2009 Nissan 370Z - First Drive Review

>> Monday, March 30, 2009

Now we see Z light: And many thanks for not screwing up a pretty good thing.


The “Year of the GT-R” is finally behind us, but Nissan isn’t done polishing its brass knuckles. Attention now snaps back to Nissan’s original and more affordable asphalt punk, the Z. Launched in 2002—ancient days for a sports coupe, which is always a fast-burning candle—the Z was obscured all last year by Godzilla’s long shadow. For 2009 it breaks cover, the 350Z now transformed into the shorter, scrappier 370Z.

The Andrew Jackson added to the name means more motor. The V-6 is now 3.7 liters instead of 3.5, thanks to a 4.6-millimiter stroke stretch. Sound familiar? This is the Infiniti G37’s four-cam, 24-valve V-6, new in 2008 and called the VQ37HR.

In the Z, it shares the Infiniti’s power ratings of 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, up 24 and two, respectively, from the 3.5. Written out that way, it sounds like much ado about not much. Well, Nissan says the 3.7 should cleave a couple of 10ths from the 0-to-60-mph score, down to five seconds flat, a difference your personal whupass meter should register. During a drive of a tape-masked prototype, ours did, and we noted stronger pulls out of corners and more torque in the midsection. However, the prosaic whir heard in the cockpit from the big six is no more scintillating near the 7500-rpm redline. The Z’s rumble sounds bad-ass from the sidewalk, but it still desperately needs an inside voice.

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