Nissan 370Z Nismo

New car review by RACQ motoring editor Barry Green.

Bristling with 253KW of power @ 7400rpm and 371Nm of torque @ 5200rpm (8kW and 8Nm up on the regular 370Z), the Nismo is the most powerful Z car ever offered in Australia going back some 50 years.

The Nismo’s 3.7-litre, normally-aspirated V6 is identical to that of the standard 370Z, but gains its extra puff through addition of an exclusive, H-configured exhaust system design and muffler tuning, along with Engine Control Module calibration which reduces back pressure by up to 30 percent. The sprint from 0-100km/h is not much quicker (estimated low-mid five seconds), but the Nismo feels eager to please with a meatier mid-range. On test, it averaged 11.8 litres/100km, just 1.2 above the ADR combined cycle figure.

The Nismo comes dressed to thrill, with sporty fascia/side sills, rear spoiler, dual exhaust, engine cover, 19-inch forged alloy wheels by RAYS, signature badging and a fully-integrated body kit that not only adds to its assertive look, but provides more front and rear downforce.

Inside are black-and-red Alcantara leather-accented Recaro seats; sports steering wheel in the same materials; signature-red interior stitching; and –  on the $2500 seven-speed auto option –  paddle gear shift. Our test car came with good old-fashioned six-speed manual that shifts short and sweet, with clutch pedal pressure that is strong but linear.

The suspension, front and rear, has been dynamically tuned with increased spring, dampening and stabiliser rates, while a rigid body structure, strut tower bar brace and performance dampers are pitched at helping body control.

Not surprising, then, that the Nismo corners harder and flatter on its fat, 285mm-wide rear rubber than we remember the standard 370Z doing, gripping and holding its line resolutely – on smooth, hot mix bitumen. But corrugated, coarse-chip roads are a different matter. Out there, the Nismo feels less tied down, the lack of suspension compliance resulting in it skipping from bump to bump. Ride quality – at any speed – is ultra-firm, even for a sports coupe, and road noise reverberates inside the cabin.

The steering is on the heavy side, but full of feedback and reassurance. Four-piston front and twin-piston rear sports brakes provide the whoa to match the go.

With its normally-aspirated V6, manual gearbox and rear-wheel-drive, the Nismo makes for an unashamed, old-school driving experience. But, it may be a little too uncompromising as an everyday drive for some people. In which case, there’s always the standard 370Z coupe and convertible.

KEY STATS

  • MLP: $61,490 (excludes on-road costs)
  • ENGINE: 3.7-litre VVT V6
  • ANCAP SAFETY RATING: N/A
  • TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 249

FOR

Heightened performance and handling, sharper looks.

AGAINST

Firm ride, no spare wheel (tyre repair kit only).