BORN TO RUN
2015 Nissan 370Z NISMO Tech Coupe
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Fri, May 22, 2015
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
In the day we sweat it out in the streets with a runaway dream like the world-renowned $100,000.00+ GT-R NISMO. But many may be perfectly satisfied behind the wheel of the new 370Z NISMO Tech we just finished test driving and photographing. At $47,725.00 including destination, it’s less than half the price of the GT-R NISMO. As the flagship of the Nissan Z lineup, the Z NISMO lives up to the race-proven image of the NISMO name. And as The Boss would say, it’s born to run.
STEPPIN’ OUT OVER THE LINE
The most conspicuous change to the 2015 370Z NISMO is its refreshed exterior design. Its GT-R-inspired functional and fully integrated aerodynamic body has been designed to provide a more aggressive appearance, while improving aerodynamics by optimizing the front and rear downforce. Changes up front include a deep front fascia with Hyper LED Daytime Running Lights and black headlight bezels, which provide a greater level of visual differentiation from the standard 2015 370Z coupes. A fully integrated chin spoiler enhances the sense of movement, while improving airflow for exceptional aerodynamic performance. The new front fascia reminds one of a Formula 1 racer. Topping off the front end is the addition of a NISMO emblem and signature NISMO red stripe accents, which continue from the spoiler down the special side sill protectors.
The silhouette shows a steeply raked windshield A-pillar that plunge down to the rear glass, flared front and rear finders with over-the-fender spoilers, distinctive vertical door handles, and heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals. In addition to a new rear fascia with LED brake lights, the NISMO rear spoiler has been reshaped and downsized. The 370Z NISMO is now slightly shorter than the previous design—170.5 inches versus the 2014 model’s 173.4 inches (though remaining 3.0 inches longer overall than the standard 370Z coupes). As in previous years, the rear appearance is capped off by a pair of large, chrome-tipped exhaust outlets. Other exterior features include an aluminum hood, aluminum doors, aluminum hatch and automatic bi-functional xenon headlights. Just four exterior colors are offered: Pearl White, Magnetic Black, Brilliant Silver and Solid Red.
JUST WRAP YOUR LEGS AROUND MY VELVET RIMS
Adding to the distinctive NISMO appearance are 19X9.5 inch front and 19X10.5 inch super-lightweight forged aluminum-alloy wheels by RAYS. These stunning wheels have been restyled for 2015 with a twin-five spoke design and a charcoal gray machine-finish. The wheels are mounted with Bridgestone Potenza S001 Y-rated high-performance tires—214/40ZR19 front and 285/35ZR19 rear.
AND STRAP YOUR ARMS AROUND MY ENGINE
As before, power is generated by Nissan’s high-revving, 3.7 liter VQ37VHR, DOHC, all-aluminum alloy V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL). The advanced power plant is rated at 350 horsepower at 7,400 rpm (18 more than a standard 370Z coupe), and 276 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. The VVEL system helps optimize intake valve open/close movements, allowing the need air to be sent promptly to the combustion chamber at the optimized moment. The 370Z NISMO’s enhanced engine power and acceleration is brought to you by the use of an exclusive H-configured NISMO tuned exhaust system design and muffler. The 370Z NISMO reaches 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds.
Channeling all of the power and torque to the rear wheels is the newly refined seven-speed automatic with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM), Adaptive Shift Control and manual shift mode with paddle shifters or thru shifting into M mode and pushing up for higher gears or pulling back to lower the gear. It really provides the opportunity to hold gears and reach the 7,400 rpm redline for incredible acceleration. The car reacts instantly to inputs, pushing me back into the bucket seats for enthusiast thrills.
Steering the new 370Z NISMO is spot on with the standard power rack and pinion system. Just 2.7 turns lock-to-lock and a 13.7:1 ratio gives me uncompromising enjoyment letting me turn the car quickly and fluidly.
THIS CAR WON’T RIP THE BONES FROM YOUR BACK
Enhancing the thrills at the wheel is the NISMO tuned fully independent system. Up front is an aluminum double-wishbone setup with stabilizer bar, gas-charged shocks and coil springs. The rear NISMO-tuned multi-link aluminum setup features a stabilizer bar, gas-charged shocks, coil springs, with a steel subframe to lessen noise, vibration and harshness when driving over poorly paved roads. The new 370Z NISMO features a tight, rigid body structure with a three-piece strut tower brace and a pair of performance dampers which quickly and efficiently react to inputs to further control body vibrations from road input via the tires, contributing to the 370Z NISMO model’s outstanding handling and performance characteristics. It is like riding on the proverbial rails when cornering. The wide tires only enhance the cornering stability.
When entering a steep curve, the car feels like it is riding on a curving wall—stable, fast and confident. The standard Viscous Limited-Slip Differential with a shorter final drive than the standard 370Z for better acceleration feel—3.692 vs. 3.357 with the automatic really putting the power down on the pavement at launch or when I turn the vehicle stability control system off to let the rear slide out for even a more thrilling ride. A carbon fiber composite drive shaft further lessons weight at launch. As expected the ride is firm but never harsh, even over poorly paved road surfaces.
THE AMUSEMENT PARK STOPS BOLD AND STARK
Bringing all of this performance to a safe and short halt is the excellent NISMO tuned sport brakes 14-inch vented up front and 13.8-inch vented rear rotors grabbed by four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminum calipers. This braking system also includes a variable ratio brake pedal, high-rigidity brake hoses, and R35 Special II fluid with red-finished calipers. All of these race-bred NISMO tuned mechanical systems taken together shouts street and track high-performance capabilities and fun.
LET ME IN, I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND
The new 370Z NISMO’s seats were co-developed with Recaro exclusively for the 370Z NISMO. They are designed to provide a more uniform body pressure and better all-direction holding during extreme acceleration, braking and cornering. The seats feature standard eight-way driver’s and four-way passenger manual adjustments. The interior also features red seat trim and stitching with NISMO logo, an Alcantara-laden tilting leather-wrapped steering wheel and a NISMO 9,000 rpm tachometer. The tachometer and 180 mph speedometer include an ‘initial sweep’ function, which comes alive when the car is first started by pushing the start/stop button. Like all Nissan 370Z interiors, the layout is built around a deeply scooped instrument panel with a full-length leather-wrapped center console with padding at each side that separates the driver and passenger seat.
The instrument panel includes a three-pod cluster with oil temperature, voltmeter and clock, power express up/down windows, power door locks with auto lock features and automatic climate control. Other interior details include a smooth leather-wrapped shift knob, cargo cover/lamp, black Alcantara door inserts and aluminum-trimmed foot pedals. Standard interior comfort and convenient features include Nissan Intelligent Key, AM/FM/CD/AUX four-speaker audio system with illuminated steering wheel-mounted controls, USB/iPod interface and Bluetooth Hands-free phone system. The NISMO Tech test model adds a Bose in-dash CD with MP3/WMA, two additional speakers (six total), plus two subwoofers, SiriusXM satellite radio, streaming audio via Bluetooth, a standard hard drive-based Nissan Navigation system with a seven-inch VGA touch-sensitive display along with a rearview monitor, auto-dimming rearview mirror and HomeLink Universal Transceiver. This interior is both sporty and luxurious, but I must say that at 6 feet, 3 inches tall, it was an effort to get myself into and out of the cabin with the low roof height.
THERE’S NO PLACE LEFT TO HIDE
The new 2015 370Z NISMO is the real deal-aggressive looks, high-performing NISMO tuned power, transmission, steering, suspension and brakes that will make any automotive high-performance enthusiast very happy on the road or on the track.
SIDEBAR COMMENT: BABY WE’LL NEVER GO BACK
You know the road ahead of you is long even though you can’t see past the next curve. You are blind, yet excited by your need to be ready to react faster than what is coming up before you. A curve that chooses to tighten as you go around the bend…a sudden dip and shift in direction that requires you to shift…shift your eyes to the road stripe on the opposite side of the car…shift your steering wheel direction…shift the short-throw stick down a gear or two…and shift your weight in the Recaro to maintain your touch on all the controls. You are always adjusting with the road in a point counter-point way. The road changes on you, but it is you who decides how you and the machine are going to take it.
Hill climbs are never straight. They instead adjust to the uneven terrain of the hillside; attempting to find the path of least resistance like a mountain stream. If your car is a capable one, it can float on that climb up the same way that a fallen leaf manages to stay afloat on a mountain stream going down. Keeping speed with the rushing water and actually dancing on its surface.
Route 39 north of Azusa was the path for the Nismo to dance on one early evening. The speed bike crowd having finished their runs for the day, the hill climb is now open for our dip in and out of sun and shadow. The Nismo, sporting new track shoes, new suspension, and new wind-control pieces, is ready. 39 actually starts out fast and flat, before you gradually dump speed the more the curves appear before you. Straightaways are few, forcing you to adapt to curves that just feed into each other one after the other. What becomes clear is that Nissan has wrenched every single drop of performance upgrade possible from its engineers to produce this runner. This version of the Z may be six long years old, but it still clearly has some performance left under its partly aluminum skin.
Turn-in is even and balanced. Treads remain planted when the G’s are pushing the car sideways. Surface blemishes are always felt, but never jarringly so. Speed is always available, with braking almost equally responsive. Rev Matching makes heal & toe virtually unnecessary. Testing the car’s limits is possible but also predictable; easily forgiving you when you push it a little too far. The car is not a runaway best in any one measure, but it does do almost all that you ask of it well. A Decathlete, not a Sprinter.
Once you navigate most of the curves that the road can throw at you, a balanced calmness can actually develop. You know what you are dealing with, and few turns can throw you off. You also know that another Z car is destined to come up this road as well; replacement is inevitable. But for now, reaching the Crystal Lake Café 5,000 vertical feet later, you get a sense that you’ve just had a pretty good run.
- Sean Spear
For more information about Nissan products, go to nissanusa.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2015 Nissan 370Z NISMO Tech Coupe Price: $46,690.00 $47,725.00 (as tested, includes NISMO carpeted floor mats and destination charges) EPA fuel economy rating: 19 mpg city/26mpg highway Engine: 3.7 liter VQ37VHR, DOHC, all-aluminum alloy V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL) Horsepower: 350 at 7,400 rpm Torque: 276 pound-feet at 5,200 rpm Transmission: Seven-speed automatic with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM), Adaptive Shift Control and manual shift mode with paddle shifters or thru shifting into M mode Steering: 13.7:1 ratio power rack and pinion system, 2.7 turns lock-to-lock Drive configuration: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive Suspension: NISMO tuned fully independent system; front aluminum double-wishbone setup with stabilizer bar, gas-charged shocks and coil springs; rear NISMO-tuned multi-link aluminum setup with stabilizer bar, gas-charged shocks, and coil springs Brakes: NISMO tuned sport brakes, with four-piston 14-inch vented up front and two-piston 13.8-inch vented rear rotors, variable ratio brake pedal, high-rigidity brake hoses, and R35 Special II fluid with red-finished calipers Wheels and tires: 19X9.5 inch front and 19X10.5 inch forged aluminum-alloy wheels by RAYS; Bridgestone Potenza S001 Y-rated high-performance tires (214/40ZR19 front and 285/35ZR19 rear) Dimensions Overall length: 170.5 inches Overall width: 73.6 inches Overall height: 51.8 inches Curb weight: 3,394 pounds