Z tradition

Nissan has been building Z cars since 1969, starting with the 240Z. For the 2009 model year, Nissan has launched the latest iteration of this car, the 370Z, replacing the 350Z launched in 2002.

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2009 Nissan 370Z

The 370Z is Nissan's dedicated sports car. It's a two-seater with a little extra cargo room in back. There isn't a roadster version yet--Nissan will continue selling the convertible version of the 350Z.

Published:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Changes

Nissan made significant changes to the Z for the 2009 model year, widening the track, shortening the wheelbase, and taking some weight out.

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GT-R touches

The 370Z borrows a number of design touches from the GT-R launched last year, including these boomerang headlights. The taillights have a similar design.

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Upgraded engine

The previous model used a 3.5-liter V-6. Nissan ups that to a 3.7-liter V-6 using variable lift and timing on the intake valves. This engine puts out 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.

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Reshaped body

Nissan gave the Z a longer nose and a faster back for the 2009 model year, a significant reshaping over the previous car. The 370Z looks like a mini-GT-R.

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Suspension

Cornering is very good in this car because of its sport-tuned suspension, V-brace under the rear of the car, and wide tires, but long runs on the freeway can be uncomfortable.

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Cargo area

The cargo area is long and wide, but too shallow to hold big bags.

Published:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Sports car cabin

The fit and finish in the cabin feels very good, and this is definitely a sports car cockpit. The seating position is nice and low to the ground.

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Tight steering

The steering is very tightly tuned, and exhibits oversteer. It doesn't take much input to change the car's direction.

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Instrument cluster

Appropriate for a sports car, the tachometer is front and center on the instrument cluster, with the speedometer off to the side.

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Gauge pods

As in the previous model, three pods rise from the center dash. Two show gauges for battery and temperature, while the third has a clock.

Published:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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Six-speed manual

Our car had a six-speed manual. This transmission uses an innovative feature called SynchroRev Matching, which blips the throttle during downshifts so you don't lose engine speed. A seven-speed automatic is available.

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Stock stereo

The stock stereo is pretty poor. Its single CD player doesn't even read MP3 CDs. But the unit does have an auxiliary jack in the face plate.

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Navigation option

This picture is from the new Nissan Maxima, showing the hard drive-based navigation system and controls that are also available in the 370Z.

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Rear visibility

Rearward visibility is very poor in the 370Z, with just a gun-slit view in the mirror.

Published:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
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