A harder, faster Nissan 370Z has been a long time coming, and this new Nismo-tuned version is just that.
Don’t get too excited, though: the 3.7-litre V6 engine only gains an extra 16bhp. But then the 323bhp standard 370Z was never exactly short on power.
The increase to 339bhp comes courtesy of some ECU changes and a 10mm increase in the diameter of the exhausts. That means fuel consumption and CO2 emissions remain the same as for the regular coupe, at 26.7mpg and 248g/km.
But the slight bump in power has helped to shave one-tenth from the 0-62mph time – the Nismo completes the benchmark sprint in 5.2 seconds – while its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.
Nissan is keen to point out that while its new range of Nismo models – which also includes the Juke Nismo – has to remain accessible to a wide customer base, it must be more driver focused than before. As a result, the 370Z Nismo isn’t available with the seven-speed automatic box or as a roadster; all you can get is the mechanical-feeling six-speed manual box and a coupe bodystyle.
The 370Z Nismo has been given a visual boost, with a bodykit that not only widens the 370Z by 25mm but, thanks to a protruding lower spoiler and longer rear bumper, adds 150mm to the length. The bodykit isn’t there just for visual aggression, either; it also helps to generate downforce, improve air flow under the body and generate greater high-speed stability.
If this car looks vaguely familiar, that’s because we featured a 370Z Nismo in 2009. Back then it was a US-only model – this new car has been designed specifically for Europe.
To sharpen the handling, lighter 19-inch alloy wheels have been fitted, while the suspension has been lowered by 10mm. The dampers are also stiffened by 23 per cent up front and 41 per cent at the rear. Five additional body braces give that stiffer suspension a more rigid base to work from, too.
The trade-off is a busier low-speed ride, but it’s rarely harsh and smooths out significantly when you up the pace.
The steering has improved, too, offering more immediate reactions, while the Nismo’s rear wheels are as happy as ever to break traction and dictate the car’s trajectory if you switch off the stability system.
You’ll barely notice the increased power on the road. The engine revs with greater urgency, although it doesn’t sound quite as exciting as we’d hoped – a gruff noise drowns out the exhaust note, even with those wider pipes.
Inside, there’s masses of equipment included as standard. You get a numbered plaque, some red highlighting on the instruments and Nismo badging. Plus, there’s a leather and Alcantara-covered steering wheel. The reversing camera is also a handy addition, as the big, boot-mounted spoiler dominates the rear view.