By on December 17, 2008

Question: How do you age a car ten years in seven? Answer: release the world beating GT-R. Sure, cars have advanced considerably since the 350Z debuted in 2002, but after riding around in one a couple of months back, the truth became self-evident: this dog no longer hunts. In fact, it felt like a 4th Gen Camaro — all engine and odd squeaks. No one saw the writing on the wall as clearly as Nissan. Hence the brand spanking nouveau 370Z.  But is it any good?

It looks better. In my eyes the 350Z always looked like an Audi TT dressed up for gym class. Especially that roof. The new Z is better from all angles. It’s also more Japanese, too; checkout that catfish mouth. Nissan spent a good deal of time explaining to us that the rear quarter windows were influenced by the OG 240Z. I don’t see that as much as I see the squared off edges from the GT-R. Love the kink at the C-pillar and the slope of the roof/trunk. While the photos do it no justice, Jessica Biel’s got nothing on the 370Z’s rear end. Can you say badonka? I gladly can.

Inside is better, too. For instance, the Z now has a glove box! More importantly, the gauges are trimmed in a trick piece of brushed aluminum that would class up any car. Unlike the 370Z’s corporate G cousins, the interior vibe is much more sporting than entry-level lux. Even with the optional leather seats. To wit: there are now only two Z model: regular Z and Touring Z (Nissan refers to the latter as Leather Z). And there are only two options: Sport Pack (LSD, bigger brakes, bigger wheels, SynchroRev Match) and navigation. I’d advise against the nav as it’s the same also-ran system found inside Infinitis. Plus it uses up a valuable cubbyhole. As for the Sport Pack…

The SynchroRev Match (SRM) is the big buzz on the new six-speed Z. When you shift to a lower gear, SRM automatically revs the engine. Most people just use their right foot to perform said task, but that’s progress. And it’s a progressive system. If you’re going 10 mph and shifting from second to first, you only get a little blip. Running at 80 mph and going from sixth to fourth rewards you with a Big Old Blip. So yes, SRM works. In fact, it works well everywhere save for the track. Going Hell for leather on a closed course, the SRM “automatically” bangs-up against the 7,500 rpm rev limiter. With a two-second push of a button you can shut the whole system off. Verdict: good about 80 percent of the time.

A smaller buzz: the 370Z’s new engine. Nissan’s opted for the VQ 3.7-liter V6 from the Infiniti G. Due to shorter exhaust pipes, it’s slightly more powerful in Z form: 332 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 270 torques @ 5,200 rpm. Good stuff, but it doesn’t feel as maniac-fast in this application as it does in the G37 Sport 6MT. The G37 is fast for a four-door sedan. But when you’re talking sports cars, 0 – 60 mph in 5.1 seconds is mid-pack. Hell, the new WRX hits 60 in 4.7 seconds, shaming the Z (and the STI, EVO, Mustang GT, some Porsches, etc). My point: the 370Z could use more grunt.

The medium buzz: the 370Z is four inches shorter than its predecessor, wider and lower to the ground and 90 pounds lighter. From the way Nissan tells it, this was no little feat; they had to add roughly 200 pounds of regulatory crap. Aluminum in the hood, doors and rear hatch helped get the job done, allowing Nissan to maintain the Z’s 53/47 weight distribution. The boffins also changed the front suspension from multi-link to double wishbone (my fave) while leaving the rear 4-link.

This new Z is lighter, shorter and features better suspension, sharper brakes and bigger wheels. Nissan had us flog the Z around a private track (Spring Mountain) outside Vegas. Initially, I was surprised at how much speed the 370Z could carry though corners. Grip is essentially endless (thank the double wishbones and 19”x10” tires) and the steering feel is at least twice as good as the 350Z’s. Therefore…

I don’t know. I should be jumping up and down. On paper, the 370Z is a mean, corner-eating bastard. But something’s amiss. It’s too quiet inside, for one. And I really think the notorious FM platform is better suited to sedans (G) and sport-SUVs (FX) than pure sports cars. Put it like this: if it was my $30k (or so), I’d be shopping a (gulp) Mustang GT.

[Nissan provided a flight, hotel accommodations, meals, vehicles, gas and insurance. Note: Vehicles tested were pre-production models fitted with oil coolers, transmission coolers and differential coolers for repeated track use]

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91 Comments on “Review: 2009 Nissan 370Z...”


  • avatar
    Morea

    90 pounds lighter, too.

    According to Edmunds it still weighs 3314 lbs.

    Ahh for the good ol’ days of the sub-3000 lbs two seater.

  • avatar
    IGB

    Your last line actually floors me. Having driven the previous version of the Z and a modded Mustang GT, I actually widely preferred the Z. Having said that I thought both cars were “faux” sports cars and wouldn’t own either.

    The new Mustang must be a real gem.

  • avatar
    John R

    …if it was my $30k (or so), I’d be shopping a (gulp) Mustang GT.

    Poor baby, you must be sick! I’ll have McNaab’s mom cook you up some Chunky soup.

  • avatar
    cgraham

    LEATHER ZED!!! I love it

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Having owned both the 350Z and the 04-09 GT (well the 350z wasn’t mine technically), I also prefer the Mustang. I’m surprised JL didn’t mention it, but vehicle dynamics aside the GT sounds (and in my opinion) A LOT better. Really, I think the Z’s really don’t sound good at all… quite a shame for this type of car.

    Also, please don’t turn this into a discussion about Crown Vics and Toyota Camry’s. Please?

  • avatar

    Qusus:
    The exhaust note on the Infinity G’s are why I can never own one of them. Beautiful cars ruined by some god-awful UFO sounding bullshit coming out the back. I don’t get it.

  • avatar
    mattb

    I think the Mustang comment would be completely indisputable if Ford would just put a freaking 6 speed in the thing.

