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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Amazing rev-matching system
Car and Driver
Locked and loaded with a 332-horsepower, 3.7-liter VQ37VHR V-6
Carves corners with poise exhibited by cars that cost thousands more
With its latest round of engineering enhancements, the 2009 Nissan 370Z has gone from a capable performance machine to, in the words of Car and Driver, a vehicle that is, "at this price, possibly the best sports car on the planet." Most of that praise is due to the increased performance of the 370Z Nissan, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com certainly notice the gain.
Both trim levels of the 2009 Nissan 370Z come "locked and loaded with a 332-horsepower, 3.7-liter VQ37VHR V-6" engine, according to reviewers at Motor Trend. The bump in output from 3.5 to 3.7 liters explains the difference in badging between last year's 350Z and the current Nissan 370Z. The extra two-tenths of a liter provide some impressive performance gains, with Car and Driver reporting that the 2009 Nissan 370Z will hit "60 mph in 4.9 seconds." Reviewers generally appreciate the new engine, although Motor Trend points out that the Nissan 370Z's "VQ engine, while more powerful and polished than its predecessor, still exhibits a coarseness near redline. Further, that coarseness rears its unwelcome head in the gearbox and pedals." On the positive side, Consumer Guide calls the 370Z Nissan "smooth and strong" when accelerating, despite the fact that it "doesn't jump off the line like some sporty cars."
The 2009 Nissan 370Z is available with either a traditional "6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic" transmission, according to Consumer Guide, but Nissan does have a few tricks up its sleeve for the manual. In order to help aspiring racers master the difficult task of heel-toe downshifting, Jalopnik reports that, when downshifting, the Nissan 370Z "uses the ABS sensors to read the speed of the tires, compares that data to the speed of the engine and the gear being selected, and then actuates the electronic throttle to bring the revs up to the appropriate level," which guarantees "perfectly rev-matched downshifts every time." Autoblog is impressed enough to call it "nearly flawless," but for die-hard traditionalists, they state it can be disabled "by pressing the S-Sport button above the stick." Other than that nifty new feature, the transmissions are pretty standard, and Consumer Guide reviewers claim the manual "has smooth clutch action, though the shifter is a bit notchy," while "the automatic is smooth, but it can be slow to downshift at times."
Fuel economy for the powerful V-6 coupe is quite respectable, at an EPA-rated 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, but Consumer Guide reminds interested shoppers that the Nissan 370Z "requires premium-grade gas."
Given its pedigree, one would expect the 370Z Nissan to offer great handling, which it does. An unexpected benefit, according to Consumer Guide, is that the ride quality is "excellent for a sporty car, particularly with the standard 18-inch wheels." TheAutoChannel.com reports that the Nissan 370Z "is a very friendly car on the road and on the track," while the "handling is firm, which is ideal for excellent cornering, but not too firm." Automobile Magazine adds that "handling and braking enhancements are more substantial" and claims "there is no wasted motion when you wheel the steering to enter a bend." Automobile Magazine also remarks that "the variable-assist rack and pinion is quick to act, free of friction, and perfectly weighted." In terms of stopping power, Motor Trend says that the "brakes, with a variable-ratio pedal, are stout and easy to modulate."
The 2009 Nissan 370Z earns top marks dynamically, and even novice drivers can feel like pros with the new rev-matching feature.