Test Drive: 2011 Nissan 370Z NISMO Review

I had the new 2011 Nissan 370Z NISMO edition this week.  While I kid Kevin about his 2005 350Z being a “girl car” (it is) (editor’s note: is not!) make NO MISTAKE, this new version is one fast, great handling car.

Under the hood, this sports car has a 3.7-liter 350-horse V6 which gives it an additional 18-horses over the standard 370Z.  It also comes standard with a terrifically synchronized six-speed manual transmission, which electronically adjusts engine speed to make shifting smoother and more effortless.

This car’s exterior is striking with huge tires and wheels, aggressive fender flaring, and a large rear double-wing spoiler.  You can see the NISMO team had a race car theme in mind with everything they did.  If you just look behind the doors, you think you are looking at a Porsche.  The wheels are among the best-looking I have even seen.  Made by RAYS, they are 19×9.5” in the front and 19×10.5” in the rear with Yokohama Y-rated tires.

The NISMO interior is unique to the car with red stitching throughout the black interior.  The leather seats are comfortable and sporty with plenty of adjustments to get you comfortable in the snug cockpit.  A special NISMO plaque and all-aluminum pedals complete the interior look.  The gauge cluster is as good as any car I have ever driven.

Just about everything comes standard on this car.  All the power options you would expect are there including power seats for both occupants.  Power mirrors, automatic Xenon headlights, tilt wheel, cruise control, automatic temperature air conditioning, and a lot more is standard.  The car is very well equipped.

The list of safety features is impressive as well.  Besides the normal dash-mounted airbags, it has side airbags, roof mounted side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, tire pressure monitoring system, and dynamic vehicle control.

The NISMO Z handles great and feels like a much more expensive sports car.  It is tight around curves and does not dip or sway in the least.  I liken it a bit to a Corvette from the standpoint of stiffness.  With that comes a harshness of ride that some will not like if the car is going to be a daily driver.  I find myself in that category.  The NISMO version would make a super weekend car that won’t break the bank.

One warning…if you are over 6-foot tall or over 200 pounds or so, this car will not be easy to get in and out of, and the head room is going to be tight.   Make sure you are going to be comfortable.

This was a car that the MSRP came in under what I would have thought.  For what you get, it’s a good value and a darned good looking car.

What I liked most:  The handling, the wheels, and the value.

What I would change if I could: Add a comfort setting for the suspension.

MSRP as tested: $41,435.

Fuel Economy: 18 city/26 highway.

NISMO 370Z in a few words: A fun car, a great buy, but not for everyone.


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