  • avatar
    lth

    … pre-production models fitted with oil coolers, transmission coolers and differential coolers for repeated track use.

    Now why can’t Nissan make these coolers part of their Sport Pack, or even offer it as a Track Pack?

  • avatar
    davey49

    Nissan sure knows how to do ugly right.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    @ lth

    Look no further than the Launch Control debacle on the GT-R.

    If the factory gives it to you, then the factory needs to warranty it.

    I can’t imagine Nissan selling a track pack, encouraging customers to track their 370Zs and then honoring warranty claims when guys (and gals) shred their clutches and rears…..

    -ted

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “Sure, cars have advanced considerably since the 350Z debuted in 2002″

    I tend to believe that most of the progress in the last 10 years has been toward the rear. Out side of getting fatter, what progress are you thinking of?

  • avatar

    Flight, hotel (and dancers, err, entertainment), meals (and booze), gas and insurance…

    And with the last sentence of your review chose to bust their balls by giving a nod to the (cringe) live-rear-axle Mustang GT?! (with pleather and a 5-speed manual, we assume)

    God bless TTAC…and honest journalism.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    A few questions for you, especially as compared to the Mustang:

    How’s it ride?

    How’s the visibility front and back? What sort of blind spots do those giant pillars in the rear create? Is it possible to parallel park without guessing?

    What sort of regulatory crap was Nissan required to add? Ford changed almost nothing about the Mustang for 2010, was the ’02 FM platform that inadequate?

    Did you pick up on the NVH factor of the 3.7L that other reviews have complained about? They seem to think this “VQ” engine is about as smooth as a bucket of marbles. How does it compare to the Mustang’s V8? SRM aside, is the stick any good?

    Why is the FM platform “notorious” and why isn’t it good for a sports car? The previous Z was accused of overly stiff suspension, but it was always one of the top entries in the numbers game. Is this iteration too heavy? Or too large? Or?

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    mattb :
    December 17th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    “I think the Mustang comment would be completely indisputable if Ford would just put a freaking 6 speed in the thing.”

    A V8′s torque curve ought to be broad enough that you only really need a 4 speed (three + overdrive).

    If you need 6, it’s either underpowered or you’re trying to get to 220mph

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    lth: From what we were told, the various coolers will eventually be available. Just not right away. And most people will never need them.

    A little inside baseball stuff for you — I was on the 4th (of 4) waves of the 370Z launch. There were 23 other journos with me, all with varying skill levels, all given as much time as we liked on the track. I personally did 15 laps (13 as flat out as I could) before putting a wheel in the dirt and getting black flagged. I take certain pride in that as the only other people to get black flagged were, “some French Canadians.”

    Anyhow, the situation was about 100 journalists (plus other track people) beating up on six cars for 4 days — they needed coolers.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I take certain pride in that as the only other people to get black flagged were, “some French Canadians.”

    Yes, well, you can’t blame them. That’s not bad driving, it’s just how it’s done in Montreal. They don’t stop for reds, either.

  • avatar
    JG

    Regarding the Mustang comment, must be that day to day driving enjoyment doesn’t hinge solely on dragstrip/dyno/trans gear numbers and suspension configuration. I’m stating the obvious, people are really cought up on specs these days.

    If the pleather were more durable, that would be cool.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    You touch on it your review, but the 350Z had a godawful interior layout. How well did they fix it? They added a glove box and spiffed up the gauge cluster, but what was your overall appraisal of the interior? Is it usable now? (They really need to allow longer car reviews.) The interior of the 350Z was the deal breaker for me and my wife when we got a new car back in ’04.

    P.S. As a driving machine, I really preferred the 350Z to the last gen. Mustang GT. Is the 2010 Mustang that much better, or is the 370Z that little of an improvement?

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    “332 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 270 torques @ 5,200 rpm.” and smaller and lighter. It sounds pretty good on paper, and as one of the first vehicles ever to get smaller and lighter, certainly after my heart. I guess I’ll have to drive it. The 350z suprised me with its relative lack of low end grunt, so perhaps these great stats can underwhelm as well.

  • avatar
    carguy622

    I’m surprised there was no mention of the tacky digital coolant temperature and gas “gauges”. On a Prius or Civic it’s one thing. They seem out of place on what is purported to be a proper sports car.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    That was a somewhat vague review. You spent a lot of time on stuff on things we could find out anywhere, but when it comes to the things we depend on auto journalists for (how it feels) you only give us a short paragraph that says more about a different car than this one. Please give us more than that!

  • avatar
    carguy

    JL – kudos for calling it as you see it. Did Nissan allow you some normal road time? If so, how is the ride and how is the visibility? Engine NHV was reported by some other reviews – what were your impressions? Also, how do you rate the clutch and gear action?

  • avatar
    nk

    Does anyone know if Nissan is still using the god awful viscous limited slip diff they seem to love on the G or have they finally gone to a proper one that won’t require an overhaul every 30k miles.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    I’m still floored by that last comment regarding the Mustang.

    I rented a 350Z convertible earlier this year to go to the Keys in and took that over a Mustang GT because the ride was so much better. Now if you’re choosing the 2010 Mustang over the new Z then either 1) the Mustang’s ride has improved to the point where other manufacturers might start using live axles again or 2) Nissan botched the Z’s suspension in this new iteration of the car.

    Dash it all….i can’t believe it. I’d still take the Z over the Mustang, both then and now.

    And who was complaining about the noise out the back end? It’s a glorious noise to behold, especially in convertible form where the u keep the engine on boil just to hear the big bore V6 wail.

    I think the 370Z’s styling is bang on.

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    I agree with SupaMan; I love the exhaust note of the VQ. To me, it has a hollow raspiness that is somewhat similar to a 911′s NA flat 6. (Please don’t flame me for comparing these two cars.)

  • avatar
    Vorenus

    UFO sounding?

