Shorter, lower, more powerful and cheaper than the model it replaces, the new 370Z is poised to take Nissan's 40-year-old Z-car heritage to a new level.
Launched in New Zealand this month, it replaces the 350Z, which revived the Z-car label here in 2003.
As its name suggests, the 370Z sports a new engine. It is a 3.7-litre development of the 3.5-litre unit that powered the 350Z, now featuring a VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) system. Peak power is up to 245kW (from 206kW for the original 350Z) while torque peaks at 363Nm, and thanks to the VVEL system, has a much improved spread from low to high revs.
Helped also by the 370Z being lighter, economy improves at the same time as power rises, with the 10.4 litres per 100km standard cycle return for the manual-transmission version representing a 10% improvement over the 350Z.
The manual remains a six-speed, while the automatic, which comes with paddle-shift controls on the steering column, now features seven forward ratios. Both transmissions feature Nissan's unique SynchroRev Match system, which is designed to achieve smooth and rapid up- and down-shifts without fail.
Keeping the same aggressive look, based on a long bonnet and muscular flaring around its rear haunches, the 370Z is 100mm shorter than the 350Z in the wheelbase. It is also wider in both the front and rear track, with the latter increasing by 15mm and the latter by 55mm. There
are 19-inch alloy wheels all round, with 245/40R19 front and 275/35R19 rear tyres.
Weight savings have been made through a greater use of aluminium, both in the suspension and for the bonnet, doors and rear tailgate.
Safety innovations include a "pop-up'' bonnet that deploys to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision.
A keyless entry and go system gives access to the cabin, which features dual front and side airbags, heated power-adjustable seats, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, climate control, and a seven-channel premium sound system.
Pricing has been set at $71,200 for the manual and $73,200 for the seven-speed automatic, representing reductions of around $4500 from the list price of the outgoing 350Z.
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