2009 Nissan 370Z Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Bumped

February 01, 2010

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Above is a taste of what the road that I live on looks like. That stretch of tarmac shown looks gnarly, but you don't get a sense of how epically bad it is until you've driven it in the Z. It's like getting punched in the chin by Mike Tyson and watching Shrek Forever After in 3-D, both at the same time. After getting my bones jolted from their sockets during my first few passes, I learned to take it real slow over that patch. Like, barely moving slow.

Otherwise, the Z was a blast. Exceptionally controlled, with superb handling. Just watch out for the rough spots.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 18,755 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: NFS vs. GT5 vs. FM3

January 08, 2010

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What the hell is taking so long for Gran Turismo 5 to come out? They built Rome faster. Like you, I was hoping for Santa to bring me a copy, but no, now Sony says it'll be summer before the fun begins.

Meanwhile, I've been playing a lot of Need For Speed. Yeah, I know. It's a game for wanks. It's arcade-y. Not realistic enough. But it's fun and Kevin Smith our Editorial Director is heavy into Forza 3 so I keep from playing it for political reasons that I really shouldn't go into here. Plus, I can drive a silver 2009 Nissan 370Z just like our long-term car on nights when I've gotten home in some other, maybe, less interesting ride.

Not that the 370Z is exclusive to NFS. The GT5 North American "Time Trial Challenge" competition involves playing through a demo that has you race a Nissan 370Z on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

You drive the course in two time trial events, aiming for the best combined lap time. And if you're really good, you could be the one U.S. resident or the one Canadian resident (one of each) to win VIP packages to the 2010 Indy 500. Check out this demo video, then tell me which game you're into: GT5 or NFS or FM3. Or, do you prefer to go out and actually drive real cars?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Go Ahead, Name a Better V6 in This Price Range

January 05, 2010

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I'll grant you this: The 332-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 in our 2009 Nissan 370Z serenades you with all kinds of noise and vibration when you ride close to its 7,500-rpm redline.

But I would still take this V6 over almost every other six-cylinder in this price range, because like it or lump it, the VQ-series V6 is athletic. There's enough torque to get the car out of the hole in a hurry and power builds noticeably as you work up to higher engine speeds. This engine isn't about having a nice-and-easy flat torque band; you're building up to something.

I just can't get excited about the 306-hp 3.8-liter V6 in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the 304-hp 3.6-liter V6 in the Chevrolet Camaro. They sound pretty good. They have nice, flat torque bands. But there's no athleticism in the way they rev, and if you're driving a car with two doors, why scrimp on that?

Of course, the twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 3.0-liter inline-6 in the BMW 135i gives me pause. It has that perfectly flat, boring torque curve I've railed against, but it's so powerful and so smooth, and I so can't be blamed for liking it...

And maybe there's an opportunity here for the 2011 Mustang and its 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 if it can combine genuine performance character with a little refinement than our Z's brutish V6.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 18,047 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: 15,000-mile Service

December 16, 2009

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We dropped our 2009 Nissan 370Z at Santa Monica Nissan for its 15,000-mile scheduled service. Edmunds Maintenance Guide prepared us for fees near $150. And sure enough, our bill for the oil change and various inspections came to $147.85. Meanwhile, parts were ordered to address a reluctant-to-open rear hatch. We expect those to arrive in a couple of weeks.

Total Cost: $147.85

Days Out of Service: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 17,038 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Blood, Sweat and Oil

September 25, 2009

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This morning our long-term 2009 Nissan 370Z drank an entire quart of 5W-30. Total cost: $3.59.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 12,682 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Clutch Pedal Problem

September 11, 2009

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The clutch pedal in our long-term 2009 Nissan 370Z has developed a notch (not quite a clunk), or maybe it's a hitch, in the first inch or so of its travel. You feel it almost immediately every time you depress the pedal. Not good.

We'll keep you posted.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Damage Update

September 09, 2009

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We reported a few weeks ago that our Nissan 370Z was clipped by a parallel parker with perpendicular depth perception. A hectic schedule meant we had to live with these blemishes for several weeks. But no longer. We made an appointment at our local body shop and soon the Z will be looking good as new.

Little scuffs like this are a fact of life. It isn't uncommon for folks to wait months before repairing similar damage to their cars. Others never repair body damage.

Now, thanks to the anonymity of the internet it's your chance to confess. Are you the driver that must always have a pristine ride? Or are you the driver that considers cosmetic details trivial, allowing dings and dents to multiply unchecked?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 12,118 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: The Dipstick Lover's Sports Car

September 09, 2009

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Rejoice dipstick lovers, the Nissan 370Z has one. And it's even well placed for easy access. It's that yellow thing for those of you out there that own a brand new BMW and have never seen a dipstick before. It's for checking your engine's oil level. Yes, manually.