    I think the previous iteration sounded OK. Not great, but mean enough, and not cacaphonous by any means.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    Previous VQs I’ve heard made a low hollow warble, like a game animal dying slowly from blood loss.

  • avatar
    nk

    “To me, it has a hollow raspiness that is somewhat similar to a 911’s NA flat 6.”

    Uhh, the VQ in the G has a really REALLY synthetic exhaust note due to the fartcans on the back… The 911′s exhaust note is very raw. I really have to disagree…

    Again to agree with a commenter above, Nissan does some great engines (especially at their price points) but they make such god awful synthetic exhaust notes that the ricer crowd cream over, I could never own one.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    umm, you know you can pick and choose your exhaust note from about 1000 different aftermarket suppliers for about $1k (top end full catback) on down. Although great exhaust sound out of the box is nice, it certainly wouldn’t be a dealbreaker when shelling out $30k for a new car. The hp thing I can understand however. It seems strange that they still don’t offer a turbo version. The 3200lbs 300zx TT goes from 0-60 in 5 secs with its stock 300hp. But the real goodness in that car comes from the fact that with very little money (under $1k) you can get that engine to 400+hp.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    There’s this guy named Paul Krugman. He just got the Nobel Prize for economics. And he used to write a column for the LA Times (he now writes for the New York Times). I mention this him and his scribing for cash (a poor economic decision if there ever was one) because his LA Times column was limited to — you got it — 800 words. I recently heard Mr. Krugman on the radio and he was saying that writing 800 words is harder than writing 1,200 words. I wouldn’t hand out any prizes for such an observation, but man is he ever right. With that in mind, I’m going to answer as many 370Z questions and concerns as y’all asked. Ready?

    Qusus says, “I’m surprised JL didn’t mention it, but vehicle dynamics aside the [Mustang] GT sounds (and in my opinion) A LOT better. Really, I think the Z’s really don’t sound good at all… quite a shame for this type of car.”

    I’m surprised I didn’t mention it, too. Either way, Qusus gets the nail on the head award. The 370Z is too muffled for its own good, and that takes away from the sports car appeal. The Mustang GT gets V8 sounds piped right into the cabin.

    Davey49 opines, “Nissan sure knows how to do ugly right.”

    Hell yeah. Er, wait… Beautiful car.

    Robert Schwartz says, “I tend to believe that most of the progress in the last 10 years has been toward the rear. Out side of getting fatter, what progress are you thinking of?”

    Well sir, engines make all kinds of more power, electronics save lives and even though most cars are indeed porkier, most cars are more fun to drive. SUVs notwithstanding — they are fatter and duller than ever.

    KnightRT starts in, “How’s it ride?”

    Like a GT car, frankly. Not hard enough. All sports cars you ride like a Mazda RX-8. Hell, they should be so lucky.

    More, “How’s the visibility front and back? What sort of blind spots do those giant pillars in the rear create? Is it possible to parallel park without guessing?”

    Great question. Visibility forward is very good – they even slimmed down the A-pillars. Very good, I should say, unless you’re turning left. Then the ginormous side mirror and high beltline conspire to obscure everything. Rear visibility is poor, to put it nicely. Backing up in parking lots is scary.

    Even more, “What sort of regulatory crap was Nissan required to add? Ford changed almost nothing about the Mustang for 2010, was the ‘02 FM platform that inadequate?”

    Dunno.

    More still, “Did you pick up on the NVH factor of the 3.7L that other reviews have complained about? They seem to think this “VQ” engine is about as smooth as a bucket of marbles. How does it compare to the Mustang’s V8? SRM aside, is the stick any good?”

    The only NVH I picked up was an insanely high pitched buzz that seemed to come from the passenger door. It was with me on a 3 ½ hour schlep from Pahrump to Burbank. Luckily it was so close to what dogs hear that I’d forget about it. Until I didn’t. Nissan did state (over and over) that we were driving pre-production cars. The engine seemed cool and calm in terms of smoothness. The stick shifted fine (say a 6.5 out of 10), but me and others grabbed second instead of fourth more than once.

    Finally, “Why is the FM platform “notorious” and why isn’t it good for a sports car? The previous Z was accused of overly stiff suspension, but it was always one of the top entries in the numbers game. Is this iteration too heavy? Or too large? Or?”

    Poor choice of words on my part. Should have said, “ubiquitous” or “infamous.” I just meant that it gets a lot of ink. It’s not good for a sports car because it also works well as an SUV and sedan. This iteration is too sedan like. That’s all.

    JG writes, “Regarding the Mustang comment, must be that day to day driving enjoyment doesn’t hinge solely on dragstrip/dyno/trans gear numbers and suspension configuration. I’m stating the obvious, people are really cought [sic] up on specs these days.”

    Right. Here’s the thing — I would bet that the Z is just as fast to 60 mph and through the quarter as the Mustang GT. But if I were to blindfold you (and stick you in the passenger seat) you would swear up, down, left, right that the Mustang is faster. Larger point: to me, the Mustang feels better.

    Lumbergh21 asks, “You touch on it your review, but the 350Z had a godawful interior layout. How well did they fix it? They added a glove box and spiffed up the gauge cluster, but what was your overall appraisal of the interior? Is it usable now? (They really need to allow longer car reviews.) The interior of the 350Z was the deal breaker for me and my wife when we got a new car back in ‘04.”

    The 370Z is better, but still not great. For instance, there is one exposed cup holder on the tranny tunnel. There are in fact two, but the second is under a cover. As is the space for your phone/glasses/etc. And before you start making fun of me for mentioning cup holders, I just mean places to store crap so it doesn’t fly around when you turn the wheel.

    He continues, “P.S. As a driving machine, I really preferred the 350Z to the last gen. Mustang GT. Is the 2010 Mustang that much better, or is the 370Z that little of an improvement?”

    I also preferred the 350Z to the last Mustang GT. And this 370Z is a very good car that any owner will be happy with. Trouble is that the 2010 Mustang is approaching the sublime.

