At the top-end of the “family tree” of Z car models is the Nissan 350Z Nismo, the most performance-oriented of them all. While it is most assuredly that, the question is whether the rather mild factory upgrades are worth the added expense or better left to be done by the huge aftermarket crowd.
If you were expecting a bump-up in horsepower with the Nismo version, you will be disappointed. The same 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 306 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque found in the standard 350Z is used in the Nismo. So performance upgrades are limited to non-powerplant options, which is not necessarilly a good start in my book. You do get Nismo-specific exhaust, suspension, Brembo brakes and super-lightweight wheels however. The Nismo has a uniqe body kit as well. While Nissan maintains that it not only distinguishes this Z from it’s siblings in appearance but is fully functional, it comes across to me as mostly over-the-top, especially the rear spoiler.
I’m sure it is functional (Nissan has never lied to me), but I would think they would be capable of achieving the same results by different means; as others do. Even the “Nismo-tuned” exhaust doesn’t seem to do anything except be louder than the standard Z. Maybe I’m just getting old. While enhanced handling and braking qualities are always good, one wonders if in the absence of extra horsepower or torque it is worth the cost ($38,440), nearly 8 grand more than an “Enthusiast model” 350Z.
The interior has been modified to include Nismo seats, white race gauges and a plaque that indicates the car’s special-edition status.
In the end, it makes very little sense to me to spend $8,000 on an only marginally better vehicle with no increase in horsepower. For the same amount of money, you could buy a lower model Z and upgrade virtually the exact same components on your own, including among other things, computer and engine upgrades that can boost the performance by at least 50 horses. But the Z Nismo is a limited production model, and that in and of itself is perhaps a valuable commodity to some.