Review: 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Tech

Monday March 16th, 2015 at 4:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Tech

By David Colman

Hypes: Go-Kart Reflexes, Great Shifting Transmission, Exceptional Seats
Gripes: Busywork Hatchback, Poor Aft Vision

Every year your selection of classic sports cars diminishes. More and more manufacturers have opted to replace analog delight with digital complexity. One by one, top echelon road burners like Mercedes’ SLS AMG GT and Porsche’s 911 GT3 have augmented driver skill with so many computer based driving aids that you – the supposed operator – are virtually eliminated from the decision-making loop. In addition, manual gearboxes are quickly disappearing from top line sports cars in favor of semi-automatic gear changers that further sap satisfaction from the driving equation. But if you’re not ready for the dubious attributes of this brave new world, then join me in spending a week with one of the few classic sports car you can still buy at an affordable price, Nissan’s outstanding Nismo Tech version of the 370Z. It can be yours for just $46,425.

2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Tech

The current base model 370Z is a stout performer in stock form. Under the hood lies a 332hp, 3.7 liter V-6 coupled to a 6 speed manual gearbox. The stiff, race bred chassis boasts independent suspension at all four corners, disc brakes for each wheel, and fat 9 and 10 inch wide alloys front and rear measuring 19 inches in diameter. These wheels carry high performance 245/40R19 radials at the front, and 275/35R19 rear tires. While this refined engine/chassis combo would be enough to sate most drivers, the ultimate enthusiast will always opt for the Nismo enhanced version of the Z. For starters, its V-6 bumps horsepower to 350, and torque to 276lb.-ft. That’s a useful increase of 18hp and 6lb.-ft. over stock Z specification. Another attractive improvement is the addition of half inch wider, lighter, forged Rays alloy rims in place of the stock Z’s cast wheels. 9.5 inch wide front wheels carry Bridgestone’s latest ultra high performance Potenza, the S001 (245/40R19), while rear 10.5 inch alloys mount 285/35R19 Potenzas. When you combine that heftier footprint with a Nismo-tuned suspension, special race bred Vibration Dampers (i.e., shocks), and add a 3-point front strut tower brace, you’ve got a refined platform that’s just itching to strut its stuff at autocrosses and track days.

2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Tech

Nissan continues the laser focused improvement over stock Z components by installing first class Recaro racing seats that will hold you like Velcro while you fling this go-kart through turns. These beautifully crafted seats, finished in black leather with red Alcantara inserts, fit your torso like a suit of body armor. Their No. 1 job is to keep you pinned securely in place, and this they do with remarkable success. On a constant radius, sweeping 180 degree freeway off ramp, I was never able to generate enough speed to deter the Nismo from its leech like grip on the road, nor did I ever slide one inch across the surface of those captivating Recaros. The small diameter steering wheel matches the seating surface with its Alcantara grips, and even offers a red strip of leather at the 12 o’clock high position so you never lose your sense of dead ahead wheel position. The rest of the cockpit is similarly constituted like a fighter plane. A huge red lit tachometer reads to 9,000rpm, with a redline set at 7,500rpm. In case you miss the ultra quick needle sweep, there’s a red light on the instrument face that flashes each time you hit 7,500rpm. The manual 6-speed transmission is a blast to operate, with short, predictable throws that are confidence inspiring. In a week of driving the Nismo, I never got a gear I didn’t want.

2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Tech

With a car this acutely tuned to high performance, a couple of drawbacks in daily driving are worth noting. The ride is harsh, the Recaro seats are thinly padded, and visibility to the rear is poor. If feasible, you’ll want to park the Nismo in such a way as to permit you to drive off forward, rather than backing up. Also, the heavy rear hatchback lid is tiresome in its operation. For starters, there’s no activation button for it on your key fob. Secondly, the cockpit release for it is oddly hidden on the windshield header, rather than on the lower dash where you would expect to find it. Finally, if you use the small exterior switch on the lid itself, you’ll find the first push fails to release the lock, thus requiring a second push of the button.

2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Tech

But you quickly learn to slough off these minor quibbles in exchange for the consummate pleasure of playing racer with this great classic sports car. At the price, the Nismo is a phenomenal bargain, and if you love sports cars, you should buy one right now. Because soon, they’ll all be gone forever.

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring

  • Engine: 3.7 liter V-6, DOHC, 24 Valves, Variable Event and Lift (VVEL)
  • Horsepower: 350hp
  • Torque: 276lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 18MPG City/26MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $46,425
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo

Tuesday March 18th, 2014 at 12:33 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Race Car For The Street
Gripes: Poor Outward Vision

You’ve got to love a car company that specifies — on the window sticker no less — what size and brand of tires you’re guaranteed to receive as standard equipment. In the case of Nissan’s speed equipment special, the Nismo 370Z, nothing but the best in ultra high performance rubber will do. You automatically get Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires measuring 245/40R19 front and 285/35R19 rear, affixed to Rays brand forged alloy rims. And yes, Nissan also specifies the brand name of the rims on the window sticker, and requires that they be forged rather than cast. Why all the fuss about this car’s footprint? The Nismo Z is all about handling prowess, and since wheels and tires make the most important contribution to ultimate grip, Nissan has selected the best tires and wheels for their hottest handling Z.

The rest of the specification list is just as clearly focused on high performance. The suspension system, for example, is tuned with model specific sway bars, struts and shocks that are much stiffer than those of the standard 370Z. A beautifully crafted 3-point front strut tower brace ties the front suspension’s top shock mounts to the firewall for added rigidity. These competition bred measures result in handling precision and levels of grip rarely experienced in anything with a license plate. The Nismo rides very hard because the suspension is so taut that it allows nearly zero compliance over bumps. Certain undulations even cause the Z to buck like a porpoise, but these comical moments are more than offset by the incredible adhesion this chassis affords on curving roads. If you’re in the market for the ultimate handling sports car, look no further.

Nissan also goes to extreme lengths to bring the engine and brakes up to the refinement level of the suspension. The engine’s crankshaft and camshafts receive a micro polishing treatment that helps reduce internal engine friction. The Nismo’s 3.7 liter V-6 makes 350hp and 276 lb.-ft. of torque compared to the regular issue 370Z’s 332hp and 270lb.-ft. The enormous front and rear disc brakes get the Nissan “Sport” treatment, with high rigidity braided stainless steel hoses feeding special R35 brake fluid to the six piston front, and four piston rear calipers. Thus, the brake pedal is always reassuringly hard and predictable.

Both the interior and exterior of the Nismo receive special attention to distinguish this model from lesser Zs. The 8-way adjustable driver’s seat and the 4 way adjustable passenger’s seat offer lateral support commensurate with the high side loadings this car generates. Both seats sport Nismo embroidered badges on their headrests. Not only are they supportive and comfortable over long hauls, but surprisingly easy to climb in and out of. The 3-spoke steering wheel too is a work of art, with a red band incised into the top dead center position, new suede grips at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, and just enough controls to facilitate radio selection without overdoing the array. Outside, the Nismo, in white, looks as menacing as Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, with a great gaping maw of a grill just waiting to suck up slower cars ahead. And trust me, with this car, all the rest are slower. To match the dive planes of the front spoiler, there’s a fat chorded rear wing, plus kick out rails on the rocker panels that make this Z look even wider than it is. Red accent pinstripes across the snout and exterior mirrors distinguish the Nismo visually from any other 370Z. One gander at this exotic looking Z renders the need for the Nismo rear nameplate superfluous.

Besides its bone jarring ride, the ultra Z suffers from an affliction that also burdens every 370Z: poor side and rear vision. The problem starts right under your nose, where the wide A pillars of the windshield, together with fat exterior rear mirrors, conspire to block side vision for a foot on either side of the car. To the back, the wing’s placement further reduces vision through the Z’s mail slot of a rear window. To alleviate the problem, Nissan has added a very useful standard rear backup camera which projects its image in the left quadrant of the inside rear view mirror when reverse gear is engaged. This placement is far superior to those which use a dash mounted screen that diverts your eyes from the mirror you should be looking at. Still, backing the Nismo Z out of a parking spot into traffic is an unpleasant chore. You soon find yourself parking only in spots you can vacate by driving off straight ahead.

