use of lightweight materials help reduce weight, while at the same time the body structure has been extensively reinforced, improving rigidity.
Along with its new structure and stance, the 370Z has a taut new skin – one that looks completely new, yet completely Z. The exterior design incorporates intentional 240Z styling cues, a sleek aerodynamic shape, a ‘dynamic motion’ feel with a dramatic cantilevered roof (with Nissan GT-R styling cues) and a ‘low visual gravity’.
The 370Z’s sleek silhouette is defined by its upswept quarter window design that is echoed by the dynamic upward curvature in the lower rocker panel and the sense of the taut sheet metal moulding itself around the wheels and frame. Attention to detail and functionality is evident throughout the exterior design, including the addition of a turn indicator integrated into the Z logo mounted between the front wheel and door.
370Z Interior: putting the driver at the heart of the action
The interior design of the new 370Z continues the Z tradition of enhancing driving pleasure, no matter what the road or traffic conditions offer. Additionally, particular attention has been paid to the quality of the material, as well as the fit and finish.
The traditional 2-seat layout is built around a deeply scooped instrument panel with a full-length centre console separating the driver and passenger’s seat. In the rear is an open luggage area with enhanced storage and accessibility.
The information layer provides enhanced visibility with easy access to all key data. The gauges are once again attached to the steering column, so the driver doesn’t have to choose between the perfect steering wheel position and visibility of the gauges.
Interior packaging is also enhanced from the previous generation, including the removal of the rear strut brace (replaced with less intrusive structural reinforcements) and by adding a new ‘shelf’ area behind the seats, creating an ideal area for storing briefcases. A retractable cover is standard on the 370Z and a locking glove compartment has been added.
Life on board has been improved thanks to the addition of an engine start and stop button, larger diameter dials and thanks to the use of premium-feel material on seats, armrest and door trims (depending on grade).
3.7-litre engine: the Z’s heart and soul
As its new moniker suggests, the new 370Z is now powered by a 3.7-litre VQ37VHR engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift). Along with its larger displacement, the new engine gives better power delivery all the way to the 7,000rpm redline, improved low-end power and more high-end torque, creating an entirely new driving experience. Approximately 35 percent of the engine’s parts are new, versus the previous design. Power is rated at 331PS, while torque is 366Nm. Engine output figures for Europe are subject to homologation.
The new engine is backed by a choice of two new advanced transmissions, both designed to improve driver performance. The newly improved close-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox includes the world’s first synchronised down/up shift rev control system, which allows drivers of any skill level to experience perfectly smooth gear shifts every time. The ‘Synchro Rev Control’ function automatically adjusts engine speed when changing gear to the exact speed of the next gear position, essentially ‘blipping’ the throttle to smooth out any down/up shifts.
“This exciting new Z represents the essence of the Nissan brand, just as the original 240Z did nearly 40 years before,” said Loing. “It provides passionate performance at an excellent value – just what was needed then and just what sports car enthusiasts are looking for today.”
European deliveries will begin in April 2009.