Sunday, May 10, 2009

From A-Z, this Nissan's a winner

Seems like everywhere you go, if the subject of the Nissan Z cars comes up, someone always has some kind of connection to one of the sporty little rides.

They either used to own one, know someone who owned one, have always wanted to own one, or just plain consider themselves an admirer.

Well, all of that won't change with the latest version of this iconic model.


The 2009 Nissan 370Z gets its first full redesign since it was reintroduced as a 2003 model. This version capitalizes on the positive attributes of the predecessor and delivers a great value, awesome style and impressive performance.

Many components of the car have been redesigned from the predecessor, known as the 350Z.

There is now a shorter wheelbase, more lightweight body materials, larger engine with more horsepower and a seven-speed automatic transmission.

There is also a synchronized downshift rev matching system that goes with the six-speed manual transmission. That feature blips the throttle during downshifts and achieves smoother "heel-toe" downshifting.

Revised exterior styling has given the Z a more aggressive stance. One of the most notable new features is the "barbed" headlight and taillight style.

The new body is more rigid, too, and therefore helps its performance.

The 332 horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 engine is mighty.

Nissan reduced the length of the area behind the door, which enhances the coupe's long-hood look.

You can see some similarities with Nissan's popular GT-R sports car, and that's a good thing.

Like the exterior, the interior is revised greatly.

Well-positioned controls and ergonomic touches such as the main gauges moving with the tilt steering column make for great convenience and utility.

The materials are good quality.

There are three racing-inspired gauges in the center of the dash for water temp, voltage and clock.
Fuel economy has improved to 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway for the automatic.
The Z's handling dynamics are sensational, and it's thrilling to whip it around.

The new suspension is compliant yet firm.

The Z isn't the most quiet car on the road, but if you really appreciate performance, it shouldn't bother you.

Safety features abound, including traction control, ABS, and electronic stability control.

Those features work with a responsive chassis that let you avoid accidents. But should you encounter one, front and side airbags are standard, as well as roof-mounted side-curtain airbags, for your protection.

The 370Z is available in two models: the standard Z and the better-equipped Z Touring, which we drove.

Options are simple, too: the Sport Package with 19-inch wheels, and the Navigation Package. Cruise control, power windows, and an Intelligent Key keyless entry/start are all standard. The sound system is from Bose, and the separate DVD-NAV system includes a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive with an iPod interface.
We also recently drove the 370Z's more luxurious cousin, the Infiniti G37 Coupe. It's a bit more refined and has more interior room, but it's pricier, too. Stay tuned for a full review.

The 370Z Touring that we drove, well equipped and with Sport package, had a sticker price of $39,865.

When it comes to world-class performance and design, the 370Z has it all, from A-Z.

No comments: