2009 Nissan 370Z: More Braces Than a Junior Prom
April 02, 2009
I love the way our 2009 Nissan 370Z handles so crisply, yet its ride quality is still relatively supple. Credit is certainly due to the car's stiff body structure, which Nissan says allowed it to tune the suspension to be more compliant. Just about everywhere you look, our 370Z has bracing. Under the hood? There's a suspension tower brace that spans the engine bay width and connects to the firewall. Open a door and you'll see the thick beam behind the seats. Nissan wasn't messing around.
As you have perhaps noticed, the 370Z lacks the 350Z's infamous exposed rear structural brace. I remember reading that Nissan had "inverted" it. I was curious to see where it went, so I went looking.
I removed the rear carpet and cover. If there's an inverted structural crossmember here, I didn't see it. Perhaps it's considered the raised part of the body structure ahead of the spare tire that spans the width of the rear suspension towers?
By the way, you can see that this is where the spare tire is located. The subwoofer for the Bose audio system is also here, nestled into the wheel. I unscrewed the securing clamp and lifted the subwoofer; I'd guess it weighs about 10 to 15 pounds.
Compared to the 350Z, Nissan's 370Z press release claims that there's "a new front suspension cradle to reduce front body lateral bending," new "rear structural reinforcements" and "an underbody "V-bar" to help reduce rear lateral bending." I peeked underneath the rear of the car and did see what appears to be the additional structural bracing, including the "V-bar." It'd be interesting to get our car up on a lift at some point to see this stuff in more detail. Or maybe not, if standing underneath a car looking at nondescript metal bits isn't your thing.
Anyway, I'm continuing to enjoy the Jack-be-nimble handling characteristics of our 370Z.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor