For those of you living under a rock, NISMO stands for NISsan MOtorsports, which has been supplying aftermarket go-fast parts to Nissan fans for years. Recently, Nissan brought their collective knowledge to bear on the previous generation Z-car, the 350Z. With a comprehensive makeover that includes enough suspension modifications to make the Z a veritable track-day weapon, the NISMO Z is much more than a simple wheel and badge package that automakers often try to pass off as a limited edition. This NISMO is number 879, identified by a special aluminum plaque on the console, and unless you've got your SCCA competition license, I'm guessing that this car has higher limits than you do.
Externally, the NISMO refines the 350Z's shape, which was already cutting edge and contemporary. A new chin spoiler with a larger grille opening, different side skirts, and a revised rear valence help improve the NISMO's aerodynamic efficiency, while a more aggressive rear wing actually functions as it should by plastering the Z's rear wheels to the pavement. Finished in Magnetic Black Pearl, the car is low, wide, and sinister, with a stance that looks like it would prefer to hunt rather than be on display. However, this car is certainly ready for display, having been beautifully maintained for the past several years by a very enthusiastic owner who has kept the finish buffed and unmarked. With a minimum of gimmicks and extraneous addons, the Z is a pretty good platform for a makeover, and black brings out the many bulges, curves, and other interesting details in the original shape.
There's no trim on the NISMO outside of some special red and black NISMO badges, although all the original Nissan and 350Z badges have been given a matching coat of black paint for a truly monochromatic look. The big projector-beam headlights remain the primary feature of the front end, while the rear is similarly dominated by a pair of triangular tail lights, all of which remain in excellent condition. Chrome Nissan badge on the nose and bright Z badges on the front fenders stand out against the black finish. If black is your thing we have your car.
The mighty VQ-series 3.5 liter V6 still lives under the hood, delivering a stout 306 horsepower and 268 pounds of torque. Nissan's goal wasn't to create a drag strip terror, but to develop a chassis that can fully exploit the power that's already there. As a result, it's a durable, reliable dance partner that isn't so high strung that you need to worry about hurting it at the track or after an afternoon of spirited driving. The torque curve is broad, and it screams eagerly to redline without any signs of straining or harshness. Taking a peek under the hood and you'll find a NISMO intake system that uses dual conical air filter elements and special tubing to create that unique intake woosh, but it's purely an aural upgrade and doesn't add any power. There are, however, signs of careful maintenance throughout, and the entire engine bay is spotless. It's obvious that this car has never been used in inclement weather, and definitely not in the winter—bright plated parts remain shiny, the plastic is undamaged by heat or wear, and there's absolutely no evidence of leakage or damage anywhere. I would almost go so far as to say that it is as good as new despite its 11,140 miles.
The engine is backed by Nissan's slick-shifting 6-speed manual, whose well-chosen ratios make the most of the V6's broad power curve. But the real magic of the NISMO is in the suspension, which uses upgraded shocks, springs, and sway bars to plaster the car to the pavement without a big ride comfort penalty. Unique body dampers are designed to reduce vibrations and harshness, while a handful of chassis braces stiffen the body shell for track duty. Massive Brembo disc brakes are fitted at all four corners, addressing a common complaint from Z-car drivers who regularly put their cars on the track. The bigger binders deliver fade-free performance and look simply spectacular with their gold powdercoated calipers and bright red Brembo logos. A special exhaust system adds a real growl to the V6's soundtrack without droning at cruising speeds like many aftermarket systems—this is a factory effort after all. Finally, the defining feature of the NISMO is the special forged wheels with that unique charcoal gray finish and a red and white NISMO logo on the spokes. Sizing is 18s up front and 19s in back wearing 245/40/18 front and 265/35/19 rear Bridgestone Potenza rubber.
There are big upgrades inside as well, most notably those special red and black sport seats with custom red stitching. Highly adjustable, the seats are built for track use and are exceptionally grippy (which is why they are not available in leather). Showing minimal wear, the interior is as nicely preserved as the exterior, with excellent carpets and door panels that are like new. Special white and gray NISMO-badged gauges are nestled into the Z's dash, and the trio of auxiliary gauges atop the dash are a nice reminder that this car has DNA from the legendary 240Z running through its veins. That special aluminum number plate I mentioned earlier is fitted to the console just behind the shifter with its distinctive red stripe boot, while all the Z's standard features, from A/C and cruise control, to a powerful stereo and power windows are included. In the trunk you'll find a heavy-duty chassis brace that has been artfully incorporated into the design, adding rigidity and simply looking cool whenever you glance back there.
Documentation includes all the original owner's manuals, service guide, and warranty booklet, and a Nissan service agreement.
If you've found the standard Z to be a little too soft, perhaps too much of a compromise, the NISMO is for you. Honed to a weapon, this car excels on the track or the twisty two-lane where its capabilities can be fully exploited. Skilled drivers can probe its insanely high limits and the finesse of the package can make even average drivers look like heroes. Not everyone will know what it is when they see it, but everyone will recognize it as something special as it hammers down the highway or pulls into a parking lot looking for a fight. With expert maintenance and care since it was new, this NISMO is like a new car in every way. For Z-car fans, the NISMO is the ultimate expression of the 350Z. Call today!
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