    Carguy622 points out, “I’m surprised there was no mention of the tacky digital coolant temperature and gas ‘gauges.’ On a Prius or Civic it’s one thing. They seem out of place on what is purported to be a proper sports car.”

    I’ll do you one worse, there’s an MPG gauge. Remember those? My 1985 Pontiac had one. When you’re coasting you’re getting good MPGs and when your foot is to the floor you’re not. Who woulda thought?

    Carlisimo berates, “That was a somewhat vague review. You spent a lot of time on stuff on things we could find out anywhere, but when it comes to the things we depend on auto journalists for (how it feels) you only give us a short paragraph that says more about a different car than this one. Please give us more than that!”

    Could you forgive me?

    NK asks, “Does anyone know if Nissan is still using the god awful viscous limited slip diff they seem to love on the G or have they finally gone to a proper one that won’t require an overhaul every 30k miles.”

    Can’t comment on the reliability, but I think it’s the same LSD but with new gears. Worked pretty well in my 500 miles with the car.

    Yuppie writes, “I agree with SupaMan; I love the exhaust note of the VQ. To me, it has a hollow raspiness that is somewhat similar to a 911’s NA flat 6. (Please don’t flame me for comparing these two cars.)”

    You and SupaMan don’t know good exhaust notes. I prescribe driving a Lambo Gallardo LP560-4 through a tunnel at eight grand. Get going.

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    GM should work with their DI 3.6L V6 to compete with the VQ. The GM engine sounds much better and overall has better power distribution, but needs work to compete in the marketing world of horsepower.

    The problem with the Z remains that it looks like a teenager’s car, but it’s not close to a teenager’s budget. Better, more serious cars exist for the money.

  • avatar
    JG

    I can’t believe the 2010 Mustang is that much better! Good, I guess. Now just to pay off the 15 grand I’m upside down on my 2008 and trade ‘er in.

    I can believe I forgot how to spell. Maybe it’s time to start reading books again? Damn internets.

    ca36gtp: Better cars for similar money? I’d look at the MX-5, I guess. What do you have in mind?

    370Z: Nobody has mentioned those gross fangs in the grille opening. Gross!

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    How does this compare with the Infinity G37 coupe? Are they at all similar?

  • avatar

    Shocker in the final paragraph.

    My father had a 2003, but never drove it because it was essentially unlivable. Awful ride, noisy, and it just felt too heavy. Sounds like Nissan fixed the first two. But, on the other hand, it also sounds like the RX-8 remains a much better handling car. And that’s what he owns now, and does drive.

    This thing is launching into the worst sports car market since the late 1980s. I don’t see strong demand, except maybe for the first few days. The Miata revived the sports car market last time…maybe that should be a hint.

    On the reliability front, TrueDelta will have results 4-6 months after enough owners of the new 370Z join up. So if you know someone who does actually buy a sports car in the current economy:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    ZCline

    The G37 is not a fast four-door sedan, the G35 is. The G37 is only a coupe, the sedan still has the 3.5 liter engine.

  • avatar
    JG

    Seems the sedan gets the 3.7 for 2009? Mom’s buying one.

  • avatar
    ZCline

    Seems the sedan gets the 3.7 for 2009? Mom’s buying one.

    Possibly. Johnny have you driven it?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    ZCline: In fact I have. One of my very favorite cars of the past 12 months.

    http://www.autofiends.com/index.php/2008/11/2009-infiniti-g37-sport-6mt-fiend-vs-fiend/

  • avatar
    ZCline

    I stand (sit) corrected! I never understood why the coupe got the 3.7 for a year, then the sedan, considering the sedan was redesigned as well. Exclusivity? You’d think if anything, the Z would get it first …

  • avatar
    minibee

    You’re kidding about that mustang being sublime right? I mean this z is a REAL sports car as every other reviewer on the planet seems to understand.Phenomenal grip, a beautiful exterior,a massively improved interior , a stout and powerful and RELIABLE engine, not to mention build quality and engineering that SHAMES a mustang.GET A CLUE!

  • avatar
    ktm

    An true enthusiast would know better than to quote 0-60 mph times as a measure of performance, especially when compared AWD to RWD vehicles. What about the quarter mile? Trap speed? 50 to 70 mph blasts? It’s a shame you fell into that pit.

    I really like the 370z lines over the 350z. If you look at a 240z and 370z side by side, you can see where the took their styling cues. In particular, the roof line no longer has that “French curve” and is sloped similarly to that of the 240z. The rear quarter windows also pay homage to its great(240)-great(260)-great(280)-great(280zx)-great(300zx z31)-great(300zx z32)-great (350z)-grandpa. I think that’s right…. The curve of the front hood shares some similarities as well. You have to disregard the lines of the car below the belt-line.

    The exhaust note is obnoxious. I owned a 2003 350z (Le Mans Sunset) and a 2005 Infiniti FX35. Both cars shared the same damn exhaust sound and it chill-inspiring it was not (more of a “bluh” shudder). I’d like to see a return to the in-line 6 (L28/RB25/RB26/etc.).

    A few folks have stuck the VQ35 into 240zs with great success (along with LS1-LS6; BMW V-12s; 7MGTEs; 1 and 2JZTs – the list goes on).

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Minibee: I will get a clue as soon as you admit that reliability has never been, nor will ever be, a factor in determining a car’s sports carness.

    As for build quality, I saw lots and lots of exposed, fraying electric tape in each engine bay. Of course both cars were “Preproduction,” so…

    KTM: You caught me — I’m a fake enthusiast

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Jonny, thanks; I think you’ve explained a lot of it in the comments section, namely that it feels like a sedan. I’m not sure what that means quantitatively, but it makes some intuitive sens. The 350Z really woke up when given Nismo suspension parts (and became easier to drive at the limit, according to the late Sport Compact Car), so I’ll be waiting to see if something similar happens with the 370Z.

