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Driven: Nissan 370Z Nismo touches down

World War Z: Nissan has released its second model tweaked by its in-house tuning division Nismo, in the form of the 370Z sports coupe.

Nismo-tweaked 370Z coupe marks second model from Nissan’s hi-po division

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Nissan logo1 Sep 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

NISSAN Australia is expecting its new flagship 370Z Nismo coupe to boost the level of interest in the ageing niche sportscar, with the company predicting that the top-spec two-seater will account for about 30 per cent of overall 370Z sales.

Sales of the 370Z range have slid 16.8 per cent year-on-year to 183 units to the end of July, but Nissan Australia corporate communications manager Tony Mee said the Nismo would attract a mix of old and new buyers to the range.

“While we expect some buyers to choose the Nismo over the standard 370Z, we still think this will attract a new buyer and it will add some incremental growth,” he said.

Mr Mee said that Nissan expected about 85 sales of the Nismo 370Z from today’s on-sale date to the end of the Japanese financial year in March next year, with a 65/35 per cent split of auto and manual.

“Already some of the Nissan dealers have been approached by interested customers, and they have seen a spike in calls and showroom traffic surrounding that vehicle, so it’s a positive start for what is more of niche model.”

While the 370Z Nismo was on the cards when the GT-R Nismo was launched at the start of the year, it is unclear what the next performance variant to roll into showrooms will be.

“There’s no talk of confirmation around what the next Nismo product will be and when that will arrive in Australia,” Mr Mee said.

The flagship Nismo 370Z, which adds visual tweaks, a small bump in power and handling upgrades, kicks off from $61,490 plus on-roads for the six-speed manual as part of a range repositioning that sees the entry-level 370Z now kicking off from $49,990 – a $6140 price drop.

Opting for the seven-speed auto Nismo with paddle shifters increases the asking price by $2500 to $63,990 plus on-roads, while no soft-top roadster body style will be offered in Nismo guise.

The upgrades start with the power increase, with an extra 8kW/8Nm squeezed out of the same 3.7-litre naturally aspirated V6 that powers the rest of the 370Z range.

Total output is now 253kW at 7000rpm and 371Nm at 5200rpm, with power being sent to the rear wheels via either a six-speed close ratio manual gearbox with SynchroRev Match function or a seven-speed automatic transmission.

A viscous limited-slip differential is included as standard, as is a carbon-fibre composite driveshaft.

An H-configured exhaust system and muffler tune along with a recalibration of the engine control module are responsible for the bump in power, which Nissan claims reduces back pressure by up to 30 per cent.

Nismo boffins have taken to the 370Z’s suspension system, tuning it with increased spring, dampening and stabiliser rates for more dynamic handling, while body rigidity is improved thanks to the inclusion of a strut tower bar brace and performance dampers.

Stopping power is boosted by Nismo sport bakes with 14-inch front and 13.8-inch rear vented rotors with four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminium callipers.

Fans will be able to immediately identify the Nismo from the regular 370Z by its distinctive bodykit, which includes a revised front and rear fascia, side sills, Nismo rear spoiler, side mirrors, dual exhaust and engine cover and Nismo badging, which contributes to a 12-13kg-weight gain.

Nineteen-inch Nismo forged alloy wheels by Rays come wrapped in Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 rubber, measuring 245/40 at the front and 285/35 rear.

Dimensions of the Nismo have grown by 65mm in length and 25mm in width compared to the 370Z coupe, but weight distribution remains the same at 53/47 per cent front/rear.

The differentiation continues inside with black-and-red Nismo Recaro front seats and steering wheel upholstered in Alcantara and leather, red interior stitching, Nismo tachometer, red highlighted push button start, Bose eight-speaker audio system with two subwoofers and paddle shifters for the auto.

Standard equipment including a 7.0-inch touchscreen, noise cancellation, engine sound enhancement Bluetooth capability and cruise control carry over from the 370Z.

Colours are limited to four options on the Nismo, consisting of Eau Rouge Red, Diamond Black, Brilliant Silver and Shiro White.

The 370Z has just clocked up eight years on the Australian market and is the oldest offering in sub-$80,000 sportscar segment, but it is not the oldest Nissan on offer. That title belongs to the GT-R that hit showrooms just three months before the 370Z.

Nissan’s sporty coupe and convertible offering faces a diverse selection of rivals in its segment, ranging from the more affordable four-cylinder petrol-powered Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, which retail from $30,790 and $32,990 respectively, as well as Ford’s top-selling Mustang.

Like the Nissan, the Mustang is offered in hard-top or drop-top body styles and ranges in price from $45,990 to $65,916, depending on the variant.

Other competitors from the premium sportscar segment include Nissan’s sister brand Infiniti’s new Q60, the Audi TT, Lexus RC or BMW’s recently defunct Z4.

2017 Nissan 370Z Nismo pricing*
Coupe$61,490
Coupe (a)$63,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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