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First official look: Nissan lays its next Z bare

Zed ahead: Sixth generation of Nissan's sports icon is nearly here.

Nissan's redesigned 370Z Coupe officially emerges ahead of LA show debut next month

29 Oct 2008

TRUE to the form we’ve seen slowly unfold for almost six months, Nissan has revealed full front and rear action pictures, and the futuristic new interior, of the successor to its born-again 350Z Coupe for the first time, ahead of its global public debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19.

Due on sale globally in early 2009, Nissan says the all-new 370Z Coupe represents the first full redesign of its new-generation Z-car since the current model revived the famed sports car nameplate in 2002.

But it has divulged no official details to go with the first three images released today, saying only: “all-new 2009 Nissan 370Z solidifies the strengths of its predecessor with an unmatched balance of performance, style and value”.

Its edgy new body-side profile and familiar but more compact new overall proportions were partially revealed behind a fabric wall hanging back the brand-building ‘Nissan 360’ media event in May.

The new Z then made cameo appearances in a host of disguised spy shots, a grainy camera phone picture from a recent private US preview and even the latest Need for Speed video game just over a week ago.

But the first official pictures confirm the next Z will feature striking new boomerang-shaped lights at both ends, replacing the 350Z’s trademark triangular clusters, while a new Coke bottle-shaped lower window line to replace the current Z’s straight edge and two pairs of even more provocatively pumped-out, almost Porsche 911-like wheel-arches are the other major design features.

There are also obvious GT-R cues, such as the Z's bonnet spears and front air intake styling, and the wheels certainly appear larger than the current car's. Apart from Nissan's official confirmation, a "370Z" rear badge confirm both the model name and its 3.7-litre capacity - up from 3.5.

12 center imageHowever, despite its more compact appearance, it is still not clear whether the rear-drive 370Z two-seater’s wheelbase will be shorter than its predecessor’s 2550mm axle spacing, as is more likely than an arrangement that’s closer to the four-seater GT-R coupe’s 2780mm layout.

As expected, the interior of the Z34-series Zed, the sixth-generation Nissan Z-car since the Datsun Fairlady/240Z was released in 1969, has also come in for a redesign, and does indeed trade in the current model’s extensive plastic trim for a neatly crafted one-piece centre console and stack that features a large high-mounted display monitor and three dash-top gauges.

The current Z’s circular interior theme continues, via a dominant central tacho that has a 7500rpm redline and is flanked by a 280kmh/180mph speedo on the right and an LCD information screen on the left, plus round door-handles, air-vents, gearshift gate and heavily sculpted stitched Alcantara door trims.

In this case the latter are swathed in the same contrasting bright orange colour as the heavily-bolstered, heated and perforated leather-clad sports bucket seats.

The 370Z interior pictured also features a start/stop button, alloy pedals, twin manual driver’s seat base adjustment dials and a complex navigation control system that appears to be borrowed from the Maxima, but the manual-transmission model in question obviously shows no sign of paddle shifters.

Apart from the six-speed manual, the first new Z-car in seven years is also expected to be available with Nissan’s new JATCO-developed seven-speed automatic gearbox – rather than the GT-R’s high-tech dual-clutch system.

Both transmissions will be mated to a variation of the new VQ37VHR 3.7-litre V6 fitted to the Infiniti/Skyline G37 coupe, which develops 245kW at 7000rpm and 363Nm of torque at 5200rpm. Expect its output to be somewhere between that and the force-fed 3GT-R’s 353kW/588Nm.

Nissan’s newest two-door, which should be joined by a convertible version later next year, will be gazumped as the company’s new performance king soon after its early 2009 release here by the twin-turbo all-wheel drive GT-R, which officially goes on sale through 11 exclusive Nissan High Performance Centres in Australia from April, priced at $148,800.

Down the track, the circa-$65,000 370Z Coupe may also be joined by an even more compact and affordable rear-drive replacement for Nissan’s long lamented Silvia, which was last sold here from around $40,000 as the 200SX in December 2003 – 10 months after the Z33-series 350Z Coupe arrived locally.

The hard-top was joined by the circa-$75,000 350Z Roadster soft-top in October 2003. Between them the new-generation Z twins attracted a high of 1662 buyers in the same year, but as is often the case with sporting coupes the 350Z’s popularity has dwindled to just 351 sales after three quarters of this year.

Read more:

First look: Next Z-car in straight-to-video debut

More 370Z facts emerge

Nissan to apply GT-R power to next Z

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