In the first full redesign of the Nissan Z since its re-introduction in 2003 (as 350Z), the new 370Z now sports a shorter wheelbase, greater use of lightweight body materials, new engine with more horsepower and a new 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, as well as the world’s first synchronised down/up shift rev control system for the manual transmission. 

Nissan is also keen to point out that the Nissan 370Z pays homage to the original 1970 240Z with its upswept line on the new rear quarter window.

“The fresh character of the Nissan 370Z is immediately apparent in the crisp new exterior design, which is sportier yet still immensely identifiable as a Z,” said Pierre Loing, Nissan’s European Vice President for Product Planning.

“The new 370Z builds on the best features of both the first and last generation’s Z–cars – respectful but not retro, simple yet sophisticated, and unmistakeably Z.”

The new Z’s wheelbase is nearly 100mm shorter than the previous generation Z (2550mm versus 2650mm), accomplished by moving the rear wheels forward in the 2nd generation FM platform, while overall length is reduced by 70mm (4250mm versus 4320mm).  At the same time, the overall width has been increased by 33mm and the rear track by 55mm. 

The more compact exterior dimensions and expanded use of lightweight materials help reduce weight, while at the same time the body structure has been extensively reinforced, improving rigidity.

Nissan says the exterior design incorporates intentional 240Z styling cues, a sleek aerodynamic shape, a ‘dynamic motion’ feel with a dramatic cantilevered roof (with Nissan GT-R styling cues) and a ‘low visual gravity’.

As its new moniker suggests, the new 370Z is now powered by a 3.7-litre VQ37VHR engine with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift). Along with its larger displacement, the new engine gives better power delivery all the way to the 7,000rpm redline, improved low-end power and more high-end torque, creating an entirely new driving experience, Nissan says.

Approximately 35 percent of the engine’s parts are new, versus the previous design. Power is rated at 331PS, while torque is 366Nm. Engine output figures for Europe are subject to homologation.

The new engine is backed by a choice of two new advanced transmissions, both designed to improve driver performance.  The newly improved close-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox includes the world’s first synchronised down/up shift rev control system, which allows drivers of any skill level to experience perfectly smooth gear shifts every time.  The ‘Synchro Rev Control’ function 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.

“This exciting new Z represents the essence of the Nissan brand, just as the original 240Z did nearly 40 years before,” said Loing.  “It provides passionate performance at an excellent value – just what was needed then and just what sports car enthusiasts are looking for today.”

See also: INTERVIEW: Victor Nacif, Nissan Design America