Classic Cars of Today – 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO

2014-nissan-370z-nismoThe original sports cars were built with one thing in mind: pure, unadulterated, high-powered performance. They were, quite simply, cars for people who enjoyed the full experience of driving. The ceaseless march of technology has changed that in recent decades as a proliferation of creature comforts, safety technologies and all sorts of other gizmos has found its way into the cabins of most sports cars. You’d be forgiven for wondering whether the desire for luxury has removed much of the “sport” aspect of the whole experience.

The Nissan 370Z NISMO is having none of that. The cabin is relatively spartan, at least by today’s standards. There’s an optional upgrade that adds a Bose sound system with six speakers, dual subwoofers and Bluetooth connectivity, but otherwise, the interior reflects a stripped-down, performance-oriented philosophy. Diehard gearheads likely won’t need the sound system anyway. Applying the throttle fills the cabin with the NISMO’s deep, rich engine note in the most satisfying way possible. Of course, that also means road noise can be a problem for those who prefer a more tranquil ride.

A throaty exhaust note means nothing if the car’s performance doesn’t match it, and thankfully, Nissan took care of that. The standard 370Z’s 3.7-liter V6 engine gets a NISMO tuning, pumping out 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. The 18 extra horses and 6 pound-feet or torque may not sound like a lot, but the difference is clearly noticeable. The dual-tipped exhaust also receives a NISMO tweak as does the sporty suspension. The extra power is channeled into a set of fat, staggered tires, with 9.5 inches in front and 10.5 inches in the rear. The high-performance Bridgestone Potenza tires provide a whole lot of grip, though it’s admittedly all a bit overkill for daily driving.

The performance theme carries over to the exterior as well, with the already sleek 370Z receiving an attractive front fascia with chin spoiler, a rear fascia with underbody diffuser, stylish side skirts and a sizable double-wing spoiler perched in the rear. The overall styling only serves to reinforce the idea that the 370Z NISMO is a car with attitude. Unfortunately, that philosophy is a bit of a double-edged sword. The NISMO is a rocket ship in the form of a car, and flying down the freeway, around a race track or on a smooth, curvy country road is a sublime experience. When it comes to daily driving, however, the over-the-top road and engine noise, stiff suspension and total focus on performance over convenience makes the 370Z utterly impractical.