Originally Posted by Inside Line
Well, it's great to know that there's going to be a 2007 Nissan 350Z Nismo, a limited-production version of the 2007 Z-car that's been tricked up for hard-core drivers. We expect it to arrive in the U.S. later this year.
Introduced at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Salon last month and soon to arrive at Nissan dealers in Japan, the Nismo Z has already turned a lot of heads. It looks pretty racy, but it's not exactly a Nismo.
The limited-production Nismo Z is actually being put together by Autech Japan, a longtime builder of specialty Nissans for commercial use and drivers with special needs. In recent years, Autech has been building high-profile Nissan special editions.
Autech has recently become a motorsports company, and it builds and prepares the Nissan Z-car that competes in the Japan Super GT racing series. The Autech-prepared Z-car even won the series last year with German racer Michael Krumm at the wheel. So it's no surprise that there's more to the Nismo Z than simply some parts swapping from the Nismo catalog.
It all starts with the 2007 Nissan 350Z and its new-generation 3.5-liter VQ35HR V6, which produces 306 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and revs to 7,500 rpm. There's a large, low-restriction exhaust muffler as well.
Autech welds up the seams in the Z-car's unit-body chassis, a familiar racing practice that adds more structural rigidity to the Z-car's chassis than the conventional spot welds from the Nissan assembly line can provide. The usual strut-tower braces further improve chassis stiffness.
Even more body rigidity comes from Autech's innovative use of special pieces beneath the Z-car's unit-body. Special mass from Yamaha are mounted between the left- and right-side frame members to resist flex and vibration. This must be the first time Yamaha has been linked to the Z-car since the motorcycle company proposed a sports-car prototype for Nissan in 1964, only to have its design refused. (The car later surfaced as the Toyota 2000GT.)
The Nismo Z sits on strong yet lightweight forged aluminum wheels that carry Bridgestone RE-01R tires, 245/40R18s in front and 275/35R19s in the rear.
Through the racing program for the Autech-prepared Z-car, Nissan's design group and vehicle testing department developed a special complement of bodywork pieces, and Autech has turned them into production pieces for the Nismo Z. These pieces include a front aero splitter, front and rear bumper covers, rocker-sill extensions and a dramatic rear wing.
The Nismo Z is more than a racing car, as the interior has received a comprehensive makeover with perforated suedelike seat upholstery plus leather trim for the shift knob and parking brake lever. Naturally there are aluminum pedal covers and assorted metallic trim pieces.
This is a pretty comprehensive conversion, so it's no wonder that the Japanese-market Nismo Z carries the equivalent of an 11-percent premium over a conventional Z-car coupe with a six-speed manual transmission.
All this work makes the Z-car quicker at the track, but there aren't any engine modifications, so the 2007 Nissan 350Z Nismo probably won't feel any quicker on the street. It'll be interesting to see what kind of reception it'll find in the U.S.