The 2009 Nissan Z has finally been revealed and we've got the official photos to prove it. But how much can you tell by looking at a photo? As it turns out, a lot actually.
The most obvious changes are the new boomerang-shaped headlamps, which match the design language established with the 2009 Nissan Maxima. The Z takes the concept a step further by mirroring the design with boomerang shaped taillights, as well. I didn't think that I'd like it, based on the spy shots, but they look pretty good in the official shots.
Other more subtle changes include a more aggressive downward slope on the roofline, which somehow manages to echo the roofline of the Nissan GT-R, while maintaining a silhouette that is even more reminiscent of the 1970s Nissan/Datsun 240Z than the outgoing model. The front air dam and hood also have notes of GT-R musculature. The new Z also appears to have a slightly shortened wheelbase, which may make this it more eager to rotate than the old Z.
As iconic as the old Z is, I've always thought that it looked very German in its design, with its conservatively athletic looks and well-defined edges. This new Z's whole aesthetic is more techno-organic and instantly recognizable as Japanese in a way that only giant robots and cars like the GT-R and the Acura NSX can be. It's as though someone stretched the skin of a GT-R over the bones of a classic Z.
Like the outgoing model, it is officially known as the "Z Coupe" in all media materials, but a quick zoom on the high-res photography reveals that this is the 370Z, powered by the VQ-series 3.7 liter V-6 that currently motivates the Infiniti G37. So, we can expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 330 horsepower and a fat torque curve.
Moving on to the interior, we see more of an evolution of the previous model's aesthetic. The bones of the interior configuration remain the same, but the areas where the driver is in direct contact with the vehicle (the steering wheel, the center stack, and the shifter assembly) have been revised with a more organic design. A push button starter looks to have a permanent home on the center stack.
The LCD in the dashboard appears to be the same 7-inch touch-screen unit that we've seen in the new Maxima and across the Infiniti line, which means that hard-drive navigation and Nissan's Music Box audio storage will most likely be making their way to the Z.
The 2009 Z Coupe (370Z) will be officially unveiled at the 2008 LA Auto Show. We'll have more details as our coverage continues.