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Pitfalls of Street Parking

August 17, 2009

I parked our 370Z on the street just up from place on Friday night. I don't have off street parking at my place.

I had some laundry to do on Sunday afternoon, so I walked down the street to the car and popped the hatch. To my horror I saw these scratches on the rear rear bumper:

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The car parked behind me didn't have any silver paint on it's front bumper so it could have been violated by any number of cars in the last 36 hours. Nobody left a note saying they're sorry or I'll pay for the damage to your car. To you, mystery parallel parking villian, I say:

"I CURSE YOUR MOTHER'S NAME! I WILL KICK YOUR DOG! MAY YOUR BUMPERS FALL OFF AND YOUR TIRES BE FLAT!"

Now I know how it feels to live in Chicago, New York or Boston as a car owner. There ain't a pretty bumper in any of those cities.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 10,445 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: DIY Brake Pad and Rotor Change, Part 2

August 08, 2009

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Midway through Part 1, we finished removing our 2009 Nissan 370Z's front brake pads and diverted you here. Now it's time to take the caliper off so we can get at the rotor. There's one simple rule associated with taking a caliper off for this purpose: don't break open any hydraulic lines!

In order to ensure that doesn't happen, the first thing to do is locate the rubber brake hoses and the hard brake lines and make a game plan. This is the first time I've worked on a 370Z, so we're learning this together.

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: The 10,000 Mile Post

August 05, 2009

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Holy Deja Vu, Batman. Seems like I already made a milestone post on our 2009 Nissan 370Z, didn't I?

Yes, it's true. I was in the car at 5,000 miles, too. Now, I don't drive this (or any other single car in the LT fleet) that regularly. You ever sit down to watch a TV show you haven't seen in 4 months, only to discover it's the same episode you saw the last itme? This is kinda like that.

On a lighter note, Mike and I changed the front brake pads and rotors on this very car last night. Before you go blaming the car, we have to 'fess up by saying we think it's our fault. We're pretty sure we took the car to the track for testing too soon when the car was new and heat-cycled them too mercilessly. We made them stink and came home with heavily scored rotors, a mistake that shortened their life.

A full DIY blog on how to change pads and rotors on one of these will come in a couple of days. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here's a teaser that shows how close to the ragged edge with took these pads.

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: There's a Zit on My Fascia!

August 03, 2009

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There's a zit on the front bumper of the 2009 Nissan 370Z. Fortunately, and totally unlike real acne, it can only be seen in the near dark, with low-level light striking it at just the right angle.

In fact I've never seen it in daylight, including the time I shot this front 3/4 image not two days earlier. Heck, it's hard to see now, in the parking garage.

And I can find no misalignment, scuffs, paint scratches or other evidence to suggest this bump was the result of a bump on the bumper. Maybe someone sat on it while it was parked somewhere. I wish I knew how the parts fit together in there.


Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 9,865 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Transmission Replaced

July 23, 2009

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9 days after the initial failure, our 2009 Nissan 370z is back in service with a new transmission and a new clutch. There was no charge as there was no evidence of abnormal abuse. It is a sports car, remember.

While there, we had them replace the kick panel that had been kicked off. Again, this was covered under warranty.

I decided not to let this opportunity go to waste, so I picked up-- and paid $264.04 for-- a new set of front brake pads and rotors to replace our worn and scarred ones. Look for the blog post of Dan and I replacing them.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 3,944 miles.

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Transmission Replacement

July 15, 2009

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Last time we posted on our 2009 Nissan 370, it was on a tow truck entering the gates of Santa Monica Nissanwith a stuck transmission. Caroline hinted that she thought it was stuck in a gear, she was correct; it was stuck in third with no remedy. Well, Nissan SM called me Monday morning with good news: the issue was not our fault and would be covered under warranty. There was also some bad news: The transmission would need to be replaced (dealers rarely open transmissions, it's just not cost effective) and a replacement would not be available until Thursday.

We'll post more news if we get any, but for now, follow the jump for some pictures thanks to Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Stuck in Gear

July 13, 2009

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"Is that a new one?" the lady standing on the sidewalk asked me through the window as I was holding the clutch in with one foot, other foot hovering over the brake, and trying to reverse the car into a parking spot...while three guys pushed it from its front end. "Yes," I replied. "Oh dear," the lady said. Yeah, our 2009 Nissan 370Z broke.

