2009 Nissan 370Z Long-Term Road Test

Performance


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2009 Nissan 370Z: Ten Things I Like About You

January 08, 2010

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1. seating position allows me to press the clutch all the way in without sitting too close to the steering wheel
2. shifter fits nicely in my hand
3. heated seats are always a plus
4. faux suede trim warms up the look of the interior
5. exterior and interior door handles are interesting
6. engine note sounds scrumptious (road noise doesn't bother me that much)
7. gear display is reassuring
8. sharp tail lights
9. grippy steering wheel
10. the way it takes a curve

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Hits the Spot, But I Want the Roadster

January 04, 2010

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Our long-term Nissan 370Z was just what I needed over the long holiday weekend: fun. And it has four times the range of our Mini E. Literally. I got 360 miles on a tank.

If you have the time, energy and enthusiasm to appreciate the Z coupe, this is a neat car. Every drive is exciting in the 370Z. The steering is quick. The suspension is stiff. The car's responses to input feel immediate. And when the six-speed gearbox is in proper working order, it's fun to shift. I like the almost leaden weighting of the shifter through the gates, along with the precise clutch takeup. And honestly, the 3.7-liter V6 is fine, too, even with its strained character at high rpm. It has a lusty sound at startup and at low rpm. And I can't think of another V6 in this price range that matches its torque response.

But for myself I'd take the 370Z roadster. And I mean it. I'd like to own a Z roadster. Because (1) the handling is 98 percent as sharp; and (2) the ride is quieter because there's a full bulkhead. Yes, this a backdoor slam on hatchbacks, because, well, with that open cargo area, they can be noisy.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 18,002 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Easy

January 03, 2010

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When we configured our 2009 Nissan 370Z car for the long-term fleet, we made sure to get the sport package and a manual transmission.

We also wanted to test out Nissan's new SynchroRev Match, which makes driving a manual transmission car even easier. This feature automatically blips the throttle when a downshift is initiated. It basically performs a smooth heel-toe downshift for you.

Easy and fun.

For explanation for SynchroRev Match, read this Straightline post from our Engineering Editor Jay Kavanagh.

Let's give our Nissan Z another chance at Car of the Week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Cement Truck Hell

December 11, 2009

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This is how it goes.

Was thinking about what to choose for a dash to San Francisco this weekend. And I like the Z-car. Seating position, ride quality, good navigation, satellite radio. And there'd be a good trip across the Coast Range at Coalinga and then a drive in the Santa Cruz mountains on Skyline and then down Page Mill when I get there, which is the whole reason for taking the Z-car in the first place.

Then I thought about the sound of those tires filling the cabin on the trip up Interstate 5. Like being 50 feet from a cement truck for five hours. So decided not to go at all.

As much as we all like to pound our chest about sporting automobiles and posture about purity, even a sports car has to also be a car. It has to be able to take you where the roads are good, anyway. And in times where financial resources are spread thin, we're all going to find ourselves forced into appreciating cars with multi-dimensional personalities.

Ironically the 370Z has been designed to be a better car, not just a better sports car. But it shows you just how crucial even the small things can be, as who would expect that an oversight in the acoustic properties of the interior would play such an important role in this car's personality?

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 16,951 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: It's No Honda Insight...

November 30, 2009

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...and that's OK by me. After spending nearly the entire holiday weekend slugging around in our long-term Honda Insight, I was forced to trade cars on Sunday afternoon following the Chevrolet Volt drive at Dodger Stadium.

Engineering Editor Extraordinare Jay Kavanagh needed to get some seat time in the Insight to help him clarify his Volt experience before penning his First Drive impressions, and since Jay arrived at the stadium in the Nissan 370Z, we swapped cars in Parking Lot 1 before heading out of the ballpark.

I've never been a huge fan of the Z, but boy, after driving the Insight for four days, I welcomed every single horse in the coupe's V6 stable.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 16,622 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Better Than A Hot Hatch?

November 19, 2009

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Had an unusually interesting selection of cars to choose from last night: Challenger, FX50, and 370Z. I went with the Z -- not because it's my favorite of the bunch (I'll give it a tie for second with the FX), but because I wanted something that would fit in my parking space. The Z's compact size is something I always appreciate when I'm driving it. Seems like every car these days has a growth spurt with each redesign; thank you, Nissan, for making this thing 2.6 inches shorter than its 350Z predecessor.

