If you ask anyone to describe a Japanese GT car, their inevitable answer will sound a lot like Nissan’s Z car. What began as the Datsun 240Z in 1969 has evolved into the refined and capable 370Z for 2015. Their Nismo Tech edition combines potent and popular options into a track capable daily driver. Here are our thoughts after a week with this new Nissan.
The first 350Z debuted in 2002 and was heavily revised into the 370Z for 2009. Similar in size and shape, this new car shares almost nothing with previous versions. Chassis and suspensions were heavily revised with forged aluminum arms and knuckles, and it made for a comfortable cruiser. For those who demand more of their daily driver, Nissan’s in-house motorsports division, Nismo, has pushed the 370Z to its limits.
For 2015, the Nismo Tech edition is branded as a standalone model thanks to the extensive changes involved in the package. Starting with the bare chassis, Nismo adds reinforcement to the strut towers by installing tuned dampers between the spring perches and the frame rails. These serve to keep the wheels from erupting at launch. Traction control and stability systems arrive early, putting an end to any wheelspin. To test the level of their control we tried our best to heat the rear tires using left foot braking, but the engine power was quickly knocked back to idle.
Starting where it counts the most, the suspension is completely revised. The ride height has been lowered for more control on the track. Cornering is flat and controlled, and it takes a fair amount of effort to get out of shape. Brakes are one area that can never be too big, but Nismo has managed to stuff 14” rotors up front with very grabby pads.
Acceleration has never been an issue for the Z cars, but Nismo has managed to squeeze 350 hp from their venerable VQ 3.7L V6. Our car had the seven-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev-matching. While this feature makes the exhaust note more aggressive, it doesn’t shift any faster than a normal automatic.
Driving the Nismo is a blast. The tuned exhaust has an h-pipe to eliminate resonance and provide a deep soundtrack. Visibility is great, and the driver-centric gauges keep critical information in view. The only area that could use some revision is the infotainment center. Identical to their G37 cousins, the interface and screen are at awkward angles and not intuitive to navigate. Steering wheel controls are the easiest way to use the system, and they are flawless. Eight Bose speakers fill the cabin with XM, FM, Bluetooth or USB.
By pushing this coupe to its limits, Nismo has built a world-class GT car. All options were included in this model, with pricing starting at $47,725. This price positions it well above domestic V8 powered coupes, but still less than the Lexus RC-F. If you have never experienced a Z car in Nismo trim, you won’t regret it. Stay tuned to Autofluence for more Nissan updates.
(Image Source: Nissan)