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Above is the Nissan 370Z Nismo, it’s a sportscar tuned by the brand’s Motorsport division, and it offers something that many modern sportscars fail to: a raw, unadulterated driving experience. In fact, if modern sportscars are a swiss army knife trying to juggle everyday practicality with comfort and fuel efficiency, the 370Z is a screwdriver in comparison, it does just one thing, but boy does it do it well.
From the outside the 370Z has remained relatively unchanged since its launch in 2009 and that isn’t such a bad thing. It doesn’t look outdated by any means and since this is the Nismo version it gets a few exquisite upgrades.
For starters, the Nismo is longer and wider than the standard 370Z and that is because of the different bumpers it receives, the beautiful body kit, and the 19-inch Rays alloy wheels that are wider than those on the standard car. The Nismo also differentiates itself with darkened headlamps, dark chrome on the door handles, and black side mirrors with a neat red stripe running horizontally across.
Minimalistic and driver focused, the cabin of the Nissan 370Z looks dated by modern standards but what’s important is that everything serves a specific purpose and that purpose is to provide a better driving experience.
Recaro sports seats covered in a combination of Alcantara and leather, why? For a better driving experience. Alcantara and leather wrapped steering wheel, why? For a better driving experience. Instrument cluster attached to the steering column, why? For a better driving experience.
Although these are just a few things, it doesn’t take much to see that the 370Z is all about the driver and the experience behind the wheel. In fact, many are likely to get inside and complain about the lack of storage space for their mobile phone, but if you ask me, I think Nissan’s done that intentionally. They want drivers to keep their phones in their pocket, their hands on the wheel, and enjoy the 370Z to the fullest.
If there’s one angle of the 370Z that reveals its age, it would have to be the technology. Basic in every way possible, there’s isn’t much more than an ancient 7-inch infotainment screen, a rear-view camera, cruise control, and a brilliant 8-speaker Bose sound system. Is it a deal breaker though? Not one bit.
Under the hood of the 370Z sits a 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6, which is such a pleasant change. When most other manufacturers are downsizing and going with forced induction through turbos or superchargers for their sports cars, Nissan’s stuck to the old school approach and the benefit of this is that you can rev the engine right up to 7,400 RPM and hear it scream before changing into the next gear.
Power for the Nismo stands at 350 horsepower, which is an increase of 22 horsepower over the standard car and torque measures in at 374 Nm, which is 12 Nm more than the standard Z. Unlike newer cars, it’s also only fitted with a 7-speed automatic, but it does come with Downshift Rev Matching.
For those of you who know what downshift rev matching is, you’re probably smiling right now, and for those who don’t, it basically blips the throttle on every downshift, making sure you’re at the perfect RPM in every gear so that you can accelerate hard out of every corner. It is essentially an advanced driving technique used by race car drivers, except now, regular people like you and I can perform it too.
Speaking of the transmission and how brilliant it is, I will highlight that it is very mechanical. You feel every shift, you hear every shift, and while many people might find this uncomforting, I personally love it. It’s raw, it’s engaging, it’s what you’d expect from a proper sportscar.
Unlike modern sportscars that are equipped with electric steering, the 370Z has a hydraulic steering system. What this means is that it’s heavier than but way more precise and delivers immense feedback. The smallest of adjustments to the steering can be seen and felt immediately with the car ready to change direction and attack the next corner.
To make you understand just how simple and raw the 370Z is, it doesn’t come with any fancy electronic systems or drive modes. It’s loud, it’s harsh, it’s engaging, it’s essentially in Race Mode 24/7 and that’s what a true sportscar is meant to be – something almost all other manufacturers have forgotten because they’re so busy trying to come up with the ideal “everyday sports car”.
Dedicated to performance on the street and track, the 370Z Nismo gets a tuned suspension with stiffer springs, shocks, and stabilizer bars to reduce body roll and keep the car planted in fast corners. In fact, the engineers’ commitment to performance also sees the introduction of aluminum on the boot and carbon fiber for the driveshaft and radiator support.
For the slightly more technical readers, we have long been told that the ideal weight distribution in a car is 50/50, right? But Nissan’s engineers beg to differ. In fact, the weight distribution on the 370Z Nismo is 53 front and 47 rear, why? Because when entering a corner, the front needs to be heavier to push into the tarmac and get more grip. On the flipside, when accelerating out of a corner, the weight is pushed to the rear and so it balances out to a 50/50 distribution, now isn’t that smart?
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the saying ‘Old is Gold’ and it is extremely relevant in the case of the Nissan 370Z Nismo. At 184,500 Dirhams, it is not a cheap purchase, but then again, the 370Z is not for everyone. It is for the automotive enthusiasts, the driving enthusiasts, the men and women who don’t care if it doesn’t have the latest technology because when behind the wheel, the experience can be matched by only a few. So, let’s just enjoy it, let’s celebrate it because who knows, it might be the last naturally aspirated ‘Z’ or the last ‘Z’ from Nissan at all.