2009 Nissan 370Z new car reviews

Better than: 350Z
But not as good as: Corvette Z06
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 99.86

The new Z is generating a lot of buzz despite being upstaged by the GT-R as Nissan's halo car. While the 350Z was pretty good, this all-new car is better in just about every way.

The 370Z's look is cleaner than that of the previous model while still retaining some of its styling cues. Stubbier front and rear overhangs and a meaty wheel-and-tire package give the car a more muscular stance. The interior feels purposeful as well, and materials seem to be of higher quality than the outgoing model. The engine feels strong, too, with no lack of torque down low and lots of power at the top of the rev range.

There isn't much not to like about the new Z, although our well-optioned example was a little pricey. The base model car has an MSRP just under $30,000.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

There's a lot to like here: more power, shorter length, wider track and less weight. And then there's the rear flares--I actually ran into one while walking around the car one evening.

Other pluses: I love the seats, the shifter and the wheel. The meaty Rays wheels are a plus, too. I think it looks good, too. Trust me, it looks way better in real life, especially in dark colors. It's a tight, mean-looking little car. Performance is as expected: razor-sharp reflexes plus Nissan's willing V6 engine.

The peanut gallery has been all over the rev-matching feature. Don't like it? There's a button on the console that disables it. End of story.

Any negatives? Yeah, sorry. Road noise on some surfaces is nearly unbearable. I know, it's a performance car, but at times the 370Z exhibited more NVH than my Miata--and my Miata has urethane bushings and is always on race tires.

Also, visibility over the shoulders is bad--like really bad. Changing lanes in basically a trust exercise. And let me say sorry for the guy I cutoff on I-95 while heading up to Amelia Island. I swear, I checked my mirrors and totally didn't see you.

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

While the Nissan 370 is an improvement in at least the looks department over the 350Z, the details are still fussy and the car is still a little to crude and cramped for my tastes. For similar money, I would look for a used BMW 335i or a new Mustang Bullitt.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

First off, this 370z is a better car in nearly every way than the 350z it replaces. It is faster, much better looking (especially the rear haunches), and most importantly, it communicates much better with the driver than the older car. The clutch, shifter, and gearbox all work in harmony. Also, the steering is much more alive and it transmits much more feeling than the 350z ever did. The interior now has quality materials, and everything seems screwed together tightly. Even the vent controls feel top notch. People complained about the low-rent feel of the 350z, and Nissan was listening. The 370z is much improved in and out.

That said, I can never see myself owning one of these. Here's why:

Visability--- The 370z has the worst outward visibility since the 71-73 Mustang fastback. The rear window is a slot, and there is practically no 3/4 view out. Not only is this claustraphobic and annoying, it is downright dangerous. The massive blind spots really come into play when backing out of a parking spot while trying to check for oncoming traffic. You can't see ANYTHING! It is amazing to me in a world where the automakers are forced to install 15 airbags, stability control, ABS, and all kinds of electric nannies to make cars "safer", no thought was put into actually being able to see out of this car.

Seats---- Although all the other members of our staff found the seats of the 370z to be comfortable, they for me, were pure torture. After fiddling with the seat controls for 30 minutes or so, I was finally able to find a position that was bearable but never comfortable. These buckets had a horrible pressure point in the lower back of my 5'8" 175 lbs. frame. I simply could not drive this car for any distance without changing the seats. They created more pain than any other car I've ever driven. If you are considering a 370z, make sure to spend 30 minutes or so in the saddle. As I said, no one else on staff had this issue, but I sure did.

Engine-- Much as been said about the noise the VQ motor generates as it reaches higher RPM. Although the car really hauls ass, the engine note groans and thrashes it's way up the rev scale. Some cars stir the soul with their song as speeds increase. The 370z makes you wish for earplugs. Think of it as the anti-Alfa.

The 370z is very much a Japanese Mustang. It is fast, looks good, it's not horribly expensive (at least MSRP), and will no doubt be a capable performer on track. For my $$ though, the Z's faults outweigh it's strengths.

Scott Lear Scott Lear

Unfortunately, due to travel I was only able to spend a few minutes with this new Z car, but the first impressions are the ones that stick with you the most. I think it's a better looking car than the 350Z, and I had grown to really like the older car. It's quick, but I can't say that it felt any faster than the older car, and Nissan still needs to replace the spongy viscous limited-slip differential they're using in these cars with something more serious, it just doesn't engage both drive wheels confidently. A Torsen or clutch-type diff would be a big improvement.

As David said, if you don't like the rev-matching system, you can turn it off. Actually, it's very well implemented, and for somebody in the early HPDE levels who has enough to keep track of while learning to drive a car at the limit, it would probably save them some clutch and lower their anxiety level. As a learning tool, it teaches you what a proper rev-matched downshift should feel like.

I liked the interior styling even more than the old car, too. Hopefully we'll get another example during a weekend when there's an autocross in town so we can give the 370Z a proper shakedown.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.

Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
drmike
drmike Reader
4/30/09 11:59 p.m.

"Think of it as the anti-Alfa. " Joe, you stabbed me right in the (18 years of Alfa ownership) heart. I've been dying to try out a 370Z, right up until I read your apt comment. Looks like my wallet is safe again - I'll stick with the old, paid-for cars for a bit longer.

Zafraid
Zafraid None
11/5/09 1:16 p.m.

As an owner of a 350Z (with lots of aftermarket upgrades), I cant say I was all that impressed when I to a base model 370Z for a test drive off the dealer lot. Acceleration was better and handling was a bit quicker, but all of the irritating factors that I replaced on my Z33 were still there (like the sluggish dual mass flywheel arrgh!). Last week however, while my care was in San Jose for dyno tuning at Z Car Garage, the owner Rob Fuller tossed me the keys to the shops 370Z project car. This car was wicked fast and handled and stopped like a dream! Normally aspirated, it was putting out 370 HP at the wheels. The point of my rambling is this, The Z is and always was an enthusiasts car. It is a blank canvass upon which you can paint YOUR vision of what a sports car should be. The car that rolls off the lot is just good-enough for you to get started with. Enjoy the 370Z!

JetMech
JetMech Reader
11/5/09 2:25 p.m.

I just can't get past those goofy lights...

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The new Z is generating a lot of buzz despite being upstaged by the GT-R as Nissan's halo car. While the 350Z was pretty good, this all-new car is better in just about every way.

The 370Z's look is cleaner than that of the previous model while still retaining some of its styling cues. Stubbier front and rear overhangs and a meaty wheel-and-tire package give the car a more muscular stance. The interior feels purposeful as well, and materials seem to be of higher quality than the outgoing model. The engine feels strong, too, with no lack of torque down low and lots of power at the top of the rev range.

There isn't much not to like about the new Z, although our well-optioned example was a little pricey. The base model car has an MSRP just under $30,000.

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
gOF5QnN4M04PGWEQNKgE4SHKxJgpR2j2