Nissan 370Z

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Read the Nissan 370 Nismo car review

Road Test

Nissan 370Z Nismo driven

Driven September 2013

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Time to set the record straight: Nismo isn't the equivalent of BMW's M or Audi's RS divisions. Those are the words straight from Nissan's very own mouth. No, the buzzword over there is now "accessible performance", which is why this new 370Z Nismo isn't a fire-spitting, spine-shattering loon. Disappointed?

If such Marketing Newspeak as "accessible performance" chills your enthusiasm, park it for a moment and take in the facts. This new Zed is a tweaked version of Nissan's big-hearted, lovable ol' lug of a sports coupe, showing off a little bit of what Nismo is capable of.

As such, the tweakery begins underneath. The 3.7-litre V6 gets a remapped ECU and a new dual exhaust system, liberating a few extra horses. Power and torque both rise marginally - to 340bhp and 274lb ft, respectively - while the shocks are 23 per cent stiffer at the front and 41 per cent at the back. The front springs are also more rigid - 14 per cent more, in fact - and the whole car sits 10mm lower.

Then you get a new set of 19in lightweight alloys (0.8kg and 0.1kg lighter front and back), coupled to a proper, functional aero bodykit. No trinketry here: the new front splitter, rear diffuser and lovely rear wing help bring about negative lift (which, in Normalspeak, is downforce) for added stability.

A lot of intent, and, in practice, it has made the car... a fraction more agile, a smidgen harder, a whisker sharper. The steering, never the most talkative rim in the world of sports coupes, is nevertheless more responsive, and the ride feels tauter, harder but not painful. The fine damping will no doubt absolve the need for any post-hot-footed-drive surgery.

Saying that, it can still act the nut if you will it hard enough - the uncouth, tail-happy hooligan we've all come to admire is still ingrained within its DNA. Give it a bootful around a corner, and you can indulge in the kind of crass behaviour conservative Britain frowns upon.

The drivetrain is the first of two disappointments, then. The dual exhaust system hasn't extracted a snarling 'midnight racer' soundtrack. In fact, there's no noticeable difference between this and the standard car, meaning the 3.7-litre's lazy drone will frustrate after a while. Plus, we were kind of expecting more, y'know, poweeerrr...

The second is the price. This car costs a not-inconsiderable £36,995. That's £2.7k off a standard Porsche Cayman, and although the comparison is a tad unfair, the pricing pushes the Nismo into dangerous territory. Sure, you get bags of kit - every option is standard on the Nismo Z, including satnav, rear parking and so on - but it's not really worth £10k more than a standard 370Z, and extra kit isn't really what we thought Nismo was all about. "Accessible performance"? A missed opportunity, more like.

Vijay Pattni


3696cc, 6cyl petrol, RWD, 340bhp, 274lb ft 26.7mpg, 248g/km CO2 0-62mph in 5.2secs, 155mph 1607kg £36,995

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