2009 Nissan 370Z

John Roe

But, let's go on to the show. How does this baby drive? Well, since the Z-Car rides on the latest version of the FM (front-midship) platform that underpins every rear-wheel-drive car in the Nissan/Infiniti stables, you know it's got very athletic, if not particularly lithe, bones. At low, around-town speeds, the somewhat ponderous, heavy feeling that plagued the 350Z is still evident, the engine lugs and whines like a tractor's, and the manual gearshifter is the antithesis of a snick-snick device. The good news is that, thanks in no small part to a new cast-aluminum front cradle, a carbon-fiber-reinforced radiator support, and a triangular engine-compartment brace, the 370Z feels far stiffer, more substantial, and more refined than the 350Z, and its dynamic responses grow exponentially more satisfying the faster you go and the more you ask of it. Once you shoot the tach needle into the upper half of the 7500-rpm rev range, the VQ V-6 emits more pleasing noises, but the Z could still use a bit more exhaust bark. The accelerator pedal is now hinged from the floor rather than the firewall, which ought to give old-time Porsche 911 fans a few goosebumps. Sherman found its response to be "lackadaisical." But he added, "When it's used in the all-or-nothing mode, there is plenty of action. I clocked acceleration to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, a few tenths quicker than the 350Z."

The 370Z's steering is quick and perfectly weighted, although road test editor and fussbudget Marc Noordeloos thought it was perhaps "a touch too quick just off-center." Body roll is well-checked, and the car reacts with utter ease when you pitch it into a corner, with minimal understeer. Determined pilots can induce oversteer, and the stability control system can be turned off completely. While the sport package's upgraded brakes - with four-piston calipers in front - are no longer supplied by Brembo, they perform superbly, with firm pedal feel, linear response, and no evidence of fading. In our tests, they cut seven feet off the 350Z's 70-to-0-mph stopping distance, at 154 feet.

So, you're in your rear-wheel-drive sports car with a six-speed manual, ready to finally master your heel-and-toeing technique. But wait! There's no need to blip the 370Z's throttle; Nissan's new SynchroRev Match device will do it for you. At first glance, it seems like a gimmick, but after a while you start enjoying the feature, which comes into play once the gearbox detects a certain degree of shift-lever movement. From sixth, fifth, and fourth gears, revs rise by about 1000 rpm as you downshift, making you feel like a pro even if you don't have on your Pilotis. At 50 mph in third gear, drop to second and revs leap from 3000 to 5000 rpm. Even if you're stuck in traffic, you can shove the gearshifter toward the left side of the gate, just to hear the engine scream. A new, seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is also offered.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price

subscribe

new cars

Read Related Articles

TO TOP