But there are other pint-sized performance cars out there. Riswick and I spent some time in our long-term Mazdaspeed 3 and VW's new GTI yesterday, and I was struck by how appealing these sport compacts have become. For $25k, you can take your pick: superior refinement and rear passenger room (GTI), or fully caffeinated performance (MS3). Either way, you've got four doors, a bunch of cargo space, and enough character to keep all but maximally hardcore enthusiasts entertained. No, they'll never have rear-wheel drive, but in other respects, the latest hot hatches are really nipping at the heels of dedicated sports cars like the Z. They're considerably easier on your bank account, too.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 16,045 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Sweet Sixteen

November 17, 2009

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There are few better cars in our long-term fleet to romp through coastal regions and long winding roads than the Nissan 370Z. Not only does the Z make all the right sounds, but a blip of the throttle provides an immediate rush from its 332-horsepower V6 engine.

Is it a practical everyday car for a family of three? No. But, with so many cars providing all the comforts of an oversized chaise lounge, it's nice to return to the seat of a car that's proud of what it's supposed to be.

Happy sweet 16(k).

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 16,043 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Gas Station Engineering

October 28, 2009

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The guy I know who owns a gas station admits that he's an idiot. In a misguided attempt to represent what he sells, he put a set of gas station tires on his 1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible. They wear like iron (apparently no one who buys gas station tires ever thinks about braking distances or wet weather traction), but they're so noisy that he can't stand to drive the car for more than 45 minutes. He feels like a fool for cheaping out and saving a few dollars.

The Nissan 370Z gives me the same feeling. Every time the tire roar gets so overwhelming that the radio volume needs to go up to maximum, I think about the Nissan engineers cheaping out on the acoustic insulation for the cabin air extractors. Such a little thing that you'd never think any individual driver would notice and yet a huge cost savings spread over a lifetime of production. Seems like it's worth saving $5, doesn't it? And of course it ends up undercutting the whole driving experience.

A fix has already come down the production line we understand, but it's little compromises like this that always worry me about the long-term effect that the Renault way of doing business will have on the Nissan way of engineering. I don't want a generation of automobiles designed for people who buy their tires at gas stations.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 14,250 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: It's a sexy sportscar

October 19, 2009

Nissan 370Z interior nite.JPGI was reminded again this past weekend that our long-term 2009 Nissan 370Z is a helluva sexy sportscar.

When I left the office Friday night it was already dark. As I left the parking garage I was greeted with a view similar to the above pic. The instruments are bathed in an orange-reddish light -- if it's too bright for you, turn it down with the rheostat.
The ambience is quite attractive -- and sexy (except for the Atari-inspired clock and fuel gauge.)

Adding to this feeling is that the car is low and that you're also sitting low -- damn near on the deck. As you accelerate and watch the HID lamps cast their eerie pattern, you feel like you're flying a UFO through traffic.

Is the BMW 135 a better all-around performer? Yup.

But all it takes is a night drive at speed in the 370Z to remind you that this isn't yet another two-door sedan.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 13,700 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: SynchroRev Match Makes Editor Lazy

October 07, 2009

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Ever since I drove our Nissan 370Z extensively back in August, the following thought pops into my head when I get into a different manual-transmission car: "Wait, you mean I have to heel-toe downshift to match revs? Well that sucks."

I didn't think this was going to be the case when I first drove our Z. "SynchroRev Match is just a novelty," I figured, and I even turned it off and matched revs the old-timey way.

But whether due to laziness or appreciation on how well it works (or both), SRM is now on all the time when I drive the Z. It matches engine rpm to wheel speed perfectly for every downshift (can't say that about my own heel-toe downshifts) and I still get the tactile pleasure of working the clutch and shifter, which is something I don't get from the GT-R's automated dual-clutch manual gearbox.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2009 Nissan 370Z: A Relief To Drive

October 05, 2009

I flew up to San Jose this weekend, rented a 14ft Uhaul truck, loaded it up with stuff my girlfriend's stuff her aunt didn't want to store for her anymore and drove the 400 miles south to my lady's house. I was pretty exhausted by the time I got there.

I'm sure most of you have driven a big rental truck at some point in your life. They're smelly, bouncy, uncomfortable, loud and usually laden with hidden trash/cigarette butts. Not to mention these things are massive. After the seven hours I spent in it, I was ready to get the hell out of it.