  • avatar
    ZCline

    Interesting comments. I actually liked the 350Z exhaust note! In terms of aftermarket suspension, myself and some friends both agreed we wanted the stock sound, but louder.

  • avatar
    minibee

    “a sports car’s carness” or something like that. Well if quality isn’t an issue then sure the ‘stang is just great .After all, it sounds like a hoonmobile should. It’s become fashionable on this site and a couple others to praise these throwbacks as somehow “right”. y’know, the sound, the neanderthal styling the overly flexible chassis, hell the sheer size of it makes it somehow “right”. Well pal I went down to my local Ford dealer to have a looksee at the latest throwback ‘stang. And as Loyd bentsen once said,”I know cars and that cheap plastic thing there with the empty engine bay and the multi-color strobing cupholders ain’t a sportscar.” Maybe you should change the name of the site to The pc fashionable ziegiest about pony cars or TPCZFAPC.

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    @minibee

    Since when is the Mustang V8 an unreliable engine? You’re kidding, right? Get a clue.

    By the way, did anyone else notice that the URL for this review says review-2009-nissan-270z? Misplaced some cc’s, eh?

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Jonny Lieberman:
    0-60 in 5.1 seconds and mid-13 quarters are nothing to sneeze at. But the cabin is so damn quiet that it just doesn’t seem very quick. So… yeah.

    So 3 out 5 stars for performance because it doesn’t “seem” quick? I take issue with this kind of logic.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    Got a few more questions. Is there enough headroom for taller drivers? I couldn’t fit in the 350z. And while comparing it to the Mustang GT, how about fuel economy? And more importantly, resale value? Reliability? Which company is going to be there in 2 or 3 years?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Private track outside of Vegas? This sounds like where the Lotus driving school is in Pahrump – where the chicken ranches are.

    But you didn’t say anything about Nissan providing any other ‘services’.

  • avatar
    minibee

    Since when is it unreliable? Since i owned 2 of them in my youth(before I could appreciate quality) and both were unreliable. Count on a rebuild between 80-100k ,something you won’t have to do to the Nissan untill 250. I think you’re the one who needs a clue. As for Johnny who thinks the particular schadenfreude of pony cars is “cool” it’s as if he doesn’t even understand the object he’s comparing this z to. As if an alien landed on earth and couldn’t tell the difference between a DC3 and an f16. Of course the alien WOULD be able to tell which was more evolved. That’s the gap between the Ford and the Z. One of these is of this century one isn’t. I’ll take that 370z object over that warmed over muscle car.

  • avatar

    The pic of the car’s side with the blown-up size is my new wallpaper. Thanks, guys.

    It looks pretty good in blue, I might add. If I get a 370Z, it’s going to either be in blue or black.

  • avatar
    minibee

    Btw, the real comparison is with the Cayman S. One PORSCHE mag has already done so and declared it a tie. Nobody in their right mind would compare a Mustang with a Cayman. You compare sports cars with sports cars right?

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    Thanks for your excellent comment, Jonny. I was very much interested in all of those questions, though the sheer volume of them was intended to be a heads-up to Robert Farago about the ridiculousness of the existing word count limit. I’ve no doubt you’d have covered much of that ground if you’d had the space.


    Those of you deriding the Mustang may want to note that the distinction between IRS and a live axle is only obvious on bumpy roads. On the glass of a racetrack and in better-maintained areas in this country, it isn’t that significant. If the axle is battened down against lateral movement with a Panhard rod or equivalent, the giveaway is even more subtle.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    minibee:

    All the attributes you mentioned for the Z:

    “phenomenal grip, a beautiful exterior,a massively improved interior , a stout and powerful and RELIABLE engine…” can be applied to the new Mustang GT as well.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that Z’s have a “build quality” that shame a Mustang. I haven’t driven the 370′s, but the 350Z had sub-par quality for it’s price class – roughly equal to the 04-09 Mustangs. If you ask Michael Karesh, you’ll also find out that Mustang’s have essentially had bulletproof reliability in his survey results. I’m not sure what the stats on the Z’s are, but given the stellar track record of the VQ engine I expect that reliability for both cars will be roughly equal. Both are known for their reliability and low-cost maintenance.

    Your qualifying criteria for what makes a “sports car” is pretty bizarre. I’d agree the Mustang isn’t one (whatever it is that distinguishes a pony car from a sports car? is it that the cup-holders must not have lights?), but they don’t go around a track any slower than a Z (at least the 350′s) if the tires are equal. But in real world driving the S197 Mustang wasn’t as good inurves compared to a Z, but it was also much more livable in daily driving despite the live-axle. That’s a trade-off that some people will prefer.

  • avatar
    minibee

    So what are my qualifying criteria for what makes a sportscar? Liveability isn’t one of them. The 350z was a bit heavy to be a really great sportscar The 370z is smaller lighter handles better and by all accounts( Except for jonny’s) is a REALLY great sportscar. I have no doubts that it is as the 350z is well known as a damn good drive. Switchable cupholder lights aren’t part of my criterium for a great sportscar ,but if they turn you on ,fine.But as you say, the Ford isn’t a sportscar so those strobing cupholders become more apropos no? And I never said the mustang wasn’t a good choice for those looking for that type of a car. As you say ,it’s not a sportscar. Some of my “bizarre” sportscar choices include the Z the Cayman The Corvette,911, Lambos ferraris etc . Sorry no mustangs. Oh wait.. we already agree on that. Nobody in their right mind would call that car “sublime” in any sense of the word.

  • avatar
    SWA737

    As if an alien landed on earth and couldn’t tell the difference between a DC3 and an f16. Of course the alien WOULD be able to tell which was more evolved. That’s the gap between the Ford and the Z. One of these is of this century one isn’t.

