Here’s why the new Nissan Z Nismo doesn’t have a manual gearbox
We’ll take driver involvement over outright quickness, but not everyone agrees
At the unveiling of the new Nissan Z Nismo in Los Angeles on Monday evening, the crowd was buzzing about two things: why was it so unbelievably freaking hot in the event space? And, more importantly, why didn't Nissan fit the Z Nismo with a manual transmission?
For the first question, let's say climate change, not to mention a lack of air conditioning. As for the second, we sought the knowledge of Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist of the Nissan Z and GT-R – a man known throughout the halls of Nissan simply as 'Mr. GT-R'.
Tamura-san explained that Nissan explored the idea of a manual Z Nismo, but the problem was that it would've actually been slower than the base Z.
"To be honest, base car with two pedals [is] faster than Nismo with three pedals," Tamura-san said. "Base, 400hp; quicker than Nismo."
Obviously, off-the-line acceleration and hundredths-of-a-second-slower lap times can't compete with the quintessential driver involvement of six speeds and a stick with which to stir them. And, in fact, Tamura-san agreed.
"Time is not important," Tamura-san said. "But some people said Nismo must be quicker than base."
In any case, the Z’s nine-speed automatic transmission has been beefed up for Nismo duty, and Tamura-san said the gearbox is much quicker to upshift and downshift. It's also worth noting that, despite having 420hp and 384lb ft of torque – increases of 20hp and 34lb ft over the base Z – the Nismo lugs around an extra 155 pounds of ballast.
The Nissan Z Nismo goes on sale later this year, and our best guess is that it'll start around $60,000 – before awful dealer markups, natch. We'll keep our fingers crossed that the better wheels and tires, stiffer chassis components, and extra power will make up for the manual's absence.
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