2009 Nissan 370ZEnlarge Photo
The 2009 370Z Coupe is Nissan’s latest attempt at tapping into the pure essence of the sports car: two seats, a great chassis, good suspension design and enough power to get the job done. And on the whole, it’s a thrilling success.
With a new 3.7-liter take on the VQ V-6 engine rated at 332 horsepower, the 370Z isn’t lacking in the ponies department, though it does want for low-end grunt. While that might have been the end of the story, thanks to the car’s excellent handling and improved day-to-day comfort and feel over the 350Z it replaces, there’s a lot more to tell.
The new 2010 370Z Roadster isn’t quite out yet, with 2009-model cars being Coupes only, though the Nismo model, which adds 18 horsepower and a number of other tweaks and upgrades isn’t within the scope of this review either. But the Coupe is enough to keep any enthusiast busy, especially considering how much has changed.
Rather than follow the herd and continue to grow its cars larger and larger, Nissan has decided to trim down the 370Z from its predecessor. The wheelbase is almost four inches shorter, and overall length is down almost three inches thanks in part to a shorter rear overhang.
When looking at the new Z, it's clear that Nissan takes nearly all of the length from behind the door, a move that enhances the coupe's long-hood look. The new Z also sits higher up front to make room for the engine without need for a hood bulge - and to meet pedestrian safety standards - so it presents a much different curbside presence than its forebear as well.