We were just about to pull into a driveway for a nice Sunday breakfast at a Redondo Beach diner and wanted to make sure we didn't hit the curb of the parking lot ramp so reversed and then tried to put it in 1st gear. That's when the shifter decided that it didn't want to budge. We tried letting the car roll forward a bit to see if it would work then and we tried putting it in any gear. Still nothing. The shifter was stuck in the middle and couldn't be moved at all...except a little side to side.

Apparently the car is stuck in a gear even though the digital readout says it's in neutral because when we gently ease our foot off the clutch it stalls the car. So the Z was undrivable and we had to call AAA.

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2009 Nissan 370Z: 7,500 Mile Service

June 08, 2009

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(The photo really has nothing to do with this blog, I just liked it.)

Last Friday I surprised our local Nissan dealership, Nissan of Santa Monica, by showing up with our 2009 370z. It was about due for an oil change (couple of hundred miles early if you must know), and that broken door sill panel was really bothering me.

The car was ready only a couple of hours after we'd dropped it off. This service was expected to run about $90, that includes the oil change and a bunch of inspections, but came up slightly short at $78.04.

Parts for the broken bits were not in stock and are on order.

The only surprise came at the end. Our service advisor let us know that the brake pads are low and will need to be replaced. Remember back when we first tested this car? When the brakes cooked on only two stops and scored the rotors? Well that's likely a factor in such short pad life. Also a factor is this car's speed, weight and attitude. It gets run pretty hard and the brakes get used harder than do, say, the brakes in the Focus. Pads are about $80 and we're thinking of saving a couple bucks and doing this one ourselves.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 3,568 7,307 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Adding Oil

June 03, 2009

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This morning I drove our long-term 2009 Nissan 370Z about 40 miles south of our Santa Monica office to visit MD Automotive in Westminster. MD is where we do all of our dyno testing and we had a couple of supercharged toys to test this morning.

Anyway, when you're testing cars there's always plenty of standing around waiting, so I decided to check the Z's oil level. And guess what?

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It was low. So I poured the majority of a quart of 5W-30 (Yes, I checked the manual.).

Total cost? $212. (The oil was just a few bucks, but I spilled some of it on a very expensive shirt.)

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 7,294 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Coming Apart at the Sills

May 06, 2009

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I tripped my way into the 370Z last night after getting my foot caught on some loose plastic door sill trim. Upon further inspection, I realized that almost all the trim pieces that cover the bottom of the door sill are loose. Disappointing to say the least, especially given the fact that our 370Z doesn't even have 6,000 miles on the clock.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 5,792

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Oil Cooler Install and First Service

April 15, 2009

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Back in November we ran our first Full Test of a 2009 Nissan 370Z. That test car was a short term loan, it was red, and, unlike our long-term test car, it wore aftermarket, Nissan developed oil and differential coolers. During extreme usage, especially track use, oil gets hot. If the VQ in our 370Z senses things getting too hot-- which can happen in as little as 10 minutes-- it sends the car into limp-home mode limiting revs to only 5,500. Limiting this car to 5,500 is like limiting Barry Bonds to bunting, we've never experienced limp-home mode, but we never want to. "If you plan on doing any track driving" our contact at Nissan said, "you'll need one."

So we made some calls and got one and had it installed by Nissan of Santa Monica while the car was in for its 3,750-mile service.

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Taking it on the Chin

April 13, 2009

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With less than 5,000 miles on the odometer, our long-term Nissan 370Z has already taken it on the chin. Repeatedly.

Good news is that the lower plastic chin guard is doing its job. Despite the fact that the plastic is starting to look shredded at the corners, there's no damage to the Z's Brilliant Silver paint.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 4,860 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: All-Star Wheel and Tire Sizing

March 30, 2009

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You may not have noticed, but our sport-package-equipped 2009 Nissan 370Z has got some serious wheel and brake hardware. The forged alloy wheels measure 19x9 up front and 19x10 at the rear. The corresponding tire sizes are 245/40R19 and 275/35R19s. This is on a sub-3,400-pound car with 332 horsepower, mind you.

For comparison, BMW's expired Z4M coupe, a car with a similar size/weight/power, rolled on 18x8s up front, 18x9s in the rear and 225/45R18 tires up front and 255/40R18s in back. Even the base Corvette (18s up front and 19s in back) has 245-width tires in front and 285s in back.

The Z's braking performance during testing was a little controversial, but in terms of specs -- 14-inch rotors up front with four-piston calipers -- there's nothing to complain about.

When it's standing still, the 370Z really looks the part thanks to those 19s, big brakes and wide tires. And with an as-tested 70.4 mph slalom speed and 0.93 g on the skidpad, it's got the numbers to back it up.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,186 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Nissan 370Z in VA is:

$132 per month*
* Explanation
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