Nissan 370Z Nismo adds some harder-core appeal, but it feels like too little too late for Nissan’s street-fighting Z

What is it?

The Nissan 370Z Nismo is not, as its makers would like you to believe, an entirely new addition to Nismo’s portfolio. It has existed in the USA since the regular 370Z was introduced back in 2009, and that's despite its coupé and manual-only specification. 

As with the standard manuals, the Nismo features rev-shift, Nissan’s heel-and-toe aping system for those bereft of deft enough feet to do it themselves. If you’re one of them it’ll help smooth the Z’s downshifts, which can be clumsy anyway thanks to the rather weighty springing of the gearshift itself.

That’s always been part of the 370Z’s appeal, though, it feeling rather old-school and demanding in this all to easy new-school world. Nismo’s new target customers might come from gaming, but the Z’s definitely not an uninvolving or digital experience. 

That said, its extra 16bhp over the standard Z comes courtesy of some cheat codes in the ECU. The only physical change, meanwhile, is a freer-breathing sports exhaust. 

Those two pipes get a 10mm increase in diameter but still aren’t intense enough to drown out the engine’s dominant, and not always welcome, sound in the cabin. 

That interior gets a sizeable shot of equipment. Sat-nav and a reversing camera are included in the no-options Nismo, and its status as the sporting flagship inside is highlighted, in red, with Nismo badges. Leather and Alcantara is also liberally smattered around the tough, if not exactly tactile, interior. 

There’s a numbered plaque, too, if such things matter to you. 

Outside, that red highlighting theme continues. The Nismo wears a bodykit which aids the 370Z’s high speed stability by smoothing airflow around and underneath its body. It is difficult to miss, adding a big boot-mounted spoiler and some width to cover those wider rear wheels – the rears are half an inch wider – while a protruding front splitter and rear diffuser add 150mm to the Nismo’s length. 

What's it like?

It’s what’s underneath that matters, though. Nismo has added five body struts to increase the 370Z's rigidity, and suspension changes over the US model have been developed by Nismo’s Japanese engineers with input from the Nissan Technical Centre Europe. 

The result is spring rates increased by 14 per cent at the front, and damper rates that are 23 per cent stiffer at the front, and 41 per cent stiffer at the rear. Despite the greater focus it’s not overly troubled by poor surfaces and its composure and control at speed is impressive. 

The drivetrain remains as dominant as ever, though. The small increase in power barely makes any difference in reality, it dropping 0.1sec for a 5.2sec 0-62mph run. Top speed is pegged electronically at 155mph. 

It feels slightly more eager at higher revs, but the engine’s ever present sound and vibrations are much the same as its non-Nismo relations. So, too, is the Z’s ability to oversteer, which it will do on demand. 

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The steering feels slightly quicker, if little improved for actual feel, while the brakes get the biggest boost with a confidence-inspiring shorter pedal movement and brake fluid and hoses borrowed from the GT-R. 

Should I buy one?

The Nismo delivers a faster, more composed 370Z drive and undoubtedly builds on the standard car’s rambunctious foundations. However, with Nissan’s recent price changes that entry car costs just £26,995 and will provide much the same thrills, if a lot less equipment. 

Nismo, however, is getting into Cayman territory, and while the Porsche is out-gunned on both performance and kit by the overt Nissan, it’s out-pointed on the road. 

Nic Maher

Nissan 370Z Nismo

Price £36,995; 0-62mph 5.2sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 26.7mpg; CO2 248g/km; Kerb weight 1535kg; Engine V6, 3696cc, petrol; Power 339bhp at 7400rpm; Torque 274lb ft at 5200rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

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rvtrailers 17 June 2013

The regular 370Z now looks a

The regular 370Z now looks a bargain compared with cars like the GT86, but this Nismo version has to compete with the M135i

toptidy 16 June 2013

Way too expensvie

Why would anyone pay £10,000 for an extra 16 bhp and a 0.1 second advantage from 0-60?

The regular 370Z now looks a bargain compared with cars like the GT86, but this Nismo version has to compete with the M135i which is about £5,000 cheaper...

I know which I would buy, and it would not be the Nismo.

Driving 15 June 2013

kitted yet cheap for a sports car

for the money, definitely worth it. classic front engine rear drive 2 seater