As good as Nissan’s 370Z is as a sports car, and it is one of the finest on the market today, there are still going to be enthusiasts who are seeking just a little more in the way of performance and driving traits.
Available only as a coupe, the 370Z NISMO -- NISMO is an acronym for Nissan Motorsport, the company’s racing folks -- offers increased horsepower, suspension refinements, and racing-inspired design elements inside and out to set it apart from the base model Z.
The 370Z NISMO is tuned to get 350 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque out of its 3.7-liter V6 power plant -- 18 more hp than in the base 370’s 352 (torque is the same) -- and the stiffer suspension provides better road feel without creating a harshness to the ride.
Zero-to-60 mph times are in the five-seconds-or-better range, and you can corner with confidence. Fuel figures are a somewhat thirsty 18 miles-per-gallon city, 26 highway.
NISMO design touches include an extended front nose, a unique rear bumper and rear spoiler, red pinstripe accents and NISMO badging, a red NISMO tachometer, a distinctive seat design with NISMO logos, an Alcantra-wrapped steering wheel with a red center marking, and aluminum-trimmed pedals.
In other words, a complete package of upgrades.
The only transmission offered is a six-speed manual that features Nissan's SynchroRev Match system. When set by the push of a button, this system adjusts engine revs when downshifting, essentially "blipping" the throttle for you.
"It provides a smoother downshift so it's less disruptive to the chassis and everything when you're downshifting like going into a corner," says John Curl, senior manager for small cars/sports cars/electric cars of Nissan Product Planning. "It does that little 'blip' for you. You don't have to be such an articulated person with your heel and toe to get that rev matching.
"You just bring it down into that next gear and off you go!"
Hint: It's nice, but not really necessary, especially for ordinary day-to-day driving.
Standard features on the 370Z include push-button start, power windows with one-touch up/down, automatic climate control, four-speaker audio system, and a three-pod instrument cluster (oil temperature, voltmeter, and clock) atop the center stack.
Without a navigation system (not available on NISMO models), you get a small space for storage of small items like house key, change, etc., all within handy reach, but the cover for the space interrupts the flow of the dash and looks a bit odd, like a jury-rigged afterthought.
Admittedly, designers couldn't leave the hole in the dash created by the absence of a nav system, but they need to come up with something better than this.
One nice touch: the display for the rearview camera is incorporated into the rearview mirror. It's a $790 port-installed accessory.
With a base price tag of $43,810 (including destination and delivery), the NISMO edition is nearly $14,000 more than the base 370Z coupe and almost $7,000 more than a 370Z Touring model.
But you pretty much get the complete NISMO for the base price. Aside from such items as NISMO carpeted floor mats, a carpeted trunk mat, an illuminated kick plate and the rearview camera, the only major option is a Bose Package for the audio system that doubles the number of speakers for $1,350.
A fully equipped 370Z NISMO will top out at just over $46,000, which is around $3,000 more than a completely tricked out Touring model. Unless you simply must have a nav system, that's a reasonable price to pay for the extras you get with the NISMO.