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I dropped off the rental and got into our long term Z. My god, the difference. I went went from hating to drive, to absolutely loving it. The Z was everything the Uhaul was not. I especially loved the seats. Conforming, supportive, and not bouncy!

I loved the Z so much I took it for an extended spin. Yeah, I'd been driving all day, but it was nice to have something that made driving fun.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Nissan 370Z: If It's Too Loud, You're Too Young

September 29, 2009

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Our 2009 Nissan 370Z gets passed over on the sign out sheet much more often than you'd think. It's frankly hard to fathom until you start listening to the younger editors on staff.

"It's too loud," they say. "There's lots of road noise. I can hardly hear my iPod."

Cry me a freakin' river.

a) This is a sports car. b) Do you not remember the noisiness that was the 240Z, the original RX7 or the Porsche 944 S2 Turbo? Of course you don't.

You've obviously had it too soft growing up in car seats in the back of mommy's Camry.

Besides, this car is plenty quiet compared to sports cars of old, and it hauls more ass, stops with much more authority and steers with much more precision than it's ancestors. As a bonus, it also has SyncroRev Match (to either help you learn to heel-and-toe properly or rid yourself of the need to learn) and, of course, a very good iPod connection.

You want more quiet? Fine. We'll simply add some more mass dampers and more sound-deadening materials. Want less road noise? Fine. We'll fit skinnier tires with softer sidewalls and a quiet tread pattern. And let's soften those pesky suspension bushings while we're at it.

So what if it gains weight and loses agility? Who cares if the steering goes all wonky and grip levels decrease? At least you'll be able to hear the Lady GaGa and Kanye West tracks from your favorites list.

Look, do you want a sports car or not? Be honest. If you don't, fine. Look elsewhere. Pick something with four doors and a backseat.

But let's not put the Nissan engineers and product planners on high alert to dumb down the 2009 Nissan 370Z. Some of us like it just the way it is.


Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 12,923 miles

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Nissan 370Z or Honda S2000: Which Would You Choose?

September 28, 2009

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I'd choose the Z. It's quicker, more comfortable and much easier to drive at the limit. It also has something called torque. Sorry S2000 heads, but the 370Z puts you on the trailer.

Which would you choose?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Nissan 370Z: A Man's Sports Car

September 25, 2009

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I just spent the better part of a week living in our long-term 2009 Nissan 370Z. I drove it about 500 miles including many trips to home and office, a blast down to Anahiem (about 50 miles) to watch my Yankees spank the Angels, a business meeting and informal dive bar visit in Newport Beach and a 100+ mile run out to Willow Springs Raceway in the garden spot that is Rosamond, California.

This is a fantastic car. Don't let others convince you it's too loud and too rough. This is a sports car, a man's sports car, and after driving it those 500 miles this week I'm convinced that the 370Z is just right how it is. If the NVH levels aren't to your liking, dig around in your purse a pull out some ear plugs, but don't ask Nissan to neuter one of the final remaining sports cars that is actually tuned for the male of the species.

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2009 Nissan 370Z: The Conundrum

September 04, 2009

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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

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Teen Boys and Hot Women

August 31, 2009

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"That's the new Z, isn't it?"

I had just parked our 2009 Nissan 370Z outside of Subway to pick up lunch. A couple of teenage boys with skateboards were standing outside. The one with the Tapout t-shirt and the moppy hair continued: "It looks cool. How fast does it go?" My brain fizzled on that one. "Oh, about 160," I said. (I really had no idea at the time; in fact, I had to look it up. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.) "Cool," teen boy said.

It seems like more people are noticing our 370Z now than back when I was driving it five months ago. I'm not sure why this is. But just last week, I was fuelling up the Z at a gas station when this quite attractive 30-ish blonde woman came up to me and started asking about the Z. She was into cars (had a previous-gen BMW 540i at the station) and wanted to know more about what I thought of the new Z. It was very much a "this really can't be happening" moment.

Later that day I lamented to my co-worker Bryn MacKinnon about why this never happened to me when I was 18. She reminded me that: A) I didn't own a 370Z in high school, and B) I had a mullet.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,720 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Evening Drive

August 24, 2009

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It's Saturday evening. You've gone outside to retrieve the cell phone that you left in your car earlier in the day. The sun is setting in the manner pictured above. Heck with the movie you were about to watch -- a windows-down/revs-up drive is calling out to you.

