This is the increasingly coherent and self-possessing Nissan 370Z, in flagship Nismo specification.
You’ll remember that as a toe-dipping exercise before really establishing its Nismo performance sub-brand, Nissan gave its now seven-year-old V6 rear-drive coupe an official Nismo-branded motorsport makeover.
The result can best be described as a momentary identity crisis. It involved some fairly serious chassis and body stiffening and some crass-looking aftermarket-catalogue body addenda, and frankly gave this simple muscle coupé rather too much performance attitude for its own good.
Roll on twelve months from that first attempt and, following the wider establishing of the Nismo brand, the opportunity’s been taken to shave some of the misplaced edge off the range-topping Zed. Not that Nissan will admit as much; according to the brochures, this Nismo is the most exciting and dynamic Z-car there has ever been (blah blah blah).
The truth, however, is that the outgoing Nismo version was too noisy, too stiff-legged and too extravagantly bespoilered to fit the bill. It served its purpose in as much as it proved the concept’s sales potential; half of all 370Zs sold in the UK are now Nismos. But as a road car, it needed refinement in more ways than one.
This 370Z Nismo has thicker carpets and better wheelarch insulation – both moves to dampen down the road roar that earlier examples suffered.
It’s got new Recaro bucket seats, too – and outwardly, a more subtle but only marginally less purposeful-looking bodykit, where unique front and rear bumpers and side sills – plus a much less aggressive rear wing – replace the old, apparently do-it-yourself styling add-ons. The other standard equipment includes bi-xenon headlights, automatic wipers, climate control, a Bose sound system and Nissan's Connect Premium infotainment system complete with a 7.0in touchscreen display, sat nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio and a 9.4GB hard drive.
Under the skin, the body braces and upgrades to the braking system and powertrain applied to the last Nismo are carried over, but both spring and damper rates have been reduced. The car’s Rays 19in wheels are also half an inch wider on the rear axle than the ones offered as an option on the standard 370Z.
Weighty controls and a flat, short-travel, heavy-feeling ride are the familiar character traits of this car at low speed. The gearbox retains its substantial, punchy feel, and the steering offers some contact patch feel – although not quite as much as you’d like.