In sum, the Nismo Z offers the finest pure driving experience you can buy for under $50,000. Nothing comes close to its combination of leech like handling, impressive acceleration, and bad boy good looks.

2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo

  • Engine: 3.7 liter DOHC V6
  • Horsepower: 350hp
  • Torque: 276lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 18 MPG City/26 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $46,370
  • Star Rating: 10 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Nissan 370Z Touring

Tuesday October 15th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Arrive and Drive Racer
Gripes: Stick Shaker, Poor Rear Vision

The 370Z is a no-compromise sports car. If you aim to own one, be forewarned that it’s you that will be making the compromises, not the Z. For example, the simple act of climbing aboard the coupe version will present a physical challenge you may not enjoy. The roof line is so low that you will have to duck your head while you fold your torso in order to slide bottom end first into the seat. After repeated pretzel twist entries, I learned to grab the steering wheel while performing a butt thrust that made me look like flopping Dick Forsbury, the first high jumper to clear 7 feet backwards.

Of course, once you’re ensconced in the Z’s tight cabin, memories of your inglorious entry fade as you lavish your eyes on the magnificent instrument panel, which provides more information than you could ever use. A trio of angled gauges atop the dash crown, mimicking those of the first 240Z, inform you of water temp, battery charge and time of day. A 9,000 rpm tachometer zips to redline in front of your nose, while the adjacent speedometer reads to 180mph. The fat, perforated leather steering wheel responds with vernier precision to the most minute adjustments. It is also fitted with handy tabs for scanning your SiriusXM presets without having to reach for the radio faceplate.

The Z’s love-it-or-leave-it personality persists once you prepare to drive off. Should you need to back out of a parking slot, you will be stymied by your inability to see anything lurking behind or beside you. Tank commanders have a better rear view than do Z drivers. You’d be well advised to back into parking places first, in order to spare yourself the agony of reversing blind later. Almost all is forgiven, however, when you fire up the 332hp V-6, snick the rifle-bolt-precise 6-speed manual into first, and feed in just enough gas to launch the Z from a standing start. Unlike so many finicky manual clutch packages, the Z’s take-up is perfectly linear and free of drama. Even though the Z lacks a hill holder function, you can perform a hill start anywhere in San Francisco with no drama thanks to an immediate supply of 270 lb.-ft. of torque. A persistent drawback to the manual transmission is its proclivity to shake the stick when in neutral. This has been a problem since Nissan reintroduced the Z back in 2003, and their engineers haven’t figured out how to quell the annoyance in 10 years. Of course, you can eliminate the problem by opting for the paddle-shifted automatic gearbox which contains 7 speeds instead of 6. But you’ll pay an additional $1,300 for the convenience.

Given the long, proud racing heritage of the Z, this latest Nissan two seater handles with the precision and aplomb you’d expect of such a pure bred sports car. Helping in that regard are several improvements for 2013. If you order the Sports Package ($3,030), the RAYS forged wheels differ in appearance from earlier versions, with thinner spokes revealing newly painted red brake calipers. These ultra light 19 inch diameter RAYS replace the standard issue cast 18 inch alloys. The gunmetal finished RAYS measure 9.5 inches wide in front and 10.5 inches wide in back (versus 8 and 9 inch width for the 18 inch wheels). Our Sports Package equipped 370Z mounted Bridgestone’s best all-around performance tire, the RE050A, with front rubber measuring 245/40/R19 and rears 275/35/R19. Nissan has also modified the valving of its Sports Package shocks for a “Euro-tuned” firmer, more controlled ride that can feel downright harsh at times. The package also includes a Viscous Limited Slip Differential, so this as-delivered Z is ideally configured for fast street driving, or track day competition.

