WAKE UP FOR NEXT ZED

Slick pric­ing for the topline Nismo cars gives the 370Z a dig in the ribs

Herald Sun - Motoring - - MOTORING - PAUL GOVER

Aship­ment of fairy dust ar­rived this week from Nismo-land in Ja­pan, sprin­kled over the top of a lightly tweaked Nis­san 370Z.

If any car needs the magic it’s the an­cient Zed, which has been around al­most un­changed since 2009. It’s an old-school driv­ing car with a front-mounted V6 and rear­wheel drive, not a trendy front-drive turbo hatch — or the gar­gan­tuan GT-R Godzilla that it fol­lows as the sec­ond Nismo model in the go­faster lo­cal line-up.

The Nismo changes are sim­ple and pre­dictable, from firmer sus­pen­sion and big­ger wheels to spoil­ers, Re­caro sports seat, al­can­tara wrap­ping on the steer­ing wheel and some stick­ers. There are a dou­ble-bazooka ex­haust, chas­sis dampers and slightly higher en­gine out­puts, up by 8kW/8Nm.

So why bother?

“I think it will sus­tain in­ter­est in the Zed as a car. I’m not bank­ing on it giv­ing the car a kick in sales,” says Nis­san Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Emery. “It’s to get more ex­cite­ment into our show­rooms.”

Any ex­cite­ment will be good. Nis­san has re­treated into SUVs and light com­mer­cials as it works to make a smarter busi­ness case for pas­sen­ger cars in Aus­tralia. It’s re­ly­ing on Nismo to pol­ish the GT-R and 370Z badges.

Emery an­tic­i­pates the 370Z will run for at least another two years — de­spite a com­plete blank on plans for a suc­ces­sor — and be­lieves the up­date and ma­jor price ad­just­ments will sta­bilise sales at 300-400 an­nu­ally.

For many, the best thing about the 370Z Nismo coupe is the price change it brings for the whole Zed fam­ily. The six mod­els start from $49,990, with the man­ual Nismo ver­sion from $61,490 and the auto from $63,990.

Emery ex­pects 30 per cent of 370Z sales to have the Nismo gear and buy­ers to come from two ob­vi­ous — but very dif­fer­ent — groups. “There are males 45-65, mar­ried, prob­a­bly with no kids at home, ex­cited by driv­ing. Then males 20-24, Nismo en­thu­si­asts.”

ON THE ROAD

This is not what I ex­pect from a 370Z with Nismo badges. I’m fear­ing some­thing from the “Pull out the sus­pen­sion, make it loud” crew. This one is smoother and more re­fined than the reg­u­lar 370Z and gen­er­ally more pleas­ant.

Its ad­vanced age is ob­vi­ous. I can’t find a dig­i­tal speedome­ter any­where, the cabin is messy and out­dated and there are none of the lat­est ad­vanced safety fea­tures.

Still, the ba­sics will still work for peo­ple who like to drive and the Re­caro seats are great.

It’s no rocket ship, though it is eas­ier to keep the car run­ning along thanks to the shove of the mid-range torque. It runs well to the red-line, too, with a great bark from the Nismo ex­haust.

The body changes give the car a bit more vis­ual heft. The wheels are set 15mm wider apart but the big­ger ad­van­tage comes from sep­a­rate mass dampers that aid sus­pen­sion com­pli­ance. Some peo­ple might find more grip from wider rear 245-35 Dun­lop tyres.

The ex­haust also re­moves the drone of the reg­u­lar 370Z — and the rear looks great.

A lit­tle does quite a lot for the 370Z. The Nismo car is sweeter to drive but keep an eye on the speedo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.