2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo
Over the years, the Z-Car has been redesigned, upgraded, and refined into what we now call the Nissan 370Z. However, this car no longer goes up against the same competition. Now, the Z goes head to head with the Audi TT, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and the rear-wheel-drive twins, the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. The affordability factor of yesterday is gone, and in its place is a performance-oriented sports car with little luxuries but plenty of power and performance. But is it still one of the top cars in the segment? When you get behind the wheel of the 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo, you're hit with some contrasting features.
Barely one year after restyling its track-focused 370Z NISMO for 2014, Nissan has finessed it once again, this time with the hopes of broadening its appeal with new Recaro seats, a new Tech model, and—most significant—a newly available automatic transmission.
The side sills and rear fascia have been re-sculpted and feature additional NISMO red trim, as do the black mirror caps. The wheel wells are stuffed with a fetching set of charcoal-colored 19-inch forged-aluminum Rays wheels that offer a nice contrast to the bright red brake calipers nestled behind. Retained are the previous model’s coffee-can exhaust finishers, but, in a rare move that satisfies both aerodynamicists and the taste police, the NISMO’s rear spoiler has been reduced in size and obnoxiousness, now being more like the 1973 Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS’s.
The 370Z NISMO was originally conceived as a track special (i.e. low in feature content), which sort of limited its appeal. Alas, as is often the case with cars like this, customers started wanting more goodies, so Nissan is adding a new Tech model to the NISMO lineup, which brings a navigation system with 7.0-inch display, a backup camera, Bose audio with satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage-door opener. Regardless of trim level, all 2015 370Z NISMOs receive new black-and-red Recaro sport seats with leather upholstery and faux-suede accents to match the steering wheel, which is covered in the same stuff. As before, the NISMO model features a red-faced tachometer and an abundance of red stitching.
Reaching a wider audience can also be cited as a primary reason why Nissan is making the 2015 370Z NISMO available for the first time with a seven-speed, paddle-shifted automatic transmission with rev-matched downshifts. Don’t worry, manual fans, the Z’s six-speed manual with Nissan’s hero-making rev-matching tech is still standard. While no changes were made to the NISMO’s 350-hp 3.7-liter V-6 (which puts out 18 more horsepower than the standard 370Z), Nissan has shortened the final-drive ratio for the manual version from 3.69:1 to 3.92:1, ensuring Usain Bolt–like reflexes when blasting off the line. At 3.69:1, the automatic’s final drive is also shorter than the standard 370Z automatic’s 3.36:1 rear end.
The 2015 370Z NISMO had its official unveiling in front of Nissan’s most Z-obsessed sports-car fans at this year’s ZDayz weekend, held at the Fontana Village Resort in North Carolina. If you missed it there, you won’t have to wait too long to see it in showrooms, as the car goes on sale in July at a price not likely to rise much from the $43,830 Nissan currently charges for the 2014 model.