Brakes and Blips and Revs, Oh My! - 2009 Nissan 370Z Touring Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan 370Z Long-Term Road Test

2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Brakes and Blips and Revs, Oh My!

May 21, 2009


In a fortuitous twist of fate, I scored the keys to out 370Z last night, and in the brief time I spent behind the wheel I have some observations as well as a simple maintenance issue.

Accelerating off the line with a bit more aggression than needed, I noticed that the "BRAKE" light appeared in the left instrument pod, then disappeared a few seconds after feathering the throttle. This was repeatable at every green light I encountered. Fortunately, I've come across this before in one of my own rides (when pulling serious lateral G's instead of longitudinal, though). My diagnosis: slightly low brake fluid level.

Another issue that caught my eye was the "VDC OFF" light remained lit during my morning commute. The VDC relies on the brake system to maintain stability, so I'm assuming this is related to the low brake fluid level. The light went away after I shut-down and restarted the engine (maybe it's powered by Microsoft?).
Pop the hood, find the brake fluid resevoir, and there's it is -- the level's right between the high and low marks. I'll bring this to the attention of the Mikes and hopefully this is the actual culprit of the intermittent BRAKE light.

Blips and Revs:
I've spent the better part of the last decade honing my heel-toe downshift craft, and, I can confidently say, "Yeah, I've mastered it." I'm also fairly proficient at traditional, and more complicated double-clutch downshifts in vintage racecars. With that self-aggrandizement out of the way (bow down to the master of soon-to-be obsolete skills!), I am completely enamoured with the Z's Synchro RevMatch system.

I challenged myself to do it better and failed. **sigh** I've been replaced by a machine...but wait, something's not adding up here. A good heel-toe downshift requires a strong throttle blip that shoots the tach past the point of the matched revs of the next lowest gear. The clutch isn't re-engaged until after the revs begin to fall.

Here's what I discovered about the Z that makes me feel better about being beat by a computer: With the Synchro RevMatch off, I executed the typical heel-toe and noticed that the revs didn't fall as quickly as I'd expected. Using my normal downshift tempo, I was dumping the clutch while the revs were too high. So the solution was to pause before clutch re-engagement (not at all racy), or attempt to blip precisely to where the revs are in the next lowest gear (difficult, but not impossible).

I now contend that Synchro RevMatch is necessary in the Z because of the drivetrain's inability to affect a proper heel-toe downshift without the aid of a computer. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it, anyways.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 6,533 miles

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