More power, lighter weight, more compact dimensions and an optional seven-speed automatic gearbox are key features of Nissan’s redesigned Z-car sports coupe
It’s Nissan’s first full redesign of the Z since it re-introduced it as the 350Z in 2003. Now called the 370Z, the coupe has a shorter wheelbase and makes greater use of lightweight body materials.
It has a new 3.7-litre engine and a synchronised down/up shift rev control system for the manual gearbox.
Styling changes include a more radically-upswept fastback rear that evokes the original 240Z of the late 1960s.
But don’t call the new look retro. Nissan prefers to say the 370Z’s lines are “respectful,” building on the “best features of both the first and last generation Z-cars – respectful but not retro.”
Nissan acknowledges, though, that the exterior design “incorporates intentional 240Z styling cues.”
At 2550mm, the new Z’s wheelbase is 100mm shorter than the 350Z’s (Nissan engineers moved the rear wheels forward). Overall length is down 70mm to 4250mm, but overall width rises by 33mm and the rear track by 55mm.
The more compact exterior dimensions and expanded use of lightweight materials help reduce weight; extensive reinforcing improves body rigidity.
Inside, Nissan has paid attention to the quality of materials used – one of the few criticisms leveled at the accomplished 350Z when it was launched.
It remains a two-seater, with a full-length centre console separating the driver and passenger. In the rear is an open luggage area with increased storage and better accessibility.
The 350Z’s rear suspension strut brace has been replaced by less intrusive structural reinforcements, improving access, and there’s a new shelf behind the seats. A retractable luggage area cover is standard and a locking glovebox has been added.
The 370Z joins the current fad for engine start/stop buttons, hardly surprising given the company’s Renault parentage; the instruments are larger diameter dials and there are “premium-feel materials” on seats, armrest and door trims.
The new engine is a 3.7-litre VQ37VHR V6 with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift). Nissan says it has better power delivery right up to the 7000rpm redline, and both low and high-end torque are improved. Nissan quotes outputs of 331 horsepower and peak torque of 366Nm.
An improved close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox includes a synchronised down/up shift rev control system, which allows drivers of any skill level to make perfectly smooth gearchanges every time.
Synchro Rev Control automatically adjusts engine speed when changing gear to the exact speed of the next gear position, essentially blipping the throttle to smooth out any down/up shifts.
The optional seven-speed automatic gearbox can be operated manually using steering wheel-mounted paddles.
The Nissan 370Z is due to arrive in New Zealand next year.