Nissan 370Z has been given a series of subtle but significant changes designed to underline the car's status as one of the most exciting pure bred sports cars on the market and to cement its place as a dynamic leader.
The principal changes are to the chassis of both the Coupé and Roadster versions, to enhance ride comfort and high-speed handling. A new tyre pressure monitoring system enhances safety still further while a rear view camera integrated into the Nissan Premium Connect satellite navigation system makes reversing easier and safer, too.
Other changes include improved isolation of road noise on the Coupé, while automatic versions of both Coupé and Roadster now have a revised 'Snow' setting for enhanced grip when setting off on ice and snow.
"The changes to the 370Z are part of Nissan's programme of continual development to all its products. Perhaps most significantly, the fine tuning of the chassis has been developed in Europe for Europe," said Simon Thomas, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing, Nissan in Europe.
"The Model Year 2011 370Z takes one of the most popular sports cars on the market and make it even more fun to drive."
Model Year 2011 Nissan 370Z in detail
Average speeds in Europe are higher than anywhere else in the world. At the same time, we have some of the most demanding roads on the planet... and some of the poorest road surfaces.
It's a combination of problems relished by chassis engineers from Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE). Fine tuning the Nissan 370Z chassis - double wishbones at the front and a multi-link rear - to suit European tastes has centred on the dampers which have been retuned to enhance ride comfort and high speed handling.
The changes provide significantly improved vertical wheel control resulting in a flatter ride on all surfaces and improved comfort on motorway/autobahn surfaces. In addition, high-speed stability is enhanced with better body control while road noise is better isolated thanks to changes to underbody insulation.
The advanced seven-speed automatic option now has a snow mode. When is use, the car sets off in second gear rather than first to avoid loss of traction. The system also regulates engine revs at low speeds to prevent wheel spin on ice or snow.
Additions to equipment levels include the arrival of a rear-view parking camera as part of the Nissan Premium Connect satellite navigation option and the standard fitment of a tyre pressure monitoring system. The latter is integrated into the dashboard computer display and operates a warning light should tyre pressures fall.
In all other respects, both the Nissan 370Z Coupé and Nissan 370Z Roadster are just as exciting and stylish as the cars launched two years ago.
Following a lead that can be traced all the way back to the 240Z of 40 years ago, 370Z's styling is that of a classic sports car layout featuring a long bonnet, compact cabin, short overhangs and a truncated rear.
Nissan 370Z measures 4245mm from bumper to bumper and sits on a 2550mm wheelbase, exactly 100mm shorter than its predecessor's. At 1315mm tall, it's lower by 10mm while it is wider by 30mm at 1845mm. To ensure the lower roofline doesn't impinge on interior headroom, the seating position has also been lowered, resulting in a lower centre of gravity.
At the same time, the torsional rigidity of the body has increased by up to 30 per cent compared to the 350Z, notably at the front where a bracing bar has been mounted on top of the suspension turrets. Extensive use of aluminium - it's now used for the doors and rear hatch as well as the bonnet - plus other weight saving measures have seen more than 32kg trimmed from the car's all-up mass, despite the addition of extra safety, environmental and luxury equipment.
Engine and transmission
At the heart of the Nissan 370Z is its exceptional 3.7-litre V6 engine. A development of the unit that powered the 350Z, the all-alloy 24-valve twin cam not only develops more power and torque but is also more response, more refined and more fuel efficient.
The addition of VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) technology helps deliver electrifying performance, the engine developing 328 PS and an impressive 366Nm of torque. It is coupled to a short throw six-speed sports manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic.
When in S-Mode, the manual transmission features Nissan's Synchro Rev Control to ensures perfect rev matching when the driver is changing gear, delivering perfect 'heel and toe' changes every time.
Sensors on the clutch and on the gear lever itself monitor driver actions to blip the throttle on down shifts and maintain constant engine revs when changing up. As the sensors detect clutch pedal movement, the SRC system is primed, coming into operation when the gear lever is moved. By matching this information to vehicle speed, SRC knows whether the driver is slowing for a corner or changing up through the 'box.
