2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo
It's greater than the average Z. The 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo builds on the Z34 chassis with a number of performance upgrades.
If the basic 370Z was already pretty hard-edged, the upgrades from Nissan's Nismo tuning division make it hardcore.
The Nismo Z exhales more freely through an H-piped, dual sport exhaust. Unfortunately, you'll hardly be able to hear the exhaust rumble over the drone of road noise generated by the wide tires and firm suspension.
The Nismo rear fascia features an integrated underbody diffuser, beneath which peek the polished Nismo exhaust tips.
Double wing spoiler
The most obvious exterior upgrade is the Nismo double-wing spoiler, which compliments the front chin spoiler and underbody diffuser. Together, they endow the Z with zero aerodynamic rear-lift for more high-speed stability. The wing also all but totally blocks the view out of the rearview mirror.
Automatic car washes are a no-no for those who really care about their rides, and Nissan warns against their potentially damaging the spoiler.
Nismo-design, 19-inch Rays forged aluminum-alloy wheels are shod with sticky Bridgstone Potenza rubber.
The Nismo Z rides atop a sport-tuned suspension and chassis that is significantly stiffer than the stock setup.
Where some vehicles hide their door handles, the 370Z proudly displays them in a contrasting metallic finish. Nissan Intelligent keyless entry and push-button start are standard on the Nismo Z.
Our 370Z Nismo's aerodynamic upgrades feature a contrasting grey finish, rather than color-matching the Pearl White paint of the body. That's great for showing off, but I'd personally choose a solid color.
The 370Z Nismo features the upgraded four-piston brakes from the Sport package, as well as the upgraded brake lines, 14-inch rotors, and high-performance brake fluid. The rear calipers are two-piston units.
Nismo front fascia
The Nismo's unique front fascia features an integrated chin spoiler and a smaller grill opening.
I thought I'd end up scraping the Nismo Z's chin spoiler on every driveway that I entered or exited, but there's more front clearance than there appears to be.
The two-door 370Z is a liftback with rear glass that raises to reveal a shallow storage area.
Under the hood, the 3.7-liter engine has been retuned by the Nismo performance division to output 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque.
Strut tower bar
Crossing over the Nismo Signature red engine cover is a three-point strut tower bar.
Contrasting side mirors feature a red stripe, but no blind spot monitoring indicators.
The interior of the 370Z Nismo is decorated with a red and black contrasting color scheme.
The Z's manually adjustable sport buckets feature fabric upholstery and contrasting red stitching.
Nismo logos have been embroidered into the seatbacks. Pay extra and you can also get embroidered floor mats.
Each Nismo Z features a numbered plate between the seats indicating the chassis code (Z34), the model year (14), and a serial number (0026).
The steering wheel features Alcantara leather trim with a small red leather strip indicating top center. There are a few buttons for controlling the optional Bluetooth hands-free calling system, cruise control, and the limited audio sources and volume.
The Z's instrument cluster floats above the steering column and moves up and down as you adjust the wheel's tilt.
The Z's steering wheel doesn't appear to telescope, which can be an issue for very long or short legged drivers.
The three-gauge cluster features a large central tachometer with a shift light. On either side are a digital readout for trip computer information, and an analog speedometer.
Why is this still here!?
I've never been a fan of the segmented LED indicators for fuel level and engine coolant temperature, both of which can be difficult to read at a glance in direct sunlight. Just give me a needle, Nissan!
At the top of the dashboard, you'll find a trio of gauges indicating, from left to right, engine oil temperature, electrical system voltage, and the current time.
Our 370Z was equipped with Nissan's eight-speaker Bose audio system, which adds tweeters, a pair of subwoofers, and a six-disc CD changer to the Z's audio mix. Beggars can't be choosers, but I'd take a standard USB port over a six-disc changer.
Navigation is not an option on the Nismo Z, but you do get this odd cubby hole at the top of the center stack. You could put an average sized phone in there, but the Z's two 12V charging ports are in the center console and beneath the dashboard. I'm guessing this is where your sunglasses go.
Automatic climate control
Automatic climate control is standard on the 370Z Nismo, but don't expect multiple zones or heated seats.
A six-speed manual transmission is your only gearbox option at the Nismo trim level.
This gearbox features SynchroRev Match technology, which automatically matches engine speed the the chosen gear before you release the clutch.
The Traction Control system can be defeated by holding this button. However, with tons of grip available, we never needed to.
Regardless of its trim level, the 370Z boasts a wide-body design that helps it to remain flat in the turns. The Nismo upgrades only serve to boost this natural tendency.
Lift the 370Z's rear hatch and you'll find that the shallow storage area is intruded upon by a silver rear chassis bar, the wheel wells, and the rear strut towers. Performance is clearly more important than convenience here.
The wheel and tire widths are staggered on the Nismo Z. There are 245-width tires up front and wider 285-width tires out back.
Rear visibility is not the best on the 2014 370Z, but a rear camera can be added with a display that integrates into the center rearview mirror. Unfortunately, this is a $790 option.
Loads of grip
Thanks to the firm suspension and generous tire contact patches, I was able to push the Z hard through turns and maintain higher cornering speeds than I'd expected.
Too firm for traffic
However, around town, the Nismo suspension was painfully stiff. Some hardcore speedfreaks won't mind this compromise in the name of performance, but a Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 R-Spec would be infinitely easier to live with day-to-day.
The Nismo trim level features standard boomerang-shaped, Xenon headlamps with automatic on/off, but loses the LED daytime running lights of the standard model.
At an as-tested price of $46,370, Nissan is asking a pretty steep fee for this most hardcore Z.