2014 Nissan Nismo 370Z

The NISMO 370Z is a high-performance version of the 370Z Coupe developed by Nissan's Specialty Vehicles Group in conjunction with tuning partner Autech Japan. Offered only as a fully-loaded model with a six-speed manual transmission, it features a race-inspired interior and exterior, specially tuned suspension, and lightweight alloy wheels.

Recent Changes
For the latest model year, the NISMO 370Z gains updated exterior styling intended to bring it in line with NISMO's new design theme. Inside, a new steering wheel features Alcantara synthetic suede with red accents, and a red tachometer has also been added. No mechanical changes have been made.

The NISMO model is the most extreme 370Z available from the factory, a fact that its aggressive sheetmetal announces loudly and proudly. Up front, new touches include downforce-boosting splitter and an elongated, model-specific nose. Overall, the NISMO stretches a significant 6.2 inches longer than the standard 370Z.

Other stylistic changes that set it apart from the rest of the Z-car lineup include dark grey accents on the front and rear fascias, side sills, mirrors and rear spoiler. Red pinstripe accents add to the sporty look.

The Nismo 370Z continues to use a tuned version of Nissan's 3.7-liter "VQ" V6 that produces 350 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque - gains of 18 ponies and 6 lb-ft over the base model.

Drivers desiring an automatic transmission will need to look elsewhere - the Nismo 370Z comes only with a close-ratio six-speed manual. Notably, it features SynchroRev Match, the world's first synchronized downshift rev-matching manual gearbox system. SynchroRev Match"function controls and adjusts engine speed when shifting to the speed of the next gear position, essentially "blipping" the throttle to smooth out any downshifts.

Fuel economy is rated at 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

The NISMO 370Z's upgrades aren't limited to extra power - the coupe also features a stiffened suspension that allows for sharper handling. Compared to a standard 370Z Coupe, front spring rates have been dialed up 15 percent, rear spring rates 10 percent, the front stabilizer bar rate was upped 15 percent, and the rear stabilizer bar is 50 percent stiffer. The roll stiffness rate has been increased by 15 percent and front and rear damping factors have been increased by 40 percent and 140 percent, respectively.

The NISMO 370Z rides on unique five-spoke Nissan-branded 19-inch RAYS forged aluminum-alloy wheels (19x9.5-inch front, 19x10.5-inch rear) mounted with Yokohama ADVAN Sport Y-rated high-performance tires (P245/40ZR19 front, P285/35ZR19 rear).

Bringing the action to a stop are standard NISMO Sport Brakes with large-diameter 14.0-inch front and 13.8-inch rear vented rotors with four-piston front and two- piston rear aluminum calipers. The calipers are covered in red paint on all 2013s. Braking performance has been increased slightly thanks to high-rigidity brake hoses with R35 Special II brake fluid flowing through them.

Standard and Optional Features
The NISMO 370Z comes well equipped with NISMO-embroidered cloth seats with red stitching and power adjustability, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, aluminum-trimmed pedals, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system with an AUX input, a proximity key, push-button start, LED taillights and 19-inch NISMO forged alloy wheels.

The sole option is the Bose Package, which brings a premium Bose audio system with a six-disc CD changer and SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a Homelink universal transceiver.

Occupant Safety
All Nismo 370Z models come standard with dual front, front side and side-curtain airbags in addition to stability and traction control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

Key Competitors
Perhaps the closest rival to the NISMO 370Z is the Chevrolet Camaro SS equipped with the track-inspired 1LE package. Unlike the smaller, V6-powered NISMO, the Camaro is a big bruiser with a muscle-bound V8, but the 1LE package adds a unique suspension that makes it dance around the corners like a much lighter machine.

Other potential cross-shopping options include slightly less handling-focused rides like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and the Ford Mustang GT.