A prime factor in the Z equation has always been its big 6 cylinder motor. Today’s hot rodded 3.7 liter V-6 benefits from micro-polishing of the crankshaft and camshafts. With variable valve timing and lift, the motor makes 332hp and 270lb.-ft. of torque. Just be prepared to endure a lot of not particularly pleasant noise when you stretch the motor past 4,000rpm. Even so, with a base price of just $37,820, the 2013 Z is without question a best buy sports car. Even when equipped with the Sports Package and Navigation System ($2,150), the 370Z still posts an affordable bottom line of $43,905. If you’re a nascent racer willing to put up with the minor foibles of this hard-edged rocket, you can’t do better than the latest 370Z.

2013 Nissan 370Z Touring

  • Engine: 3.7 liter DOHC V-6 with VVEL
  • Horsepower: 332 hp
  • Torque: 270 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 18 MPG City/26 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $43,905
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Nissan 370Z Touring Review

Tuesday November 20th, 2012 at 8:1111 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Arrive and Drive Racer
Gripes: Fuel Level Gauge Unpredictable, No Rear Wiper

Nissan’s marquee sports car gets better every year. The improvements for 2013 are relatively minor, but enticing nonetheless. A revised front fascia houses new daytime running lights, and if you order the Sports Package ($3,030), the RAYS forged wheels differ in appearance from earlier versions with thinner spokes revealing newly painted red brake calipers. These ultra light 19 inch diameter RAYS replace the standard issue cast 18 inch alloys. The gunmetal finished RAYS measure 9.5 inches wide in front and 10.5 inches wide in back (versus 8 and 9 inch width for the 18 inch wheels). Our Sports Package equipped 370Z mounted Bridgestone’s best all-around performance tire, the RE050A, with front rubber measuring 245/40/R19 and rears 275/35/R19. Nissan has also modified the valving of its Sports Package shocks for a “Euro-tuned” firmer, more controlled ride. The package also includes a Viscous Limited Slip Differential, so the as selivered Z is ideally configured for fast street driving, or track day competition.

 

The 3.7 liter V-6 in the Z is a hot rod motor thanks to micro-finishing techniques used to polish the crankshaft and camshafts. With variable valve timing and lift, the rev-happy motor makes 332hp and 270lb.-ft. of torque. Connected to a precisely gated 6-speed manual transmission, with rev-matching on downshifts, the Z is the most sporting 2 seater you can buy for the money. It corners flawlessly, with the fat Bridgestones urging you to up your apex speed. It sprints from corner to corner with the breathless stamina of a distance runner. The 370Z merits serious consideration if you like to drive fast because it carries out your orders with military efficiency.

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2013 Nissan 370Z Sport Review

Wednesday August 29th, 2012 at 7:88 AM
Posted by: the911guy

2011 Nissan 370Z
By Dan Tsuchiya

Pros:

  • Great improvement over the successful 350Z
  • Nice body lines, Rays wheels are icing on the cake
  • Powerful motor with great sound
  • GTR influence

Cons:

  • Manual transmission not as slick as the competition
  • No lumbar support or telescoping steering wheel
  • Either less weight or more power and this could be an exotic challenger for a fraction of the cost

41 years ago Nissan (Datsun in the US) launched the 240Z onto our shores and turned the sports car market on its head. Here was a light, nimble, reliable, value oriented sports coupe for two which had decent cargo capacity. I had the pleasure of owning and wrenching on various Z cars through the 300ZX and still found the 240Z to be the purist of them all. Only when Nissan introduced the 350Z in 2003 did it appear that they had something of real value that could match their original Z sports car.

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Woodstock and Nissan Z Celebrate Their 40th Anniversary

Friday October 16th, 2009 at 1:1010 PM
Posted by: asgruben

Datsun 280ZX 10th AnniversaryBy Adrienne Gruben

Why was the mid-80′s 280ZX such a great makeout car? What was it that distinguished it? Even with the stick shift in the way and the non-existent backseat there was something about it. That theory requires some reflection because Nissan is celebrating the Z’s 40th year with the release of a 370Z Anniversary coupe.

