By: IOL Motoring Staff
Fontana Dam, North Carolina - there was a surprise guest at the weekend at ZDayz, the annual gathering of Nissan, Datsun and Nismo owners and enthusiasts - the new Nissan 370Z Nismo, upgraded for 2015 with an expanded range that now includes six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic transmissions and a new Tech grade.
Nissan chief planning officer Andy Palmer said: “Nismo is the heart and soul of Nissan performance, both for the track and on the street, so it's fitting that we are showing the new 370Z for the first time at a gathering of our most loyal and enthusiast owners.
Z'S GOT THE LOOK
The most striking change for the new 370Z Nismo is its revised body kit. The GT-R inspired aero kit includes a new, deep front bumper with LED daytime running lights, black headlight bezels, Nismo emblem and a signature red stripe on the integrated front chin spoiler.
The red trim continues down the redesigned side sills, over the black side-mirror housings and across the lower section of the new rear diffuser, while the special rear spoiler has been reshaped and is actually slightly smaller than before.
Finally the 19” Rays forged-alloy rims have been restyled with a dual five-spoked design in dark grey finish.
Inside there's a rev-counter in Nismo red, and a new steering wheel and sports seats in mixed black and red leather and alcantara synthetic suede, emblazoned with red contrast stitching and, of course, the Nismo logo. They were developed in conjunction with Recaro to provide more uniform body pressure and better all-direction support during hard acceleration, braking and cornering.
Also new for is the 370Z Nismo Tech derivative, featuring a hard drive-based navigation system with a seven-inch touch-sensitive display, rear camera, Bose audio system with satellite radio, streaming audio via Bluetooth and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
NUT AND BOLTS
As in previous years, the NEW Nismo has a 3.7-litre DOHC V6 with variable valve timing and lift that's been uprated with a specially tuned H-shaped exhaust system, free-flow silencers and a re-mapped ECU to deliver a quoted 258kW - 13kW more than the standard 370Z - and 375Nm.
Two transmission choices are offered for the first time on the 370Z Nismo - the standard close-ratio six-speed manual box with automatic throttle blip on downshifts, and a new paddle-shift seven-speed auto transmission with throttle blip and adaptive shift control.
Over the top of the engine, there's a Nismo strut tower brace for enhanced body rigidity, linking performance front dampers. The Nismo's tuned suspension also includes special springs and anti-roll bars front and rear, bigger-than standard sports brakes and a viscous limited-slip differential with a shorter final-drive ratio that does nothing for fuel economy but puts a noticeable extra kick in the Z's acceleration.
Available only in red, black, metallic silver and pearl white, the 370Z Nismo will be available in the United States from July 2014. We're waiting on a reply from Nissan SA as to when it will be released in South Africa.