Are you: A) Happy that you chose to have the long-term Nissan 370Z at your disposal for the weekend; or B) Bummed because you brought home the long-term Ford Flex to schlep the kids around instead?


Brent "Happy I Chose the Z" Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,590 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: New Clutch Break-in

July 27, 2009

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New transmission. Check. New clutch. Check. Our service technician handed over the keys to our 2009 Nissan 370Z and bid us farewell. Three steps to the car we glanced over our shoulder, "Any sort of break-in procedure we should follow?"

"Nothing. Just don't do what you did to break it the last time," he warned.

"Okay. Don't use reverse. Got it," we replied half-joking. But the idea didn't sit well with us. At the very least we decided to keep it mellow for awhile. Minimal clutch slippage. But no clutch dumps either. Nice, clean shifts. So we spent the past 300-plus miles essentially breaking-in the clutch. 90-percent of this took place on the traffic riddled freeways of LA at stop-and-go paces. Feels good to us.

There are different schools of thought on clutch break-in. Baby it for 300 miles. No, make it 1,000 miles. Clutch break-in is nonsense. Drive it like you stole it. Whatever my mechanic tells me to do. Where do you stand?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 9,650 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Training Wheels For Rev-Matchers

July 10, 2009

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There have been some concerns expressed in this space that the 2009 Nissan 370Z's Synchro RevMatch feature is going to make our already lazy driving public even lazier. Maybe so. For one thing, it seems Nissan wants to discourage people from turning it off -- deactivation requires holding the button for a few seconds, while activation is instantaneous.

But if you want to learn how to match revs on downshifts, the Z's driver seat is the best place in the world to be.

Synchro RevMatch, you'll recall, is Nissan's trick new automatic rev-matching technology. Bang down a gear without touching the accelerator and it'll reward your clumsiness with a perfectly timed throttle blip, making what should have been a concussive transition as smooth as a (Copy Editor Extraordinaire) Doug Lloyd piano riff.

In the process, it teaches you exactly what you need to do to match revs: jab the throttle while changing gears before letting out the clutch. Synchro RevMatch will model this for you without fail until you're ready to go it alone. If you get confused, just turn the feature back on for a minute. Yes, that's what's supposed to happen. Now turn it off and try again.

I prefer to match my own revs in the Z, but as a training aid, Synchro RevMatch is fantastic.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 9,235 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Priorities, Guys, Priorities!

July 06, 2009

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"Put in a CD with the engine soundtrack of a 'Vette," Romans advised me Thursday afternoon as I headed off on a camping trip to Big Sur. "And bring earplugs for the road noise."

In a characteristically pithy 18 words, our sage Senior Automotive Editor had summed up everything that's seriously wrong with the 2009 Nissan 370Z.

All this car needed was for someone with clout to swoop in during product testing and say, "Hey! Priorities, guys, priorities! This is a sports car, so why doesn't it sound like one? And it's all well and good that the interior is nicer than a G37's, but why does it have more road noise than an '87 Pathfinder?!"

If Nissan takes care of these two issues, I want one. Because after 800 miles in the Z this weekend, I've realized that I'm on board with pretty much everything else.

Note the qualifying phrase "pretty much." The Z does have a few other foibles that are worth mentioning. To wit: the Bose stereo is unimpressive with a CD and downright awful with an iPod, the shifter grinds too easily on quick 1-2 upshifts and 3-2 downshifts, and while I still say the Z's suspension is supple by sports-car standards, the short wheelbase and minimal suspension travel conspired to beat me up a bit over the 5 Freeway's rapid-fire expansion joints -- so I can understand why there have been some complaints about the ride.

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2009 Nissan 370Z: It's Not The Ride

June 30, 2009

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So we've been trying to figure out recently why our 2009 Nissan 370Z doesn't get more editorial love, and I keep hearing negative comments about the ride. "Rough." "Hard." "[Insert lewd comment here]." With due respect to my perhaps prematurely geriatric colleagues, I beg to differ. This Z has got one of the most supple sports-car rides I've ever experienced.

