RE: Nissan 370Z NISMO: Driven

RE: Nissan 370Z NISMO: Driven

Tuesday 31st March 2015

Nissan 370Z NISMO: Driven

Nissan's big bruiser gets a NISMO nip 'n' tuck



'Honest' is a word that continues to come up when discussing the Nissan 370Z NISMO. It's the very opposite of its Juke counterpart in fact. Where that car is evidently trying extremely hard to be something it isn't, there's no such pretence with the big Zed. You know where you are with it almost immediately and, by and large, that's a very good thing.

Looks inviting, reality can't quite match up
Looks inviting, reality can't quite match up
There's a naturally-aspirated V6 in the front with the power going to the rear through a six-speed manual and a limited-slip differential. You probably knew that already but it's worth repeating. Not especially trendy in this turbocharged, dual-clutched, fancy traction control era but even more appealing because of it.

That VQ37 lump dominates from the off for both good and bad reasons. Heck is it gruff. There's a huge sense of inertia in the engine when mooching around, an issue compounded by a noise that doesn't exactly encourage gratuitous blips. It's coarse and bland and just not that pleasant from a configuration that should produce a great sound, especially unsullied as it is by forced induction. You sense a few breathing tweaks would help substantially but that's something NISMO should really address.

It's a really torquey engine though, which is great. It's linear, predictable, big capacity (well, relatively speaking) shove that again is so unfamiliar in 2015. Fourth is useable in so many situations.

Facelift or not there's no mistaking the Zed
Facelift or not there's no mistaking the Zed
And if the 370 is pushed harder? Erm, it's a bit strange actually. That engine note and the bountiful torque will ensure 4,000rpm is never really breached while still rocking along quite nicely. Really pushing it out towards the 7,500rpm limiter feels like the most unnatural thing in the world; your ears will say it's madness but there is some performance up there, or so it seems. Some real performance actually. What does the spec sheet say? 344hp at 7,400rpm. That would explain it then. Peak torque is at 5,200rpm. The numbers say it wants to rev, the experience often suggests different. Curious. If any PHers have 370s with tweaks to the exhaust or induction system, we would love to hear from you. Does it make a significant difference?

Dynamically the NISMO is, again, refreshingly simple. It's not as good as Porsche Cayman down a challenging road - too heavy and lacking some precision - but it is very entertaining. It's a big car but not one that feels especially lazy or cumbersome with a ride that's pretty stiff at low speeds but soon becomes more forgiving. Typically its composure is very good, the weight occasionally making itself known in quick direction changes or under braking. The Zed seems to prefer a slow-in, fast-out approach rather than maximum attack, ensuring the front isn't overly stretched and pushed into understeer.

RWD, V6, manual - still a great combo
RWD, V6, manual - still a great combo
What a wonderful sensation it is to feel a limited-slip differential doing its job. Not in wild bouts of Tokyo Drift oversteer but accelerating out of bends, sensing the power being apportioned across as the lock is wound off. With the traction control off (one button, one press - hallelujah!) the NISMO will oversteer and feels superbly balanced when it does move. Imagine how good it would feel as slightly smaller, significantly lighter car...

With manuals becoming rarer by the day, those that do remain need to be good. Like the Juke, the Zed's certainly is, but for different reasons. As you would hope from a big, burly coupe, it's a heavy and mechanical shift and one that's really quite satisfying. Again rather like the Juke though, the driving position is compromised. This steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach either and the seat doesn't quite go back far enough for those with gangly limbs. It's a shame really given the new Recaro 'Spinal' seats are pretty good.

Costly at £37K but they're for sale under £30K...
Costly at £37K but they're for sale under £30K...
Having not driven the first 370Z NISMO it's impossible to draw firm conclusions but it doesn't appear a transformative change with this revised car. The same positive aspects relating to the looks and the dynamics remain with the same slightly frustrating drawbacks of an uninspiring engine and plain interior. At £36,995 it looks pricey but when cars with delivery miles at less than £30K it looks considerably more appealing. If coupes like the Audi TT really don't appeal, the NISMO will provide a refreshing tonic. Bring on the RS.

 


NISSAN 370Z NISMO
Engine:
3,696cc, V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 344@7,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 274@5,200rpm
0-62mph: 5.2sec
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 1,535kg
MPG: 26.7mpg (claimed)
CO2: 248g/km
Price: £36,995











[Pics: Tom Begley]

 

Author
Discussion

lee_erm

Original Poster:

715 posts

129 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
Honest car less than honest article. You haven't driven it?!

Krikkit

13,521 posts

117 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
Sounds ripe for a supercharger.

soad

29,223 posts

112 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
I've always loved the Z cars, especially the 350. NISMO bodykit is quite aggressive.



300ZX worth a mention too. smile


MrGeoff

289 posts

108 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
Not long sold my 370Z black edition. It was a great car, I was almost tempted to trade it in for a first gen Nismo 370 but I'll be honest it was a huge let down. After having run Stillen intakes, Berk HFCs and an exhaust on mine the Nismo just disappointed in every area. The interior was poor in comparison to the Black Edition and the bodykit was just too much. Why make a car all shouty and put a poxy map on the ECU which makes it no quicker than a standard 370 with some sensible tweaks? I can't speak for the new Nismo 370 but I believe Nismo missed a trick with the 370, big time.

J8 SVG

1,005 posts

66 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
lee_erm said:
Honest car less than honest article. You haven't driven it?!
This is the second NISMO version of the 370Z, he has only driven this one. Wake up at the back!
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TaylotS2K

1,571 posts

143 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
I personally think it looks fantastic. Much improved looks wise over the first 370Z Nismo.

unsprung

2,577 posts

60 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
Sounds ripe for a supercharger.
Stillen sells a turnkey supercharger kit for the 370Z that's somewhat popular.

As the author of the article hints, weight of the 370Z is an issue. It weighs more than a Corvette -- which in base form has 460hp / 465tq.


robinandcamera

211 posts

116 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
I drove the first version. I secretly wanted to be tempted out of my S2000 and fall in love with it and sign up to some finance I wouldn't have rationally been able to afford.

However the first let down was opening the door and seeing the dismal sports seats. They weren't special at all. The new ones look much better.

However, I agree with the review, the car just wasn't alive for me. The engine wasn't exciting, I could really feel the weight and size on the road. The suspension/roll bars were too stiff to try and hide weight/prevent roll. Unfortunately it wasn't the car I hoped it would be, I agree, a massive opportunity missed by Nissan with this car.

I left the dealership very disappointed, but with the roof down in my car and the engine screaming and a smile back on my face haha

xRIEx

8,180 posts

84 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
unsprung said:
As the author of the article hints, weight of the 370Z is an issue. It weighs more than a Corvette -- which in base form has 460hp / 465tq.
The Corvette also makes you £20k lighter.

The 370Z is a bulky thing though.

Guvernator

9,017 posts

101 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
Just how do you mess up a 3.7 V6 engine that can rev to 7500rpm? It seems producing exciting NA engines is becoming something of a lost art. Strange as they seemed to be 10 a penny 10-15 years ago.

Dynamic Turtle

112 posts

84 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
With the caveat that I own a MkI Nismo and that the MkII hasn’t changed a great deal, I’d say the review is pretty accurate tbh. I personally love mine despite the fact that it is clearly very flawed - a GT3 wannabe for 1/3 the price and half the quality. I test drove the dealer’s MkII before buying his MkI - it’s a marginally quieter and softer ride but the difference is marginal.

The new model has a slightly nicer interior (dark trim rather than argos hifi silver plastics), but the recaro’s aren’t as comfortable (the fabric seats are designed for chubby americans) over long journeys despite being the tighter hug. Depends what you want really. I personally couldn’t abide the MkIIs ducktail spoiler, saddlebag rear bumper and butchered minge of a front bumper. The large spoiler on the MkI is perfect for blocking out headlamp glare when driving at night btw!

The MkI is pure JDM porn and gives you rockstar presence on the road. Sure it’s a bit chavvy and it seems to resonate more with tattooed folk, but you will get lots of thumbs up along the way.

Key thing to improving the experience is getting a more characterful aftermarket exhaust (£800-1400 typically) and MPSS over the Bridgestones. Induction options and boot insulation are a little superfluous. As for driving it, think fast curving A roads rather than winding Bs and you get the picture. It suits the torque curve and viscous differential best, you feel less of the mass and aren’t wrining it out to 7,000rpm all the time. The aero adds considerable high-speed stability and you’d quite happily leave this running at 130mph for an extended blast. The extra drag does make the push over 145 quite reluctant though.

It’s a GT (not a sports car) that’s been down the gym for a bit and now wears superhero spandex. Nothing more. It’s not a track weapon (too heavy and has oil temp issues) and nor is it a Merc S class for a refined pootle down to Portsmouth.

It is cheap and reliable though – particularly the powertrain, which is something a 987 or 335i cannot boast. I still wouldn’t run one without a warranty though!

Yes there is a “superior” alternative in the form of the Cayman S, but going on RRP with anything remotely approaching a comparable engine and options list it’s £20k more, along with stuff like an M3. What would you choose for a similar RRP that’s equally tasty and optioned? The new Mustang V8 looks interesting at the £35k price but involves a potentially lengthy wait. GT86? It’s a 4 pot and maybe lacking in premium feel somewhat (I really like them though). Everything else is a 4-pot turbo and/or 4WD like the TTs or GTi and not really the same experience.

Anyway the Nismo has been a UK sales disaster and is a deeply flawed car, but I still love mine and taking all of the above into account (purchase cost, running costs, reliability, practicality and unusual looks) was the best package for me.

DT

articulatedj

102 posts

57 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
I had a 370Z sport package with intake, oil cooler, and a Stillen exhaust.

I actually thought it sounded pretty good with that exhaust. It tracked well with Carbotech pads and the oil cooler, though brake fluid needed keeping after.

But I agree that it just felt too big to be a car I truly connected with. It's cheaper than the Cayman for a reason. It just didn't really dance, and the steering felt a bit numb.

I love the concept of a reasonably priced, reasonably quick RWD manual transmission sports car, but it never really worked for me. The GT86 has a great chassis, but Toyota/Subaru just refuse to add power or brakes. And when I start looking at Caymans, I look to the S, then the GTS, then the GT4. Getting a base Cayman seems wrong, but so does spending GT4 money.

Interestingly, I had more fun driving the 2015 STI than I did driving the Z. I had no expectations, as the previous STI was underwhelming. The steering on the 2015 is amazing, and the chassis setup is incredible for back roads. I never thought I'd prefer it to a dedicated sports car, but I am actually considering it.

Edited by articulatedj on Tuesday 31st March 16:58


Edited by articulatedj on Tuesday 31st March 16:59

Dynamic Turtle

112 posts

84 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
Well the Nismo version definitely has meaty and feelsome steering (which the actual wheel itself, thick and covered in a horrid combination of alcantara and leather and unintuitive buttons) does its best to spoil, although I’d agree that as a whole the car doesn’t “dance” but what 1550kg RWD GT does?

Interesting you mention the STI as that’s the other unashamed dinosaur out there for thirty-something PlayStation lads who kinda didn’t grow up and now have the money to buy one of their 32bit heroes!

seopher

281 posts

118 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
I had a 370z, loved it and loved the styling of the NISMO edition, but it just didn't add enough to justify the price tag, for me.

I moved to a Focus ST that was 9/10 as rapid and far more usable. I genuinely considered the NISMO (as I did again when moving from the ST to the XFR) but just didn't feel it offered enough to justify the higher purchase price.

Looks lovely, just needs more power and an exhaust similar to the wonderful NISMO one they put on the 350z.

daytona365

1,773 posts

100 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
36K looks pricey, what for something like this ?......Them ridiculous 'hyper cars' look pricey at 1 million plus !!

texr2000

59 posts

45 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
I had a 2011 GT Spec 370z from new and had it 2 years and it never really won me over. i liked the spec and the fact it was different and hardly saw any others but performance was odd, it never felt quick. You look down and it had flown up to tipple figures and on a open Autobarn would feel solid at limiter speeds. I would be interested to drive this, wonder if the engine feels any more sporty. Im sure an exhaust would have added to the car as the factory system had no volume what so ever

unsprung

2,577 posts

60 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
Dynamic Turtle said:
What would you choose for a similar RRP that’s equally tasty and optioned? The new Mustang V8 looks interesting at the £35k price but involves a potentially lengthy wait.
articulatedj said:
I love the concept of a reasonably priced, reasonably quick RWD manual transmission sports car, but it never really worked for me. The GT86 has a great chassis, but Toyota/Subaru just refuse to add power or brakes. And when I start looking at Caymans, I look to the S, then the GTS, then the GT4. Getting a base Cayman seems wrong, but so does spending GT4 money.
When the Mustang arrives in the UK, it could become a watershed moment of sorts. Assuming that the economy is doing well.

Just a bit heavier than the 370Z, but with significantly more power. Also the soundtrack.




liner33

7,276 posts

138 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
texr2000 said:
. i liked the spec and the fact it was different and hardly saw any others but performance was odd, it never felt quick. You look down and it had flown up to tipple figures and on a open Autobarn would feel solid at limiter speeds. I would be interested to drive this, wonder if the engine feels any more sporty. Im sure an exhaust would have added to the car as the factory system had no volume what so ever
I can relate to that , coming from a few turbo cars like the Skyline 33&34, Evo 6 and others I put it down to the lack of rush from the turbo. The 370 IS quick as you say it builds speed at an impressive rate albeit with an un-flustered manner but just doesnt feel quick.

Adding a sports exhaust and drop in filters results in a nice tone from the engine and I don't relate to the disappointing engine note but its a V6 after all

Also wasnt sold by the Nismo , I like the bodykit but the wheels and interior are dull and its overpriced, its now available with the excellent 7 speed auto now though , which suits the car well and the manual is not great in all honesty.

RedSwede

162 posts

130 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
I test drove a 370 a few years back. Not at all bad, and I would have seriously thought about one, but the engine was horrendous. Most turbo fours these days are far more pleasant to rev out.

Big shame about that.

Alias218

758 posts

98 months

Tuesday 31st March 2015
quotequote all
It's a shame that they dropped the ball on this one. The 350Z has a wonderful noise; loud at WOT but quiet and well mannered at cruising speeds. However, it too feels slower than the speedo would indicate. Instead of rectifying this, they choose instead to dampen the 370's exhaust note. Plus it's not a real looker from the rear perspective IMO.