More power, torque, and a handling specific tune help make Nissan’s latest sports car trim stand out. We’ll see this more track focused Z at dealers in the fall.
One year after the latest generation Nissan Z arrived with a retro design and modern levels of horsepower, Nissan ups the ante with the Nissan Z Nismo. And all changes point in one direction: track car.
First, engineers tweaked the engine to increase the output of the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 to 420 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft of torque. That’s an bump of 20 HP and 34 lb.-ft, respectively. These figures came courtesy of improved cooling, playing with the wastegate to allow a bit more turbo boost, and borrowing an ignition strategy from the GT-R Nismo.
YOUR NEXT TRACK CAR?
The interesting news—and one of the reasons this leans track car— is that Nissan is not offering the six-speed manual in the Nismo, as it does in the other Z trims. The only gearbox is the nine-speed automatic, but it received revised clutch packs to increase shifting speeds, particularly downshifts.
In fact, Nissan says themselves emphasis for this transmission was placed on suitability for track use. Indeed, the Nismo gets its own drive mode Sport + (sports plus), which is designed to handle all shifting on a race track in a way that the drive never feels the need to touch the paddle shifters. And, in case your track day includes standing starts, you get a launch control too.
Alas, that means the Nismo loses ultimate engagement on a nice canyon drive, with no options to row your own or play with a third pedal. Manufacturers build fantastic automatic transmissions these days, but even they do not replicate the engagement of a manual.
Moving on from the powertrain, Nissan also equipped the Nismo with beefier brakes—15.0-inch rotors up front, 13.8-inch rotors in back—with all four corners using a more aggressive brake pad compound. Again, more track friendly.
But don’t worry about the brakes too much, you’ll be able to maintain higher apex speeds thanks to Dunlop SP SPORT MAXX GT600 tires mounted on 19-inch wheels. The rear wheels and tires are also wider (wheels by 0.5-inch, tires by 10 mm) than the Z Performance trim. But, thanks to a different design, they also weigh less. Moreover, you get a retuned suspension to hold them up.
Nissan mounted stronger anti-roll bars, stiffer springs, and physically larger shock absorbers with a unique tune. All of if there with the same purpose, to more strictly control the body through a corner. Even the chassis itself got a run through from the engineers with additional bracing to increase torsional rigidity by 2.5 percent.
ALL BUSINESS INTERIOR
Inside, you get manually adjusting (meaning lighter weight) Recaro seats and a steering wheel with synthetic suede wrapped around it with a nice red marker on top to indicate 12 O’ clock position. All good things.
Finally, the Nismo looks more track focused too. The Z Nismo nose extends farther than the standard Z with a unqiue grille that allows more cooling air to the bits that need cooling and a few aerodynamic elements. Of course, you also get a nice big fat rear wing. Nissan claims the Nismo produces real downforce, which is a fun little bragging right.
Look for the Z Nismo to arrive at dealers this fall, with pricing to arrive around the same time. And I will look to see how quickly I can get my hands on one for a test drive. Will the transmission behave well enough to overcome my no manual transmission sadness? I’ll let you know as soon as I find out!
Which would you rather have? This, or the also new 2024 Ford Mustang GT?
Learn more about Nissan’s Nismo cars Right Here.