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Non-Syncro TimeMatch

June 29, 2009

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As with my colleague Mr. Takahashi, I enjoy rev-matching on my own, but like him still have to admit that the Z's Syncro RevMatch is pretty cool.

But if Nissan can offer this ground-breaking technology, why don't they have what I'll call Syncro TimeMatch? I'm talking about the two time displays (a stand-alone clock in the upper pod and one in the nav/audio screen) that aren't matched. I've seen other cars with redundant time displays (VW and Audi come to mind) that are synchronized so this strikes me as rather odd here. And yes, I adjusted the clock after I posted this gripe...

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 8,301 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: What's the problem?

June 25, 2009

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It's true -- our long term Nissan 370Z sits near the bottom of the pile in terms of desirabilty here. It is frequently one of the last test cars chosen and more than once sat unloved at night 'til the next morning. It occupies the same metaphorical space as... the Smart?! What's the problem? These items, I believe:

1. The ride is hard
2. The interior is small
3. The clutch and shifter aren't the greatest
4. It seats only 2

I refute these issues with:

1. It's a sports car
2. It's a sports car
3. True (but both aren't as bad as our LT Audi S5)
4. It's a sports car

One must make certain sacrifices when owning a sports car, but the benefits outweigh these.
The 370Z possesses great, quick handling, excellent steering feel, and a decent powertrain. And although I'm not in love with the exhaust note, it's OK.

It's the only true sports car in our long term fleet. (I consider the GT-R a GT; the name is GT-R.)

The big problem for the most of the people here is the seating capacity. Most of our staffers have friends or family to accommodate, and a 2-seater won't cut it for them.

For me, it's really fun to drive, and becomes even more enjoyable when you push it hard. It's in the top 5 in fun-to-drive for our long term fleet. The sedans, even the Evos, don't compare.

I was even going to sign it out for this weekend. But I may have to cart some people around...

Oh, nevermind.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 8200 miles

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

May 21, 2009

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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.

Brakes:
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?).
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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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2009 Nissan 370Z: Is Synchro RevMatch the Way of the Future?

May 19, 2009

Synchro RevMatch shifting -- Photo by James Riswick and Mark Takahashi

Every once in a while an automotive technology will come along that has me yearning for it to trickle down into other cars. Sometimes it's a small thing (satellite radio) and other times it's a game changer like the Synchro RevMatch manual transmission found in our long-term Nissan 370Z.

The ease of making rev-matched downshifts differs based on pedal placement, throttle tip-in, driver's foot size, position of the moon, familiarity with the car, and of course, driver skill. I don't claim to be a heal-toeing maestro, but I find our M3 and Mini Cooper S to be incredibly easy ... the Challenger not so much.

But none of that matters in the Zed (which is spelled as such for my fellow Canadians out there). Once I got beyond the initial trepidation of dropping the clutch without matching revs, I found myself downshifting a lot more. At traffic lights, I'll go down through the gears just for the hell of it rather than coasting in whatever gear I was in. Sure, there could be a "lost art" element to this new technology, but I think it makes shifting your own gears more fun.

Now if only it was attached to a more pleasant engine. So here's hoping that the remaining purveyors of manual transmissions develop their own Synchro RevMatch. As Howard Hughes said 1,988 times at the end of The Aviator, "it's the way of the future."

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 6,470 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Stink Eye Blind Spot

May 12, 2009

Our Z has a friggin' huge sloping B pillar that makes backing out of a space really tough because the blind spot is massive. It makes me really nervous whenever I have to do it because I'm afraid I'll run over my neighbors cat or something.

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Well, over the weekend my fears were realized. No, a cat wasn't squashed, but when I was slowly backing out of a space at 7-11 a dude slapped the side of my car and gave me the finger through the passenger window. He was walking up to the store directly in my blind spot, I never saw him.

The next day I was backing out of a spot super slow, nervous I was going to get another finger of vengeance. My windows were down, leaning out when I could, looking through the windows, in my mirrors, just trying to get the best look around my car as possible. As my passenger side window cleared the rows, there stood a lady with a stroller giving me the stink eye.

%^$&#!!

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Numbers, Schmumbers

May 05, 2009

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Whenever I drive our long-term 370Z, I'm led to an overwhelming question:

Why don't I want this car?

