2009 Nissan 370Z: The Conundrum
September 04, 2009
Our 2009 Nissan 370Z leaves me perplexed. On one hand, I love what it represents: a great handling, rear-wheel-drive sports car with 300-plus horsepower and a price tag that starts around $30,000. I owned a couple Honda CRXs back in the day, and to me the Z represents that same level of elemental two-seat fun, just on a more grown-up level. It should be a car that I lust after.
The problem is that I don't.
The unrefined vibrations and noises that creep into the cabin past 5,000 rpm sour my mood every time. We sometimes bandy about the term "deal breaker" to refer to a car's fault that's so significant that it alone could cause a person not to buy that car. The 3.7-liter V6's NVH would qualify for me.
Putting myself in Nissan's shoes, I'm not sure what else the company could have done with the 370Z redesign. Marketing probably dictated more horsepower. Cost concerns probably ruled out anything like a turbocharged V6. So that leaves you with ... yep, a big-displacement V6. That's a conundrum for you.
I remember reading a first-look story a while back about the current BMW M3. In it, BMW said it felt that it had taken the previous straight-6 (S54) design as far as it could. A V8 was the only way forward. I guess BMW was fortunate enough that there was enough of a price cushion to go that direction.
I give Nissan a lot of credit for maintaining the Z heritage. The 370 is a really good car. It just deserves a better engine.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor