All-New 2009 Nissan Z®: Sculpted, Engineered and
Equipped to SHIFT_ Driving Excitement
– Super Evolution of the Iconic Nissan Z® Expands the Sports Car “Sweet Spot” With
An Unmatched Balance of Performance, Style and Value –
In the first full redesign of the iconic Nissan Z® since its re-introduction as a 2003
model, nearly every piece and component has been rethought or redesigned –
shorter wheelbase, greater use of lightweight body materials, new engine with more
horsepower and improved fuel economy, a new 7-speed automatic transmission with
paddle shifters, a world’s first synchronized downshift rev matching system for the
manual transmission, new high quality driver-centric interior and new available
But to get the full measure of the new model, now designated the Nissan 370Z, one
need look no farther than the subtle upswept line of the new rear quarter window.
Quintessentially Z®, the window harkens back to the original 1970 240Z – a car that
revolutionized the sports car world with its unique combination of performance, style
and, especially, value. The new 370Z solidifies the Z®’s position as one of the most
desirable sports cars on the planet – at an affordable price – bringing true sports car
performance to everyone.
“The fresh character of the 2009 Nissan 370Z is immediately apparent in the crisp
new exterior design, which is sportier yet still immensely identifiable as a Nissan Z®,”
said Al Castignetti, vice president, Sales, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.
“One usually thinks of evolution as being linear. The new 370Z’s ‘super evolution’
builds on the best features of both the first and last generations Z–cars – respectful
but not retro, simple yet sophisticated, and 110 percent pure Z®.”
Solidifying the strengths of its immediate predecessor, the new 370Z was conceived
as an “Everyday Sports Car,” targeting segment-leading performance and a base
MSRP of around $30,000 (final performance figures and pricing to be available at a
“The new 370Z lives in the sweet spot of performance, style and value, a position
that Nissan invented with the original Z®. It’s an authentic sports car that you don’t
have to make sacrifices to own – or drive everyday,” said Castignetti.
The new 2009 Nissan 370Z Coupe model is scheduled to go on sale in North America
in January 2009, followed by a new 370Z Roadster for the 2010 model year.
The New Exterior: Not Just Sculptural, Functional
The 2009 370Z’s dynamic new styling offers dual benefits – a more aggressive
appearance and a lighter, tighter structure for enhanced performance. The new Z’s
wheelbase is nearly four inches shorter than the previous generation Z® (100.4
inches versus 104.3 inches), accomplished by moving the rear wheels forward in the
2nd generation FM platform, while overall length is reduced by 2.7 inches (167.2
inches versus 169.8 inches). At the same time, the overall width been increased by
1.3 inches, the rear track by 2.2 inches and overall height reduced by 0.3 inches,
giving the 370Z a much more aggressive stance.
The more compact exterior dimensions and expanded use of lightweight materials
help reduce weight. For the first time, the Z® features aluminum door panels, along
with an all-aluminum hood (the previous aluminum hood design utilized steel
reinforcements) and an aluminum hatch.
At the same time, the body structure was extensively revised, improving front body
torsion rigidity by 30 percent; 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. Other enhancements include the use of a carbon
fiber composite radiator housing and strengthening of the rear fender and hatch
Rear body torsion rigidity is improved by up to 22 percent and rear body vertical
bending rigidity is improved by up to 30 percent. The result is enhanced overall
solidity and handling capability. Even with all of the new body strengthening
measures the overall body-in-white is lighter than the previous body-in-white.
“As every race car driver knows, weight is the enemy of performance and rigidity is
the foundation for handling – but they usually work at cross purposes from each
other,” said Castignetti. “With the new 370Z, the engineers were able to build a
body that is both stronger and lighter, enhancing Z®’s athletic performance abilities.”
Along with its new structure and stance, the 370Z has a taut new skin – one that
looks completely new, yet completely Z®. The exterior design incorporates
intentional 240Z styling cues, a sleek aerodynamic shape, a “dynamic motion” feel
with a dramatic cantilevered roof (with Nissan GT-R styling cues) and a “low visual
The coefficient of drag is 0.30 (0.29 with the Sport Package), the same as the
previous generation 350Z Coupe. The new Z® also maintains the previous
generation’s zero front lift and zero rear lift when equipped with the rear spoiler,
thanks to extensive aerodynamics efforts – including an “inverse area” front bumper
design which smoothes the flow of air to the sides of the vehicle, while the rear
design maximizes the control of air flow from the roof to the rear hatch. In addition,
the front overhang was extended 1.2 inches and more than 200 rear quarter panel
patterns were made and wind tunnel tested to counter the negative aerodynamic
effects of shortening the wheelbase (versus the 350Z).
“The 370Z incorporates all of the signature Z® elements – the long nose, canopy
cockpit, muscular fenders, vertical door handles,” said Castignetti. “What’s new is a
more wheel-oriented, organic design with more of a sense of precision and agility.”
One of the most distinctive features of the bold new exterior design is the
headlight/taillight treatment, which features a fierce “boomerang” shape. High
Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional xenon headlights with auto on/off feature are
The hood’s deep character lines continue over the windshield into the new,
cantilevered roof design. The intense broad-shouldered rear shape is highlighted by
the integration of the boomerang taillights and wide, flared rear fenders.
The 370Z’s sleek silhouette is defined by its upswept quarter window design that is
echoed by the dynamic upward curvature in the lower rocker panel and the sense of
the taut sheet metal molding itself around the wheels and frame. Attention to detail
and functionality is evident throughout the exterior design, including the addition of
a flashing (repeater lamp) side marker lamp/emblem.
Performance body pieces are available as part of the optional Sport Package,
including a front chin spoiler and rear spoiler. The 370Z is offered in seven exterior
colors: Pearl White, Monterey Blue, Brilliant Silver, Magnetic Black, Solid Red,
Platinum Graphite and a launch-year only, premium signature color, Chicane Yellow.
A Driver’s Cockpit Equipped To Make Car and Driver Feel Like One
The interior design of the new 370Z continues the Z® tradition of enhancing driving
pleasure, no matter what the road or traffic conditions offer. “As an Everyday Sports
Car, every aspect of the interior needs to address two needs – support and enhanced
driver performance during spirited driving and offer high levels of comfort and utility
for normal commuting and around-town activities,” said Castignetti.
The traditional 2-seat layout is built around a deeply scooped instrument panel with
a full-length center console separating the driver and passenger’s seat. In the rear
is an open cargo area with enhanced storage and accessibility. The design focus
incorporates a “layer concept,” with an information layer, an operation layer and a
The information layer provides enhanced visibility with easy access to all key data.
The gauges are once again attached to the steering column, so the driver doesn’t
have to choose between the perfect steering wheel position and visibility of the
gauges. The upper steering wheel opening in front of the gauges was also enlarged
to provide a better view of the readouts.
Gauge size has been increased over the previous generation design, including a 15
percent increase in the tachometer, and the gauge angle has been adjusted.
The instrument panel retains the traditional 3-pod cluster with oil temperature,
voltmeter and clock, while the speedometer and tachometer now include an “initial
sweep” function, coming alive when the Z® is first started.
The operation layer includes the steering wheel, shifter and switchgear. The steering
wheel is an all-new “oval” 3-spoke design, which offers baseball-style stitching,
improved thumb grips and palm rest areas for improved feel on long drives. The
surface of the leather-wrapped wheel is “shaved” to provide a more kidney-like
shape to better fit in the hand. The shifter was also redesigned, with the manual
transmission shifter padded in different areas to improve the accuracy of diagonal
shifts and to feel softer in the hand for forward and backward motions.
The holding layer includes the seats, knee pads and door trim support. The driver’s
seat is uniquely different from the passenger’s seat, with lower seat cushion cut-outs
on the sides where the thighs rest – allowing the driver to push on the pedals
without the seat fighting them. The seat also features an improved frame that helps
it to better hold the driver in place during cornering. It also offers a 0.4-inch lower
hip point than the previous Z® driver’s seat.
Both the driver and passenger’s seats are structured with an anti-slip material in the
main seating surface. The sporty woven cloth seats feature standard 8-way
driver’s/4-way passenger manual adjustments, with heated 4-way power-adjustable
leather-appointed seats standard with the 370Z Touring model. Adjustable front
seat Active Head Restraints are also standard.
The door armrests have been designed to provide extra support when cornering and
the kneepads are better integrated to help the driver maintain the proper position
In addition, the available aluminum pedal pads utilize a new rubber insert material to
improve grip and the accelerator pedal and brake pedal are completely new. The
accelerator pedal is now floor-mounted (versus hanging) to provide better contact
with the foot, less effort to operate and easier pedal-to-pedal foot/heel movement.
The brake pedal is a new variable ratio design with enhanced rigidity and easier
Interior packaging is also enhanced from the previous generation, including the
removal of the rear strut brace (replaced with less intrusive structural
reinforcements) and by adding a new “shelf” area behind the seats, creating an ideal
area for storing briefcases. A retractable cover is standard on the 370Z Touring
model. A locking glove compartment has been added.
Standard interior comfort and convenience features include Nissan Intelligent Key™
with Push Button Start, power windows with one-touch auto up/down feature, power
door locks with auto-lock feature, a center console box with a new non-intrusive
cover design, automatic climate control, rear window defroster with timer, two 12-
volt power outlets, four cupholders (two in door panels, two in center console), dual
overhead map lights and a AM/FM/CD/AUX 4-speaker audio system with illuminated
steering wheel-mounted controls.
The 370Z Touring model adds standard 4-way power adjustable heated synthetic
suede and leather-appointed sport seats with adjustable lumbar support, 6CD Bose
audio system with eight speakers (includes dual subwoofer) and MP3/WMA playback,
XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth® Handsfree
Phone System, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and passenger seat map
An optional Navigation Package includes the touch-screen Nissan Hard Drive
Navigation System with XM NavTraffic® with Real-Time Traffic information (XM®
subscription required, sold separately), 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive and Interface
System for iPod®.
The 370Z interior is available Black cloth or for 370Z Touring models, a choice of
Gray, Black or Persimmon leather-appointed seating.
“Of all the tremendous enhancements to the new Z® interior, one that is easy to
overlook is the enhanced quality – both in fit and finish and in the quality of
materials and designs,” said Castignetti. “Z® is proving once again that outstanding
performance is available at an affordable price and so is outstanding quality.”
Taking Performance To A New Level
Since so many aspects of a sports car’s performance come down to the simple
formulation of power-to-weight, the engineering teams behind the development of
the new 370Z made that their priority focus. On the weight reduction side of the
equation, they put the new Z® on an extremely restrictive diet. Beyond just the
pounds shed with the body-in-white, every component throughout the vehicle was
scrutinized. For example, fuel tank weight was reduced by 13.9 pounds, the exhaust
system by 3.8 pounds, the audio system by 3.5 pounds and the 19-inch wheels by
approximately seven pounds each for the fronts and six pounds for the rears – an
estimated 225 pounds total.
Along with the reduced weight, the center of gravity was lowered through use of a
lower engine positioning (-0.6 inches) and lower driver hip point (-0.4 inches).
Rotating mass was reduced with a shorter carbon-fiber composite driveshaft. All of
these weight savings were needed, of course, to counter the added weight of the
Z®’s enhanced body structure and new technology and safety features. The net
weight reduction is 95 pounds for the 2009 Nissan 370Z over the comparable 350Z
On the power side of the targeted class-leading power-to-weight goal, the new Z®
picks up 26 horsepower utilizing the fourth generation of Nissan’s award-winning VQseries
V6. The new 3.7-liter VQ37VHR engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and
Lift) is rated at 332 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm,
compared with the previous 3.5-liter V6’s 306 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm and 268 lbft
of toque @ 4,800 rpm.
Along with its larger displacement, the new engine gives better power delivery all the
way to the 7,500 rpm redline, improved low-end power and more high-end torque,
creating an entirely new driving experience. Approximately 35 percent of the
engine’s parts are new, versus the previous design.
Key to the enhanced performance is the VVEL system, which is able to optimize
intake valve open/close movements, allowing the needed air to be sent promptly to
the combustion chamber at the precisely optimized time.
Since the VVEL system can adjust to open the valves slightly, it improves fuel
efficiency by reducing camshaft friction and fuel waste. It also provides cleaner
emissions by allowing for quicker warm-up of the catalyst and by stabilizing
combustion when the engine is cool. The engine also has a new “growl” from the
dual exhaust system due to reduced back pressure, enhancing driving enjoyment.
The new engine is backed by a choice of two new advanced transmissions, both
designed to improve driver performance. The new close-ratio 6-speed manual
includes an available world’s first synchronized downshift rev matching system,
which allows drivers of any skill level to experience professional-like gear shift
performance. The “SynchroRev Match” function automatically controls and adjusts
engine speed when shifting to the exact speed of the next gear position, essentially
“blipping” the throttle to smooth out any up/down shifts. This not only allows the
driver to focus more on braking and steering, it improves vehicle balance and
smoothness by reducing the typical “shock” when the clutch is engaged. The system
can be deactivated with a button next to the shifter for drivers who prefer less
vehicle intervention. The SynchroRev Match system is offered as part of the optional
“The SynchroRev Match system takes nothing away from the driver – you still have
to engage the clutch and move the shifter – it just gives you a performance edge by
smoothing out the gear engagement,” said Castignetti.
