By Ewan Kennedy, Marque Motoring

Nissan’s 370Z sportscar is getting on in years but still looks the part and is bargain priced.
Indeed it recommended retail price has been coming down to compensate for the years going up. For a little over $50,000 on the road it gives you a blast into the past that’s most enjoyable.
Now another, pretty special version of the 370Z is on sale, one from the Nissan Motorsports and tuning division Nismo. The 370Z Nismo features added power, sports suspension, wider tyres, bigger brakes, a hot body kit and a Recaro trimmed interior.
You still get excellent value from this special model, just $61,490 for the six-speed manual we tested, or $63,990 for the seven-speed automatic we (thankfully) didn’t test.
Though the regular Nissan 370Z is sold as a coupe or roadster the Nismo only comes with the closed body as it’s the lighter of the two. The front and rear have been reworked, including a great looking rear wing. Plenty of red highlights have been added to the lower areas. Classy 19-inch alloys are part of the packaged, with the Nismo brakes clearly visible inside them.
The cabin has a pair of red and black Recaros covered in cloth that support well and really do give the feeling you deserve in any ‘proper’ sports machine. There are some little red touches here too, in particular the red ‘O’ at the end of the Nismo badge on the tacho.
The dash area is virtually unchanged, but we have loved the three central dial layout since way back when we first drove a 240Z and they still look great today.
The guys at Nismo revised the standard 3.7-litre V6 engine by fitting a dual sports exhaust system which reduces back pressure by up to 30 per cent. That, and retuning the engine control module, added an extra eight kW of power and eight Nm of torque.
Outputs are 253 kW (350 horsepower in sportscar numbers) at deliciously high revs of 7400. And a 374 Nm at 5200 rpm.
The first thing you notice is the improved engine note. The snap and snarl of the engine when it’s worked hard is delightful. There’s no turbo to delay air intake so acceleration is virtually instantaneous. The harder you go the better it sounds and feels.
The gearshift is light (but not too light) and works slickly. Rev matching on downchanges?
Yuk! If you don’t know how to heel-toe you should not be in the driver’s seat of a Nismo.
Front and rear suspension have increased spring, dampening and stabiliser rates.
A strut tower bar brace gives the suspension a stiffer platform on which to work. So the Nismo grips the road with plenty of determination. It has nice chassis balance and responds well to the slightest input of the throttle and wheel.
Steering feel is excellent, though some may find it rather heavy, particularly at lower speeds.
The big Nismo has a harsh-ish ride of uneven surfaces and there’s quite a bit of road-roar on coarse-chip roads. Sound like criticism? It’s not, we really like the raw nature of the big Nissan. This is not grand tourer, it’s the real deal.
Nismo sports brakes with 14-inch front and 13.8-inch rear vented rotors, with four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminium callipers haul off speed hard. Exactly what you need if you’re tempted into track days.
We love the old fashioned sound and feel of the Nissan 370Z Nismo and suggest anyone who is halfway interested gets down to their favourite dealer to sample sports motoring at a budget price.
Inquire about a test drive at Dandenong Nissan, 46 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong. Phone 9792 9922.

Model range
370Z Nismo 3.7-litre manual two-door coupe : $61,490 (manual), $63,990 (automatic)

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