in 2009 Affordable Sports Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $17,813 - $18,646
Original MSRP: $29,930 - $35,760
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy

2009 Nissan 370Z Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The all-new Nissan 370Z is lighter, faster, and more agile than its predecessor. Critics offer few gripes about its sports car abilities.

  • "Similar to how the Nissan GT-R is a supercar for moderately skilled drivers, Nissan seems to have designed the 370Z as a good beginner track day car. It makes it hard to screw up in a fast corner. " -- CNET
  • "Perhaps more exciting than the gain in power and even the trick transmission is the reduction in weight. Nissan says the 370Z is about 90 lbs lighter than a comparably equipped 350Z, despite being more rigid throughout and meeting tighter (read: weight adding) safety standards. The secret to this accomplishment is aluminum. Nissan engineers used it extensively, including on the hood, rear hatch, and door skins." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

Test drivers are impressed by the new Z coupe's fast acceleration and silky smooth transmission options, but criticize its performance near redline and fuel economy.

The 370Z is powered by a 3.7-liter V6 engine that produces 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Standard on all trim levels is Nissan's Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS), which optimizes engine performance and fuel economy by gauging intake flow and rpm and adjusting valve breathe accordingly. Available transmissions include a SynchroRev Match six-speed manual and a Downshift Rev Matching seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

  • "Nissan bumped up displacement of the Z's V6 by 0.2 liter, giving it a corresponding 26-hp jump in output, to 332 hp. Peak torque increases just 2 lb-ft, at a slightly higher rev point (270 at 5,200 rpm) than in the 3.5-liter engine, but it certainly feels as if the car has more thrust off the line. It launches with exuberance; the revs swell quickly and shoot the car down the asphalt the moment the tires bite down, the torque thick all the way to its 7,500-rpm redline and 60 mph coming up in the low-five-second range." -- AutoWeek
  • "...the engine delivers more power at lower rpm, which was one of the reasons it was difficult in the snow. However, when the pavement was dry, this car flew. The daily commute got a whole lot more fun." -- The Detroit News
  • "The most interesting update in the drivetrain lies, surprisingly, in the manual transmission. Whereas most sports car manufacturers of late have tried to make their slushboxes behave more like manuals, Nissan has updated its old-fashioned 6-speed with an automatic-like feature: downshift rev-matching. When a driver selects a lower gear and lifts up on the clutch, the 370Z will automatically respond with a blip of the throttle. The result is a perfect heel-to-toe shift - every time and for every driver. Of course, there will be a way to shut off this feature for those who can't stand even this bit of modern intrusion.  And those who want to skip the clutch pedal altogether can opt for a new 7-speed automatic with manual mode and, for the first time in a Z-car, paddle shifters." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "At the track, the 370Z easily outpaced its predecessor: 0.3 second quicker to 60 mph, a half-second quicker to 100. What we have here is a $35,000 car that accelerates to 60 mph a mere 10th behind a Porsche Cayman S." -- Car and Driver
  • "Naturally, there are a few characteristics of the new Z with which we're not entirely enamored. The VQ engine, while more powerful and polished than its predecessor, still exhibits a coarseness near redline. Further, that coarseness rears its unwelcome head in the gearbox and pedals, transmitting a slight vibration to your hands and feet when firing off high-rpm shifts. One remedy, however, is to opt for the new seven-speed automatic with paddles shifters and a downshift rev-matching system." -- Motor Trend
  • "With little drama we made it the next 200 miles to San Francisco, with the trip computer reporting an unimpressive 18.5 mpg." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

The 370Z's sporty handling dynamics leave test drivers thrilled -- though its rigid suspension garners mixed reviews.

  • "Its organic steering is a model of linearity and responsiveness. Its brakes, with a variable-ratio pedal, are stout and easy to modulate, whether decelerating gently for a red light or aggressively for a hairpin. Its grip is immense, rendering instant turn-in and near-absent understeer. The most alluring aspect of the new Z is the sense it imparts: It feels sharp, direct, and balanced, a well-honed santoku knife to the 350Z's blunter and bulkier cleaver." -- Motor Trend
  • "All of the grip of the current car is evident in the 370Z, if not more so, aided by a track widened by 2.2 inches (to 62.8). And although the wheelbase has been chopped by 3.9 inches (to 100.4), the car feels seriously planted; driving it is simply a thrill.  ... Whereas the current car nearly bangs over any road imperfection, the 370Z smooths the harshest edges without sacrificing its fiendish agility. The ride is civilized, the handling roguish." -- AutoWeek
  • "The 370Z looks good on the road, but it's not particularly comfortable on a long freeway trip.  ... Here the sporty handling and the notchy shifter of the 370Z didn't come into play, but the rigid sports car suspension made itself known. We began to envy our colleague, following the same route in a Lexus RX400h." -- CNET
  • "The ride takes a little getting used to because it's bumpier than I'd prefer for a daily driver, but excellent for the weekend speedster." -- The Detroit News
  • "Drifters will be happy to know that it's still easy to clutch-pop the new Z into an elegant slide, while freeway commuters can take comfort in the car's smooth ride quality. The car recorded phenomenal handling numbers, eclipsing those of the Cayman S. It registered 0.97g on the skidpad and ran through the slalom in 71.4 mph." -- Road and Track
  • "With this hardware, the pedal elicits strong, linear response. After hammering the brakes on back roads all afternoon, I noticed only moderate brake fade." -- Cars.com