After its first full redesign since its re-introduction as a 2003 model in 2009, the Nissan 370Z Coupe returns in 2011 with just one change – the addition of a RearView Monitor to its Navigation Package.
In 2009, nearly every piece and component was 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 technology features.
“In 2009, the fresh character of the Nissan 370Z™ was immediately apparent in the crisp new exterior design, which was sportier yet still immensely identifiable as a Nissan Z,” said Mark McDade, Director, Marketing, Nissan Canada Inc. “Feedback on the new Z was immediately positive, leading to only minor revisions for 2010 and again for 2011 which should further solidify it as the ‘Everyday Sports Car,’ and target segment-leading performance and value.”
Exterior: Not Just Sculptural, Functional
The 2011 370Z™’s dynamic styling offers dual benefits – an aggressive appearance and a light, tight structure for enhanced performance. The 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 was reduced by 2.7 inches (167.1 inches versus 169.8 inches). At the same time, the overall width was increased by 1.3 inches, the rear track by 2.2 inches and overall height reduced by 0.3 inches, giving the 370Z its aggressive stance.
The coefficient of drag is 0.30 (0.29 with the Sport Package), the same as the previous generation 350Z™ Coupe. The 2011 Z Coupe also features 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.
“The 2011 370Z™ still incorporates all of the signature Z elements – the long nose, canopy cockpit, muscular fenders, vertical door handles,” said McDade. “The only change for 2011 is the addition of the RearView Monitor which will make reversing that much easier and safer.”
One of the most distinctive features of the bold 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 standard.
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 colours: Hakone White, Prussian Blue, Airstream, Magnetic Black, Solid Red, Gun Metallic and Black Rose.
A Driver’s Cockpit Equipped To Make Car and Driver Feel Like One
The interior design of the 2011 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 McDade.
The traditional 2-seat layout is built around a deeply scooped instrument panel with a full-length centre console separating the driver and passenger’s seat. In the rear is a covered cargo area with enhanced storage and accessibility. The design focus incorporates a “layer concept,” with an information layer, an operation layer and a holding layer.
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.
The operation layer includes the steering wheel, shifter and switchgear. The steering wheel is an “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.
Both the driver and passenger’s seats are structured with an anti-slip material in the main seating surface. The heated, leather-appointed seats feature standard 8-way driver’s/4-way passenger adjustments. Adjustable front seat Active Head Restraints are also standard.
Interior packaging is also enhanced from the previous generation, with a new In-cabin Microfilter 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 centre console box with a new non-intrusive cover design, automatic climate control, rear window defroster with timer, two 12-volt power outlets, three beverage holders (two in door panels, one in centre console), dual overhead map lights and illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls.
The optional Sport Package includes Synchro Rev Match, 19-inch RAYS Super-lightweight Alloy wheels, Nissan Sport Brakes, and Front Chin and Rear Spoiler.
The optional Navigation (NAVI) Package includes the new RearView Monitor, touch-screen Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive, USB Integrated Interface System for iPod?, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio and Auxiliary audio/video input jack.
The New Standard of “Everyday” Performance
Nissan’s “Everyday Sports Car” features the fourth generation of Nissan’s award-winning VQ-series V6. The 3.7-litre 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.
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 “growl” from the dual exhaust system due to reduced back pressure, enhancing driving enjoyment.
The engine is backed by a choice of two advanced transmissions, both designed to improve driver performance. The 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 Sport Package.
“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 McDade.
The 2011 370Z™’s 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 3.7-litre engine and advanced new transmissions puts the Z solidly at the front of the class in terms of responsive acceleration,” said McDade.
Estimated fuel economy is 11.6 L/100km City and 7.7 L/100km Highway for the Manual transmission and 11.1 L/100km City and 7.5 L/100km Highway for the Automatic transmission.
The double-wishbone 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 stiffer and lighter than previous generations, with the rear cradle entirely integrated into a single part (no welding). “High response” shock absorbers are utilized on each corner, with ride comfort improved through reduced shock friction.
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 front/P275/35R19 tires.
The Z’s already advanced braking system was upgraded in 2009 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 (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 2011 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 2011 370Z™’s model line-up is straight forward, with just one model – the 2011 370Z™ Touring.
The 370Z™ Touring features 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) and aluminum pedals to the long list of standard Z features and equipment.
Two option packages are offered: The optional Sport Package includes Synchro Rev Match, 19-inch RAYS Super-lightweight Alloy wheels, Nissan Sport Brakes, and Front Chin and Rear Spoiler. The Navigation (NAVI) Package includes the RearView Monitor, touch-screen Nissan Hard Drive Navigation System with 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive, USB Integrated Interface System for iPod?, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio and Auxiliary audio/video input jack.
“This Z represents the essence of the Nissan brand, just as the original 240Z™ did nearly 40 years before,” said McDade. “It provides passionate performance at an excellent value – just what was needed then and just what sports car enthusiasts are looking for today.”
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