Nissan has introduced a low-cost competitor into the high-performance sportscar scene. The bargain priced Nissan 370Z Nismo will sell from only $61,490 for the six-speed manual and $63,990 for the seven-speed paddle-shift automatic. This is around $8000 less than had been anticipated when Nissan Australia confirmed to us Nismo would definitely be coming here a few months back.
Based on the standard Nissan 370Z, which is already astonishingly cheap for this class with a tag starting at just $49,990. The Nismo edition has added power, revised suspension, wider tyres, bigger brakes, an attractive body kit and Recaro trimmed interior.
This version of the evergreen Nissan Z-car series (which dates back almost 50 years) comes from the Nissan Motorsports division of the Japan giant.
Nismo took the regular 3.7-litre V6 engine and added an extra eight kW of power and eight Nm of torque by fitting a dual sports exhaust system and re-tuning the ECM (Engine Control Module) calibration. Back pressure is reduced by as much as 30 per cent.
Even better is the improved engine note. We did an excellent drive program arranged by Nissan Australia for the media launch of the Nismo. This took us from Brisbane airport into the scenic hinterland to Kilcoy and back. The snap and snarl of the engine when worked hard was delightful.
Outputs are 253 kW at an impressive 7400 rpm, and 371 Nm at 5200 revs.
The 370Z Nismo’s front and rear suspension have sports tuning with increased spring, dampening and stabiliser rates. Added stability to let the suspension work on a stiff platform is provided by the addition of a strut tower bar brace.
Like a good old-fashioned sportscar the 370Z grips the road with plenty of determination, corners nicely with plenty of chassis balance. Steering feel is excellent, though some may find it rather heavy, particularly at lower speeds.
The big Nismo has a harsh-ish ride of uneven surfaces and there’s quite a bit of road-roar on coarse-chip roads. Sound like criticism? It’s not, we really like the raw nature of the big Nissan. This is not grand tourer, it’s the real deal.
In any case if you’re not the full-on sportscar driver wanting to challenge yourself, then Nissan will be happy to sell you a regular 370Z.
Nismo sports brakes with 14-inch front and 13.8-inch rear vented rotors, with four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminium calipers haul off speed hard when you find you’re carrying a fair bit of speed and a tight hairpin is approaching.
Most of our driving was done in a six-speed manual – yippee! However we were good boys and took the wheel of a seven-speed auto for a while to see what it felt like. The auto is competent enough, but just doesn’t suit this sort of car.
Though the regular Nissan 370Z is sold as a coupe or roadster the Nismo only comes with the closed body. It wouldn’t make sense to have a heavier, less rigid body to house the performance package.
A major reason for the introduction of the Nismo to Australia is the continued sales success of the Ford Mustang. Many had predicted the very affordable American pony car would sell like hotcakes in its earliest days, then sales would dwindle rapidly once the “first kid on the block to own one” stage passed.
That didn’t happen, so Nissan Oz is pretty smart in getting in for a piece of the action. We loved the old fashioned sound and feel of the 370Z Nismo and suggest anyone who is halfway interested gets down to their favourite dealer asap.