There are no optional extras for buyers to deliberate over because each 370Z NISMO comes fully loaded; they'll only need to choose between black, white and grey paintwork. All that kit goes some way to justifying the premium, but in order to do so entirely the 370Z NISMO will have to deliver an appreciably more rewarding driving experience than the standard car.
If this car rings a distant, muffled bell, you're likely thinking back to the version that was launched soon after the 370Z replaced the 350Z back in 2009, but never came to the UK. This isn't simply that car four years later; it's a new interpretation with the suspension, we're told, tuned for European roads.
The 370Z NISMO is true to the tradition of Japanese performance coupes in its styling, which is to say it's far from subtle. For that alone this car will be divisive, but the showy aesthetic works better on the open road than it does on the page or screen and the pumped up arches reek of attitude. The standard 370Z details - the head and taillights, the window kink - have dated since 2009, though, so the newer car lacks the appealing timelessness of the earlier 350Z. Within the cabin the steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach so is just a little far from the driver and the seat is set fractionally too high, but the overall sense of quality and usability is fine.
The stiffer suspension hints at something quite inviting with an extra degree of firmness both over road imperfections and during cornering. There is a suppleness to the damping, though, so the ride isn't unduly crashy and bumps are dealt with swiftly.
Powerfully built, still
For the most part, though, its dynamic make-up is all too familiar with that of the standard car. Some of that 1,535kg kerb weight has been disguised a little by the additional spring rate, but there remains a certain resistance to rapid direction changes and a progressive, gradual lurching in long mid-speed corners. As the 370Z has always been, this car is happiest at eight-tenths.
At that level of commitment, the NISMO is huge fun to drive in the most honest and accessible of ways. The steering is direct and pleasantly weighted and the rev-match function on the manual gearbox soon becomes entirely intuitive. The gearshift action suits the car's character well with a tight, mechanical throw.
Elephants in the room
At the NISMO's £36,995 price point rivals are few and far between. An entry-level 2.7-litre Porsche Cayman is in another league dynamically, but for many the small 275hp engine will just be too weedy. No internet debate concerning circa £30,000, 300hp rear-wheel drive cars can ignore the BMW M135i, it seems, and although that car offers an awful lot for its list price it just isn't a bespoke sports car in the mould of the 370Z.
good value for money - to justify the premium. Some buyers may be seduced by the body styling and greater exclusivity, though, and Nissan expects this new model to make up 25-30 per cent of 370Z sales going forward.
In its fundamentals, the 370Z NISMO hits all the right buttons and delivers a simple, honest driving experience that can be a tonic in this age of increasingly complex performance cars. Ultimately, though, it's let down by some jarring minor details, a chassis that reaches the limits of its comfort zone too soon and an engine that throws in the towel just when you want it to start punching.
NISSAN 370Z NISMO
Engine: 3,696cc, V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 344hp@7,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 274lb ft@5,200rpm
Top speed: 155mph
MPG: 26.7mpg (claimed)