    Actually, both the F16 and the DC3 are rooted firmly in the previous century. DC3′s first flight was in 1935, F16′s in 1974 or 75 (I’m too lazy to google the exact date)

    I do appreciate the point about the relative level of sophistication of each design, can’t comment as to how it applies to the 370 vs 2010 ‘Stang, haven’t driven either.

    No question the 350Z was the more evolved piece vs the previous gen Mustang.

  • avatar
    barberoux

    I don’t like it. It seems bloated and lacking grace. The little details like the door handles and the kink in the rear lights just enhance the bland edema of the base design. The gaping front looks like something is missing. The interior colors are OK but it still seems to be loud and garish. Those overdone interior door handles and the look-at-me gauges are trying too hard. I didn’t like the previous versions and this one doesn’t do much for me at all. It’s a middle management woman’s car.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Mr. Lieberman, can you not get a proper manual with the better brakes, bigger wheels, etc? That would probably be a dealbreaker for me.

    That said (and I should mention that I have never driven a Z or a Mustang) I would never take a Mustang over a Z, especially the 370. And I happen to like the way they sound. But if I can’t get good brakes with a manual then I suppose I’ll just keep dreaming.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    I do appreciate the point about the relative level of sophistication of each design, can’t comment as to how it applies to the 370 vs 2010 ‘Stang, haven’t driven either.

    Nor has anyone else posting here except Mr. Lieberman. That’s what makes minibee’s comments so hilarious to me. He is walking a thin line on flaming the author of the article when there is no way he could possibly know what either car drives like, feels like, or is more liveable on a day to day basis, which is how 99.9999% of either car will be used. As already pointed out, I do not know how either one drives as they aren’t available to the general public, but neither the 350Z nor the current Mustang is a serious track car (other than possibly the special racing Mustang). In those terms, if you want a relatively cheap “sports car” you want an RX8 or possibly an S2000. I haven’t driven an S2000, but an RX8 inspires confidence. I never felt like I was out of control no matter how hard I pushed it, and most of the reviews I have read where the RX8 was taken on the track seem to agree with that assesment. Despite the low power numbers, the handling makes it a true track car that won’t break your bank and that you can use for day to day driving as well.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    both the F16 and the DC3 are rooted firmly in the previous century. DC3’s first flight was in 1935, F16’s in 1974 or 75 (I’m too lazy to google the exact date)

    The population of TTAC is dying to know: is a DC3 better than an F16? And how do they compare to a Crown Victoria?

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    That said (and I should mention that I have never driven a Z or a Mustang) I would never take a Mustang over a Z, especially the 370.

    How can you say that never having driven either one? When you are ready to buy a car, I suggest you decide on a particular style, get an idea of each models reliability, and then test drive the ones that aren’t eliminated by a complete lack of reliability. Go in with an open mind and you might be surprised at what you find.

  • avatar
    barberoux

    I prefer the Camry to the DC3 since the DC3 doesn’t have an Ipod jack. There’s a great scene in “Quantum of Solace” featuring a DC3.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    The population of TTAC is dying to know: is a DC3 better than an F16? And how do they compare to a Crown Victoria?

    The responsiveness of the DC3 is certainly less than the Crown Vic, and the Crown Vic is a much better choice for towing than an F16. The Crown Vic also wins in terms of maintenance cost, fuel economy, and overall cost of ownership. I also like the clean lines of the Crown Vic. Finally, have you ever tried to park a DC3 or an F16? The Crown Vic wins there as well no contest. All in all, the Crown Vic is the clear winner (And don’t even get me started on that bland-mobile, Toyota Camry).

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Nothing special about the exterior but when you get inside it’s a different story.

    What’s wrong with Nissan? Their cars are just too heavy. I feel like driving a tank and the freakin 1st and 2ng gear are just so lame.

    My friend drives the older model and time attack with it.
    I also drove it nothing special.

    Just imagine just like driving a 2 door tank with a Navigation system.
    that’s how I felt inside. I felt like making a hole on the floor to help the car go faster with my feet.

    This car hits 0-60 in 5 seconds. Well, My 2008 Lancer hit 0-60 in 7 seconds with no modification. 2 seconds slower compared to this Z.

    That what I meant it’s slow for a 2 door sports car!!!!! compared to a econo box

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Mustang for 30k? Wait for the rebates and dealer competition to kick in, and you’ll probably be able to pick up two for that price.

    Lumbergh21 :
    December 17th, 2008 at 11:20 am

    You touch on it your review, but the 350Z had a godawful interior layout. How well did they fix it? They added a glove box and spiffed up the gauge cluster, but what was your overall appraisal of the interior? Is it usable now? (They really need to allow longer car reviews.) The interior of the 350Z was the deal breaker for me and my wife when we got a new car back in ‘04.

    P.S. As a driving machine, I really preferred the 350Z to the last gen. Mustang GT. Is the 2010 Mustang that much better, or is the 370Z that little of an improvement?

    I had the chance to see a preproduction 370Z in person, up close, before the LA auto show. At a glance, they fixed a number of the complaints that seemed to be common about the 350Z. It doesn’t look as dowdy, the strut bar no longer cuts into the cargo area, the interior looks a bit nicer and the oil temperature gauge should be more useful than the oil pressure gauge in the 350. Can’t comment on the ergonomics since I didn’t sit in the car.

    Michael Ayoub :
    December 17th, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    By the way, did anyone else notice that the URL for this review says review-2009-nissan-270z? Misplaced some cc’s, eh?

    I just did. It’s not too far off–My speeding ticket says my black 350Z is a white 280Z.

  • avatar
    konaforever


    BEAT :
    December 18th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Nothing special about the exterior but when you get inside it’s a different story.

    What’s wrong with Nissan? Their cars are just too heavy. I feel like driving a tank and the freakin 1st and 2ng gear are just so lame.