Overall shift feeling has also been improved, with reduced vibration and noise
(accomplished through improved lubrication) and a modification to the lever angle of
the short-throw shifter.
The 370Z’s new 7-speed automatic with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) and Adaptive
Shift Control (ASC) is designed to offer quick, manual-like shifting when operated in
manual mode with a target time of 0.5 seconds between shifts. Drivers can use the
standard paddle shifters or the shift lever. With new torque converter lock-up logic,
the new 7-speed automatic feels more direct, like a manual transmission. The new
7-speed’s wide gear ratios offer improved fuel efficiency, while the Adaptive Shift
Control is designed to adjust to the driver’s driving style.
“The combination of the new 3.7-liter engine and advanced new transmissions puts
the Z® solidly at the front of the class in terms of responsive acceleration,” said
Castignetti. “Add in the enhanced handling from the revised suspension – which
provides better grip, reduced understeer, improved road holding, reduced impact
harshness and better ride – and you’ve got a new standard for thrilling
Estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg City/26mpg Highway for both the 7-speed
automatic and 6-speed manual transmissions – increases of 1 mpg City/2 mpg
Highway for the automatic and 1 mpg Highway for the manual transmission versus
the 2008 350Z.
The previous generation Z®’s suspension has also been rethought to reduce weight,
improve strength and improve camber change and lateral displacement. The doublewishbone
front suspension (replacing the lower multi-link setup in the 350Z) uses
lighter forged aluminum arms and a lightweight rigid aluminum-alloy cradle, along
with a lighter stabilizer bar with a 35 percent improved lever ratio.
The 4-link rear suspension is also now stiffer and lighter, with the rear cradle entirely
integrated into a single part (no welding). All-new “high response” shock absorbers
are utilized on each corner, with ride comfort improved through reduced shock
The standard 370Z wheel and tire package features 18x8.0-inch front/18x9.0-inch 5-
spoke lightweight aluminum-alloy wheels with P225/50R18 front/P245/45R18 rear
Yokohama ADVAN Sport maximum performance summer tires.
Also available as part of the optional Sport Package are 19-inch RAYS forged
lightweight aluminum-alloy wheels with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A P245/40R19
The Z®’s already advanced braking system has been upgraded to include improved
overall brake feel, better fade resistance and improved NVH. With adoption of the
new variable ratio brake pedal, pedal stroke feel is more direct. The standard 4-
wheel vented disc brake system includes Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with
Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). The optional Sport
Package includes Nissan Sport Brakes with large diameter 14.0-inch front and 13.8-
inch rear rotors (versus 12.6-inch front/12.1-inch rear standard rotors) with 4-piston
front and 2-piston rear aluminum calipers.
Steering is provided by a vehicle-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion
deign that has been reworked (including redesigned mounting bushings and a
column insulator) to provide improved response. Unwanted steering kickback and
vibrations are reduced with the addition of a solenoid valve that acts like a damper
when there is a harsh impact load. The standard Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)
system has also been revised with new electronic hardware and all-new logic.
The Nissan 370Z’s long list of standard safety features includes the Nissan Advanced
Air Bag System (AABS) with dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt
and occupant classification sensors; front seat-mounted side impact supplemental air
bags; roof-mounted side-impact air bags; seat belts with pretensioners and load
limiters, Active Head Restraints, Zone Body Construction with front and rear crumple
zones, Nissan Vehicle Immobilizer System, Vehicle Security System and Tire
Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
A Simplified Model Line-up
The new 2009 370Z’s model line-up has been greatly simplified, versus the 2008
350Z, with just two models – 370Z and the 370Z Touring.
The 370Z Touring adds heated leather-appointed power seats, HomeLink® Universal
Transceiver, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, 8-speaker Bose® audio system,
XM® Satellite Radio (XM® subscription, sold separately) cargo cover and aluminum
pedals to the long list of standard Z® features and equipment.
Two option packages are offered: the Sport Package, with 19-inch RAYS forged
wheels and Bridgestone Potenza tires, aerodynamic front and rear spoiler, larger
Nissan Sport Brakes, SynchroRev Match (6-speed manual transmission only) and
Viscous Limited Slip Differential; and the Navigation Package, with Hard Drive-based
Nissan Navigation System, 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive and Interface System for
“This exciting new Z® represents the essence of the Nissan brand, just as the original
240Z did nearly 40 years before,” said Castignetti. “It provides passionate
performance at an excellent value – just what was needed then and just what sports
car enthusiasts are looking for today.”
Early Spy Shots