Downshift Rev Matching is a feature on the automatic gearbox, too, which also has Adaptive Shift Control which learns a driving style and adjust shift patterns accordingly.
Wheels, tyres, steering and brakes
Grip is provided by purpose designed Yokohama Advan sport tyres, in different sizes front and rear. The front tyres are 225/50 R18, with wider 245/45 R18 at the rear. Available as optional equipped are larger RAYs lightweight forged alloy wheels shod with 245/40 R19 and 275/35 R19 Bridgestone Potenza tyres.
A viscous limited slip differential is standard along with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with combines electronically operated traction and stability systems to reduce engine torque and/or apply individual wheel braking if needed. For track day use, VDC can be deactivated via a dashboard switch.
The rack and pinion steering system has also been revised to provide more communicative feedback and better response around the dead ahead position. Now with electric speed sensitive assistance, the steering delivers greater agility around town and enhanced stability at motorway speeds.
Large ventilated discs can be found front and rear - 355mm (14.0 inch) at the front and 350mm (13.8 inch) behind - framed by four piston aluminium callipers at the front and twin piston callipers behind. The dark silver coloured callipers are inscribed with the Nissan name.
A full complement of electronic safety aids includes the latest generation ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
Generous standard equipment levels can be found on 370Zs and includes an engine Start button with Nissan's Intelligent Key, 18-inch cast alloy wheels, sports brakes and a viscous limited slip differential. Seats are electrically adjustable and audio/phone controls are mounted on the steering wheel while Bluetooth connectivity is a standard.
The GT Pack versions add heated and ventilated leather/suede seats, a premium BOSE sound system, cruise control and 19-inch forged alloy wheels. The GT Pack also incorporates Synchro Rev Control technology on the manual version along with Uphill Start Support to ease hill starts.
Among the principal options are Nissan's advanced hard drive-based Connect Premium satellite navigation and music storage system. The 40GB hard drive can store much wider map coverage of Europe at the same time as offering 10GB storage for music files downloaded from personal CD collections. The system incorporates a high-resolution dashboard screen, DVD functionality and iPod USB connectivity and now includes a reversing camera. Also optionally available is Nissan's pioneering Scratch Shield paint, which 'heals' minor scratches to keep the bodywork looking like new.
Nissan 370Z Roadster
By starting design of the Nissan 370Z Roadster at the same time as work began on the Coupé, Nissan designers have been able to ensure the soft-top version has a sophisticated silhouette with better, more natural, integration of the hood into the overall design.
The distinctive result echoes the 'Z character' with a blend of sweeping curves and aggressively short overhangs while the shape of the roof itself flows more naturally into the rear of the car when the roof is in place.
When lowered, it tucks away under a body-coloured hard tonneau cover which also helps to reduce wind turbulence at speed, allowing occupants of the 'double cockpit' to enjoy fully the sounds and sensations of open air performance motoring.
Other design cues already seen on the Coupe have transferred to the Nissan 370Z Roadster. They include the distinctive boomerang LED rear and arrowhead front lights, while familiar 'Z' features such as the vertical door handles, twin tail pipes and 'Z' badges in the side repeaters are also present.
Inside, the driver-focused cabin also boasts many features now synonymous with the Z, such as an engine Push Start button, floor hinged throttle pedal, centrally placed tachometer and three separate hooded dials - now including an oil temperature gauge - sitting centrally on the top of the dashboard and angled towards the driver.
The Nissan 370Z Roadster's roof is fully automatic with no requirement to latch it manually into place. The roof can be lowered at walking speeds and can also be operated from outside the car, by pressing and holding the door-locking button for three seconds. It takes just 20 seconds for the roof to be raised and locked into place or lowered out of sight beneath its tonneau.
The fabric hood has been given a smooth inner lining covering the frame and reducing noise levels, while the system uses a new hydraulic pump that's silent in operation in place of the electric motor used previously.
"At launch, both the Coupé and Roadster were highly acclaimed for their combination of excitement and style. The subtle suspension changes developed specially to meet European demands and tastes - not to mention the enhanced equipment levels - make the 2011 Nissan 370Z more desirable than ever," said Thomas.