    My friend drives the older model and time attack with it.
    I also drove it nothing special.

    Just imagine just like driving a 2 door tank with a Navigation system.
    that’s how I felt inside. I felt like making a hole on the floor to help the car go faster with my feet.

    This car hits 0-60 in 5 seconds. Well, My 2008 Lancer hit 0-60 in 7 seconds with no modification. 2 seconds slower compared to this Z.

    That what I meant it’s slow for a 2 door sports car!!!!! compared to a econo box

    I don’t get what you’re saying here at all. Since when is 0-60 in 5 seconds slow for a 2 door sports car? This car goes for around 30k or so. What cars for 30k or under do it much faster than that?

    Also, what’s wrong with 1st and 2nd gear?

  • avatar
    konaforever

    barberoux :
    December 18th, 2008 at 8:44 am

    It’s a middle management woman’s car.

    You’re thinking of the G35/G37.

    I just don’t see how it’s a middle management woman’s car. Why would they car if it can pull 1g’s on the skidpad or rev match automatically?

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Lumbergh21,

    I’ll never purchase a Mustang. Even if someone gives me one, I may not keep it. I’m just not a fan of the Mustang, despite all of its merits (and I concede, there are many with this new one).

    Likewise (and, of course, I’ve never driven either, and likely never will) I’m not a fan of the 270 mph (estimated) updated SSC Ultimate Aero, however, I’m a humongous fan of the Bugatti Veyron, despite its lower top speed.

  • avatar
    gimmeamanual

    Why has Nissan’s power continued to go up, but torque does not? My SE-R is something like 260/252 hp/tq. Are they hitting the dreaded “diminishing returns”?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Unfortunately for piston heads, quiet is desirable by a much larger market. You can always add your own exhaust if you want more noise.

    I walked away from the first generation, and I have to say that the noise was a big factor. It was loud without being melodious at all.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    gimme,

    I believe that it’s easier to add HP to an existing engine than torque. There are definitely better folks here to get that answer from though.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    You can always add your own exhaust if you want more noise.

    But not if you want the low throaty growl that the V8 Mustang produces. For that kind of goodness, you also need to get the exhaust headers just right.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    B-Rad:

    I’m just saying that rejecting something whether it be a car or some “weird” foriegn food dish out of hand without trying it can result in a person missing out.

  • avatar
    yellow_04

    Its sad to hear so many people talk about “modern sports cars”. Seems nobody here remembers real sports cars anymore, ones that weighed about 300-700 lbs less and actually drove well. These fat pigs they sell now are just junk compromise mobiles. Actual sports cars are about the feel and soul of the car, very few modern cars have any soul left to them. Im still waiting for a beautiful, luxurious, powerful, turbocharged, 2800lb, FR, coupe to hit the market. Havent been able to buy one for 13 years now. Hoped the 370z wouldnt be a pig, guess I hoped for too much.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Lumbergh21,

    That’s a good point. I’m not against driving a Mustang, though. But I don’t like the idea owning one.

  • avatar
    konaforever

    yellow_04 :
    December 18th, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Its sad to hear so many people talk about “modern sports cars”. Seems nobody here remembers real sports cars anymore, ones that weighed about 300-700 lbs less and actually drove well. These fat pigs they sell now are just junk compromise mobiles. Actual sports cars are about the feel and soul of the car, very few modern cars have any soul left to them. Im still waiting for a beautiful, luxurious, powerful, turbocharged, 2800lb, FR, coupe to hit the market. Havent been able to buy one for 13 years now. Hoped the 370z wouldnt be a pig, guess I hoped for too much.

    All cars weighed that much back then. You’re longing for a car that can’t be built these days due to safety changes.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Exactly, most sporting cars are proportionally heavier, as ALL cars are heavier. You can’t take cars from “back then” and compare it weight to weight to modern cars.

    By this standard, the 370Z and even the Mustang are relatively lightweight for their classes. By no means are they pigs.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    The first and second gear it takes time to accelerate.
    If you drove the Z you will know what I am talking about.

    If this nissan is a sport car it should be faster doing 0-60 in 5 seconds
    Compared to my $16,750 Econobox Lancer.

    This Nissan should do better for a price tag of 30 grand.

    What car is faster than 30 grand?

    first of all my CAR will be faster than this car soon and You can test drive the Lancer Ralliart or VW GTi.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Comparing a mustang and to a Z is like comparing Versace (mustang) and DKNY (Z)

  • avatar
    konaforever

    BEAT :
    December 19th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    The first and second gear it takes time to accelerate.
    If you drove the Z you will know what I am talking about.

    If this nissan is a sport car it should be faster doing 0-60 in 5 seconds
    Compared to my $16,750 Econobox Lancer.

    This Nissan should do better for a price tag of 30 grand.

    What car is faster than 30 grand?

    first of all my CAR will be faster than this car soon and You can test drive the Lancer Ralliart or VW GTi.

    Um, I own a 350Z. I know what 1st and 2nd gear feel like and what you said makes no sense.

    Also, Neither of those of those cars are faster than the 350Z. They’re both 0-60 in 6 second cars and mid 14′s in 1/4 mile. The 350Z with the VQ HR engine does it in the mid 13′s.

    I’m pretty sure that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    “The Ralliart outweighs these rivals by a couple hundred pounds, though, so you expect it to feel slower. Yet it doesn’t, and there’s astonishingly little turbo lag besides. Mitsu product planners expect it to match the WRX and MS3 in the acceleration department, meaning 0-60 mph in 6 seconds and a quarter-mile time in the mid-14-second range. “

  • avatar

    I think Road & Track mentioned in their first drive article in the January issue that they got a 5.1 second sprint to 60, then added that this was done at an altitude of about 1500 feet above sea level. If it was on sea level, then whoever did the 4.7 second sprint to 60 would be about right.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    konaforever:

    I’m pretty sure that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    I think you’re right. A few months ago I got in an argument with him when he said his stock Lancer could outrace a Mazdaspeed3 on a road course, and that he had done as much a few weeks earlier.