First conceived in 1969 as the Datsun 240Z, it was the first affordable two-seater with sports car performance for the everyman and the comparisons with the Porsche 924 and RX7 were myriad. Then came the add-ons and it began to cater to folks wanting a GT cruiser and while its fans were varied, enthusiasts included chicks blasting Def Leppard and cool Dads seeking a little more reliability.

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Nissan Z Turns 40

Friday October 16th, 2009 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Nissan 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition

Wow, forty years? Has it really been that long since Nissan (then Datsun) rolled out the Z Car? Indeed it has, and as you would expect, they have a special anniversary edition to help celebrate. Through the years, the Z has seen as many twists and turns as a mountain road. It started out as a pretty good, if spare sportscar. In between now and then, it would get fatter then skinnier; more luxurious and more of a boulevardier; from straight to vee engines, with and without turbos.

So we are, forty years on, we’re still here, cars are still here, and the Nissan Z is still here. What does the 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition have to offer?

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2009 Nissan 370Z Review – Z be nimble, Z be quick…

Friday June 12th, 2009 at 7:66 AM
Posted by: hollyrrr

2009 Nissan 370Z
>> Review by Holly Roberts. | >> Photographs by Derek Mau

Pros:

  • Stiff, sports-car suspension
  • Blazing acceleration
  • Seriously comfortable seats
  • Excellent handling ability
  • Simple, clean interior (not a lot of bells and whistles)

Cons:

  • Stiff, sports-car suspension (seemed to have been tuned for the track, because it barely budged)
  • Blind spots that you could miss a bus in
  • Not much more room inside for anything but an extra passenger, a purse and a briefcase in the back

Ruling: Z can spin doughnuts around a candlestick!  Heck, who needs a candlestick, let’s DRIVE!!!!

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Nissan 370Z's Trick Tranny – F1 Style Shifting For The Rest of Us

Wednesday December 24th, 2008 at 10:1212 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Is this even fair? Am I just being too much of a purist? Who knows, I’ll let you, and the people that buy Nissan’s new, uprated 370Z decide.

In addition to the (slightly) bigger engine, styling tweaks (the less said about those headlights, the better (but boy are they hideous)) the newest Z has a trick transmission that I had only just heard about.

Called the Downshift Rev Matching by Nissan, it’s essentially a mechanical version of what a good racer would do out of force of habit: it automatically matches the revs, so the engine speed is correct when you let off the clutch and you’re into your new, lower, gear. Flocks of gear box and rear wheel sensors match up the revs with each downshift, no matter how fast you do it or the velocity you’re traveling at, and, according to the people who’ve driven it, it’s flawless.

The traditional (i.e. old) way of doing it was called heel-and-toe, and required a great deal of patience to learn, as well as having more than a bit of Fred Astaire/Gene Kelly/Sid Charese in your DNA. Basically it involved hitting all three pedals with two feet, and you can go look it up, because I don’t want to give out that sort of info, have somebody out there shred their synchros, and blame us for it (and no, don’t ask me what happened when I tried to learn it myself).

To a certain extent, this is sort of half a semi-auto box you can get in Ferraris, for much, much cheaper. You still have to stir the gears yourself, but when down shifting, a lot of the hassle is taken out of the picture.

And that, of course, means that any of us (any of us with enough money to buy a new Z) can now down shift just as good as Sebastien Loeb.

Source: BoingBoing

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L.A. Auto Show – GM:More carpet than cars, Nissan 370Z: More bang for your buck

Thursday November 20th, 2008 at 10:1111 AM
Posted by: asgruben

Nissan 370Z headlightBy Adrienne Gruben

Today marked the first of two press days at the Los Angeles Auto Show before it opens to the public this weekend. And as much as it was defined by what was there, including the Nissan 370Z and the unveiling of the Mini E, what wasn’t there was equally striking. While Ford and Chrysler were in what seemed like business as usual mode (albeit more subdued), GM’s public relations presence was more…an absence.

There was no press conference. And in their section, there was much more carpet than cars. I guess they could cross market with carpet manufacturers the way Tide advertises with clothing from Ann Taylor loft. Maybe it left more space for the elephant in the room. Even the Hummer was hidden off to the side – possibly a timeout?

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