I should. I'm smack dab in the middle of the target demographic. Twentysomething guy, likes speed, cares about handling, doesn't care about practicality. But the Z turns me off every time. It makes me think of all the cars I'd rather have at this general price point. S2000. 1 Series. 328i. Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track. G37. RX-8 (and I don't even like the styling). Camaro SS (and I haven't even driven it yet).  

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Racy

April 27, 2009

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Our long term 2009 Nissan 370Z is quite racy.

Details that contribute to this feeling are the oil pressure and voltmeter gauges (along with a digital clock) on top on the dash, just like old-school race cars.

The Z also has well-styled vertical outer door handle with smart entry. The handle is slightly awkward to use. Below are pics of two different strategies you could use to open the door, and both of them are slightly clumsy. But it's not enough of a problem to negate the sexy looks of it.

Speaking of sexy, I think the back end view is the best angle of this car. Look at those wide, muscular fender flares covering the massive 275/35WR19 rear tires.

Compliments to Nissan for continuing to make a sexy, affordable, true sports car, when others have given up.

Albert Austria, Sr Vehicle Eval Engineer @ 5615 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Really Smooth Downshifts

April 17, 2009

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I wanted to do a video where you could hear what our 2009 Nissan 370Z sounds like when it matches revs on its own but instead I got a video with a lot of road noise, something clicking against my camera and a quiet engine.Sorry! But at least you can see how smoothly it transitions between each gear with the SynchroRev Match. And, yeah, no hooliganism here. Just me pulling to a stop. Woo. And, looks like I need to clean my camera lens.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 5,081 miles

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: No ZZZZs Here

April 12, 2009

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We sure had fun when we put the 2009 Nissan 370Z against the new Mustang GT.

Pricewise, the cars were pretty evenly matched. And both hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and run the quarter in 13.5 seconds.

But there was a definite victor. And that winner, my friends, is the Car of the Week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2009 Nissan 370Z: Not Quite Awesome Enough

April 07, 2009

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Our 2009 Nissan 370Z has satellite radio, and when I'm driving I'll occasionally listen to radio Faction's afternoon DJ, Jason Ellis. Jason has this ongoing theme where callers recount their feats of awesomeness and he then judges them on whether or not they are admitted into a nirvana-like "awesome world."

I mention this because our Nissan 370Z would be an excellent candidate for Brent's Sports Car Awesome World. It's got tidy dimensions, great handling, a quality interior, impressive as-tested numbers and, to my eyes at least, a good-looking exterior. But there's one thing that's going to hold it back from gaining entry.

The not-so-awesome thing: the V6 engine. Now, this is a capable engine that's surprisingly torquey and tractable. And there's certainly nothing wrong with having 332 hp on tap nor a 0-60-mph time in the low 5-second range. But this latest 3.7-liter version makes the 370Z a Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz -- it has no heart.

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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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2009 Nissan 370Z: Facing Off Against the 2010 Mustang

March 23, 2009

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The Inside Line crew's 370Z vs. Mustang GT comparo gave the win to the Nissan, but the Edmunds.com editors performed their own brief evaluation in the spirit of a high school debate. Which middleweight triumphs? That's for you to decide. Check it out here.

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2009 Nissan 370Z: The Decade The Affordable Automotive Music Died

March 18, 2009

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Brace yourselves for the latest Long-Term Blog textcast, in which we tackle sausage, sportbikes, and the demise of the affordable sporting engine note.

