Dan Scanlan road tests the 370Z NISMO and delivers the good news…and bad!
The bad news? Yutaka “Mr. K” Katayama, once head of Nissan U.S.A. and the “Father of the Z” since he pushed for the first 240Z to come stateside in 1970, died as I was testing its great-grandson six times over. The best way to cheer and tear is drive a sports car,so I did.
Third time’s the charm with some GT-R-inspired aerodynamic body pieces better integrated into the overall body shape than the last version. The most notable change is the loss of the last-gen’s three-inch-longer drooped snout and tall vision-robbing tail spoiler. That means 170.5-inches-long vs. the ‘14 model's 173.4 inches, yet still 3 inches longer overall than a standard 2015 370Z.
The car sits on low-profile Bridgestone Potenza S001 P245/40R19-inch front and wider P285/35R19-inch rear tires. In back, a more subtle spoiler at the base of the fastback window. The rear fascia gets deeper, wider side vents and a redesigned lower fascia with red accents that frame big twin exhaust tips. Other NISMO touches include metallic black side mirrors with red stripes and signature NISMO red stripe accents.
The seven-inch VGA touch screen gets navigation, Sirius TravelLink weather/traffic/fuel economy and a good six-speaker Bose sound system (two subwoofers) with AM-FM-SiriusXM-CD as well as Bluetooth audio. It’s all voice commandable, albeit a dated system. There are MP3 and USB inputs in the slim center armrest storage area. Behind the seats, storage shelves and a flip-out door with small compartment. Sporty accents include ribbed aluminum gas, brake pedal and dead pedal. The steeply raked rear window with wide rear pillars makes rear and lane change vision difficult. At least there’s a back-up camera.
The soul of a Z has always been its engine, and the NISMO’s is a 350-horsepower/3.7-liter DOHC V-6 with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL). The NISMO Z gains 18-hp over the base Z’s 332-horsepower thanks to an H-configured exhaust design with new muffler tuning and engine calibration. Torque is rated at 276 pound-feet.
A base Nissan 370Z Coupe starts at $29,900, while a base NISMO version with six-speed manual starts at $41,990 and $43,290 brings you the seven-speed automatic. Our Tech Package-equipped model, with navigation, back-up camera, Bose audio system and HomeLink transmitter, started at $45,490. That comes with the leather and Alcantara Recaro bucket seats, a/c, power windows/door locks/mirrors, performance tires and wheels, aerodynamic aides and 350-horsepower. Our test car had few extras, making its final price $47,835.
Check out the latest Nissan Z-Car models, http://www.nissanusa.com/sportscars/z-coupe
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