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New Nissan Z Nismo revealed as high performance sports car

Sporty retro-chic Nissan Z gets a Nismo upgrade with more track focus, but it's not coming to the UK

Nissan has revealed a high performance Nismo version of its reborn Z sports car, adding a selection of track-capable chassis and powertrain upgrades to the 2-seater sports car. Unfortunately, like a standard Z the Nismo is not homologated for European markets, so still won’t be available in the UK or Europe, but we can at least peer over the figurative fence to see what we’re missing out on.

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Key upgrades to the Z Nismo concern both the powertrain and chassis, starting with a small tweak to the standard car’s twin-turbocharged 3-litre V6 engine which has been boosted to 420bhp, a 20bhp rise over the base car. Torque is also up 46Nm to 521Nm, all achieved with small modifications to the engine management system focusing on the ignition and wastegate, as well as uplifts to the turbochargers that now produce slightly more boost. This is backed up by an improved cooling system, including an engine oil cooler for the first time which will help on a long track day session. 

The six-speed manual is not available on the Nismo, making the nine-speed automatic the sole transmission option. Its software has been given an overhaul, with Nissan promising faster and more aggressive shifts in the new Sport+ mode. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential. 

Nissan has uprated the braking package, with larger discs on both axles and a more aggressive pad compound. There’s also wider and stickier Dunlop track-focused tyres that were also used on the last Nismo GT-R, which wrap a lighter 19-inch forged Rays wheel design.

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The chassis structure itself has been reinforced, with thicker front and rear strut braces as well as additional underfloor bracing up and down shell resulting in a 2.5 per cent increase in torsional rigidity. Both axles also feature stiffer bushings, with a bespoke spring and damper setup for the suspension that again focuses on track-driving. Nissan has also fitted stiffer bushings to the steering rack. 

Despite some lightweight elements, the extra chassis stiffening elements actually make the Nismo the heaviest Z model on sale, coming in at 1680kg, 47kg more than an equivalent Z Performance model fitted with an automatic transmission. 

These technical upgrades are joined by a more aggressive take on the Z’s nostalgic exterior design. New bumpers and skirts with the typical red stripe are joined by a more substantial lip spoiler and those aforementioned Rays wheels. The cabin has been given a similar treatment with red stitching and extended use of Alcantara trim on the seats, steering wheel and doors. A key change inside is the fitment of new, lighter Recaro buckets. 

The Nissan Z Nismo will go on sale in the Autumn, with US pricing still to be confirmed. As with the standard Z, there are no plans to bring it to Europe.

Now read more about the best track day cars on sale...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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