    Do I think a 350Z is a great car? No, the interior is just too bad to forgive, but I’m not about to say 0-60 in 5 seconds is slow.

  • avatar
    grifonik

    Dear Nissan; Tail Ligts Division;

    Whoever is responsible for the tail lights on the 350Z and 370Z needs to fired. Immediately. You have taken something beautiful and ruined it. TWICE now. I hereby dub your style “Wartus Touch”.

    May Santa have mercy on you soul for what you’ve done.

  • avatar
    Hwanung

    gimmeamanual :
    December 18th, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Why has Nissan’s power continued to go up, but torque does not? My SE-R is something like 260/252 hp/tq. Are they hitting the dreaded “diminishing returns”?

    You can only create so much magic with so much displacement, as you’ll need more cubes or more boost.

    As far as complaints on the acceleration of the Z, I’m pretty a lot can be attributed to the gearing. I’ve driven a ’06, and I’ve noticed that although the engine IS torquey, the gearing still feels too long IMHO. I don’t think this new Z would be any different. The long gearing felt very American, but Z is not making American torque (320 lbft from a stang vs 260-274 lb in a Z).

    This lack of low end grunt (relative to the gearing) is being sacrificed for for better top end (more rpm, more HP), as the numbers will show that the Z has lost torque over the years. In ’03, it started with 274 lb ft @ 4800 rpm, relative to 260 lb ft in ’06.

    And please don’t get your butt hurt, this is just for sake of conversation. I’m sure this RELATIVE lack of torque (’96 – 283 lb ft @ 3600 rpm from Edmunds) is also why this car isn’t a whole lot faster than the last 300zx (as pointed out by dolo54).

    I think the car would be a lot more fun with a shorter rear end gear. But that eats the gas mileage…

  • avatar
    sonomajoe

    FWIW, I drove the 370 at the same event as JL (Hi, Johnny – I was the short guy with the white hair and beard, not the tall one). He’s an outstanding writer and I don’t doubt his track cred. The issue seems to be that he just didn’t connect with this car. To wit:

    I don’t know. I should be jumping up and down. On paper, the 370Z is a mean, corner-eating bastard. But something’s amiss

    The Z is an exceptional track car, at least for my skill level. As JL rightly pointed out, it has tons of grip; however, when rotation does occur, it is predictable and manageable.
    (An aside, I was driving like a maniac, too, and got both wheels off; fortunately, it happened near the pit entrance and I sneaked off the track, no flag ;-) ).

    As far as it feeling too sedan-like, I will say that sometimes softer setups work better. The Z’s suspension is, indeed, compliant on the road, but as JL neglected to mention, body lean is virtually non-existent under high g’s.

    Check out the R&T review, in which it compares very nicely with the Cayman S (still my favorite car, BTW, but priced beyond consideration).

    One final point: forget 0-60 times. They are meaningless. Although I do agree with hwanung – I’d love to drive this car with shorter gearing.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Mr.Konaforever yes you owe a Nissan Z but it doesn’t mean you know everthing about your car.

    If you still don’t ME get Itmeans I rather by a $16,000 car than a $30,000 car that doesn’t really do anything just make loud noise. The LOUD noise coming from the muffler..

    IT HAS NO TORQUE!!!

    As for a Lumbergh 21. I know what I am talking about because 3 of friends drive their Nissan on Time Attack. Experienced counts not just on pen and paper explanations.

    Read Hwanug’s he explained quite humble.

  • avatar
    konaforever

    BEAT :
    December 23rd, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Mr.Konaforever yes you owe a Nissan Z but it doesn’t mean you know everthing about your car.

    If you still don’t ME get Itmeans I rather by a $16,000 car than a $30,000 car that doesn’t really do anything just make loud noise. The LOUD noise coming from the muffler..

    IT HAS NO TORQUE!!!

    Um K. *Walks away slowly*

  • avatar
    squirrelman

    The 4.7 0-60 was clocked by motortrend on their inside line segment, you can catch it on youtube. Does anyone have the skidpad numbers on this thing?

  • avatar
    sonomajoe

    Does anyone have the skidpad numbers on this thing?

    R&T has it at 0.97.

  • avatar

    I am about to replace my 2004 Accord SE M6T and I went car shopping in Savannah over the weekend. First stop was a test drive in the new Z, second was to the Ford Dealership to drive the Bullitt. The 2010 Stang is not available yet, so test drove the closest I could.

    Verdict: Each car has its own personality and the pro’s and con’s between each car are so balanced that personality may end up being the deal breaker. Inside ergonomics cannot be compared as the Bullit does not even come close to the 2010, but based on the pics, the Stang probably has the more mature ergonomics. There were two glaring differences, the exhaust note in the Bullitt was sweet, sweet, sweet, and the Z’s did not compare in any way in the satisfaction level. The other difference is that Savannah’s roads can be a little bumpy in places, taking a sweeping turn off the Harry Truman Parkway, in the Mustang, on less than perfect pavement scared the willies off me. Don’t like that live axle. The Z was planted and took the corner with confidence and at a much faster speed.

    I have made no decision yet, waiting for the 2010 Stang to come out, but if it were a Bullitt vs Z choice, the Z would take the edge, only just though.

  • avatar
    SueW

    I disagree with the review. I own a 2004 350Z 6-speed and love it. It goes plenty fast for me, thank you. I grew up in Chevrolet’s, my dad was a salesman for 30 years and you couldn’t GIVE ME a mustang. I have had 2 Camaro’s in the past and my Z is nothing like a “4th generation Camaro”. I have seen the new Z and don’t really care for the new look, especially the headlights and tail lights. The review also mentions that “the new Z now has a glovebox!”-mine has one, it is behind the passenger seat.


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