As the 370Z heads into its twilight years we are going to be looking at the 2015 370Z NISMO as the final act from a great show. That aside, the latest 370Z NISMO is a compelling package, it looks great, takes a corner with verve, and gets an upgrade on the inside. Here are our impressions from a drive we took to Las Vegas for the 2014 SEMA show. What trip out in the desert would be complete without a stop at Route 66?
The Nissan 370Z NISMO is a quick car at 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. The 3.7-liter V6 engine is a real delight: quick to rev, a handy torque curve, and a bit more power than the standard car. When you press the loud pedal it will reward you by pushing you back into your seat. When you do that on the track you’ll be able to sweep the asphalt with many more famous and more expensive cars. The exhaust note is a delight, offering just the right amount of raspy crackle without annoying the neighbors.
The NISMO engineers have crafted a much more responsive car. The suspension is significantly stiffer and combined with a wider stance and a lower center of gravity the car is so composed about corners with a fantastic amount of grip. I haven’t even mentioned the massive new brakes that pull you to a stop in an instant and body hugging Recaro bucket seats that make sure you don’t go anywhere when diving into those corners.
As to the exterior the superlatives keep on coming with a swooping front end and a neat rear spoiler which certainly attracts onlookers when walking by and stopping to refuel. The GT-R -inspired front end is now sharper and menacing, thanks to a larger grille flanked by LED daytime running lights and blade-like air vents that channel air to help cool the front brakes. The air-splitter mounted under the bumper has morphed into a three-piece element, with the lateral sections that connect to the lower side of the grille gaining red, contrasting inserts.
Stepping around to the side, the 370Z NISMO now features red accents in the side skirts and solid black mirrors, as well as redesigned 19-inch Rays Engineering wheels. Around back there’s a redesigned bumper that includes larger vents, a slightly reworked diffuser and, more importantly, an all-new Porsche 911 RS-style ducktail spoiler. The spoiler has been downsized and integrated into the hatch, sitting lower than the one seen on the outgoing model and helping with downforce and also rear visibility.
It does seem the whole car is a combination of looking the best it ever has and being the most performance oriented than it’s ever been.
Upgrades inside the car include a few nice touches to elevate the class of the car a very solid and comfortable red-and-black Alcantara/leather steering wheel paired to matching Recaro seats. The Tech package (which was included on the vehicle we drove) with navigation, Bose audio, Bluetooth connectivity, Homelink, and a very handy backup camera made the car a more livable daily driver.
We have very few complaints about the car. The complaints have nothing to do with the styling or performance. The gear stick is plastic and the orange gauges seem to have been acquired from a cheaper Nissan model. It made us wonder why not go GT-R as opposed to Sentra.
In the end there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, the Nissan 370Z NISMO is very, very good. I don’t want to get too excited, but driving the Nissan 370Z NISMO puts a huge smile on your face. It is one of the best cars I’ve driven all year. It is composed, powerful and fun all at the same time.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe
ESTIMATED BASE PRICE: $45,000
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 226 cu in, 3696 cc
Power: 350 hp @ 7400 rpm
Torque: 276 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 100.4 in
Length: 170.5 in
Width: 72.6 in Height: 51.8 in
Curb weight (C/D est): 3400 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 4.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 11.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.1 sec
Top speed: 155 mph
EPA city/highway: 19/26 mpg