2009 Nissan 370Z

Rating: 6

BACK IN THE DAY, NISSAN (THEN KNOWN AS DATSUN) RELEASED THE 240Z and changed the image of Japanese sports cars in America. No longer were they considered cheap, economy cars; they now competed with Porsches, Corvettes and Jags in looks and at the track, yet blew them away on price. In 2002 Nissan re-upped with the successful 350Z, and now for 2009, they’re raising the bar with their latest Z-wearing athlete. Say hello to the new 370Z. Not content with making minute changes, Nissan has equipped the new 370Z with technology that you’d only find on cars twice its price. The 370Z is a sports car. It’s not going to coddle you with Bavarian bull leather; it’s going to connect you with the road. Lightweight materials like aluminum (used in the door panels and hood), RAYS forged-aluminum wheels and carbon fiber in the radiator housing and driveshaft combine to reduce the overall weight by 95 pounds over the outgoing 350Z. The trickest part of the new 370Z, however, is the rev-matching, six-speed manual available in the sport package. The system automatically “blips” the throttle for you on downshifts when you push in the clutch, and quite frankly, it will do it better than you. The system is innovative, will impress even the hardest of your boys and is a world first. On the road or the track, the 370Z is composed like an entry-level Porsche, quick like the BMW 135i and cheaper than both of them—especially the Porker. You can go from your garage to the track and back and still have a car as eager as you are, with money left over for a new set of rubber. Just like back in the day, Nissan has nailed it. They’ve found a way to give people a
performance car that is as good as other big-name offerings—for half as much. With a starting price around 30 large, it’s the new standard for sports cars. MICHAEL CRENSHAW