Sadlier: So where's your $30k going. Base 370Z? Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track? 128i? Mustang GT?
Sadlier: Subaru Tribeca?
Magrath: 370Z. The Mustang's better than expected by a lot but I just don't like it. The seating position is too high and I think it looks dumb. The 128 is lame. I would constantly kick myself for not getting the turbo motor.
Magrath: Genesis Coupe is interesting but I don't like being in it. Great to drive but the steering wheel is lousy, the Infinity stereo's lousy and I think the car is ugly.
Sadlier: Huh. The Genesis Coupe's looks have actually grown on me. Plus the doors slam shut like my old prison cell -- very similar to our M3. I seriously think Hyundai benchmarked those doors.
Sadlier: The problem with the Genesis is that the 128i basically matches its acceleration numbers, and it's more refined. I think I would grit my teeth and go with the 128i, horrendous ugliness notwithstanding. With apologies to the Tribeca.
Sadlier: ...unless a cold-air intake or something could fix the Z's gnarly engine note ("the coarse sounds and vibration of this V6 mean you have to grit your teeth and force yourself to keep the throttle floored past 6,000 rpm" -- Engineering Editor Kavanagh), in which case, absolutely, sign me up.
Magrath: You'd pick the ugliness of the 128 over the engine note of the Z? I can understand picking it because of the Z's horrible road noise, but not because of the engine sound. You'd also be stuck with a back seat. I like that the Z doesn't give a backseat. The option of four seats just makes people think it's okay to ask for rides.
Sadlier: Yeah, backseats are overrated. Except that they're really useful. But you know, as far as the engine note goes, I tend to think that if an engine sounds like the Z's, it's because the engine team just couldn't be bothered to fix it. And I want my car's engineers to care about how my engine sounds.
Magrath: You know all they'd do is add a tumor-like snorkus to the intake, a la the F-150 -- which has 4!
Sadlier: Four?!
Sadlier: Well, shoot, if that does the trick, then snorkus away. The snorkus makes the GTI's 2.0T sound good, and that's fine with me. The motor doesn't have to be authentically refined. I'm willing to be tricked.

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: A Real GT When You Want It to Be

March 13, 2009

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My 36-hour, 900-mile Arizona road trip in our long-term 2009 Nissan 370Z Touring ended around 11:30 last night. Although I never had a chance to explore any interesting back roads with the Z, I am surprised by how much I still like it after hours on interstates and numbing desert highways.

Ride comfort is a big reason, because our sport-package 370Z is compliant to a level I never would have believed before this trip. This is not a compromised sport coupe. It's one I could live with everyday.

I've really warmed to the driving position, too. Although I previously complained that the new-gen car's shortened wheelbase has the dash up in your face, the setup turned out to be fine on my trip. I was comfortable behind the wheel, even though it doesn't telescope, and I liked how I was in finger's reach of the nav, audio and climate controls.

Average fuel economy for the trip was over 21 mpg, and I don't deserve any credit for driving conservatively on I-10. Instead, I chalk it up to the 18 speed cameras I passed in greater Phoenix (even without a front plate, I was careful) and low speed limits in the Maricopa area.

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2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Track Tested!

March 12, 2009

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By now you've all read our 2010 Ford Mustang Vs. 2009 Nissan 370Z comparison test. At the end of the day, the newly refreshed Mustang (a darn good car) put up a strong fight but ultimately fell to the sharper, more focused, better looking (yes, better looking)--but less functional Z car.

Before that test was ever conceived, we subjected our Long-Term 370Z to the usual set of performance tests. Follow the jump for full results.

Vehicle: 2009 Nissan 370z Touring 6MT

Odometer: 995
Date: 02/03/09
Driver: Josh Jacquot

Price: $40,320

Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear Wheel Drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed manual

Engine Type: 60-degree V6

Displacement (cc / cu-in): 3,696cc (226 cu-in)

Redline (rpm): 7,500

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2009 Nissan 370Z vs. 2010 Ford Mustang GT

March 11, 2009

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That's our long-term 2009 Nissan 370Z Touring during a head-to-head comparison test with Ford's new and improved 2010 Mustang GT Premium complete with the optional Track Package. It was a fun test between two very capable 300+ hp, rear-wheel drive performance coupes. They even cost about the same if you're careful with the Z's options list.

We tested them on the track and on the street, and we hit more than one mountain road. We even shot video, which I happen to think is worth watch twice.

I won't spoil the outcome of this battle for you here, but I'm curious, which would you choose?

Comparison test: 2009 Nissan 370Z vs. 2010 Ford Mustang GT

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

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2009 Nissan 370Z: SynchroRev Match Making Things Too Easy?

February 23, 2009

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Ever since I learned to drive stick I've been trying to figure out how to master the heel-toe downshift. I've practiced on every manual-shift car I get in, have asked many an editor to teach me and even got Edmunds Senior Automotive Editor Brent Romans to make a video running through the steps. But I can NEVER get it. When to blip? When to brake? When to move my foot off the clutch? Is my foot too small? I know, I overthink things.

But then we got the 2009 Nissan 370Z Touring in our fleet. Another editor suggested I give it a go since it has the very nifty SynchroRev Match feature that blips the throttle for you when you downshift. "You'll be able to hear when you should get the revs up," he said.

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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*
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