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Grand Tourer No More: Nissan Z Nismo Sets Its Sights on the Track

Gives the Z a much-needed edge

2024 Nissan Z Nismo front
  • New Nismo performance model aims to make the Z a more track-focused machine.
  • Aero enhancements, larger brakes and a sport-tuned suspension are among the upgrades.
  • Twin-turbo V6 ekes out a little more power.

While the previous 370Z sport coupe was performance-focused to a fault — specifically, to the severe detriment of road comfort and technology — the new-for-2023 Nissan Z softened the edges and transformed the two-door into a genuine grand tourer. And why not? There was always Nissan's Nismo division for buyers who needed a true competition-worthy sports car ...

The 2024 Nissan Z Nismo is the result of the performance arm's tinkering with the new Z. As with previous Nismo-tuned Zs, this version comes with all manner of handling upgrades and a power bump, so it should be faster and more livelier in corners. Nismo also touched the brakes, steering, transmission and bodywork to make it distinct from the more pedestrian models in the lineup.

Here's everything that makes the Z Nismo the autocrosser's choice.

2024 Nissan Z Nismo rear

A more focused performance car

The old Nismo built off the sportiest version of the 370Z, and the Z Nismo is no different. It starts with the Performance model's additions, which include a mechanical limited-slip differential and upgraded brakes with double the number of front and rear pistons. The Z Nismo is uniquely equipped with front and rear chassis bracing, a Nismo-tuned suspension, and 15-inch front rotors (compared to the Performance version's 14-inch discs) with a different brake pad compound. The 19-inch Rays wheels are painted black this time and are shod in Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600 summer tires that are 10 mm wider in the rear. There's also a new Sport+ drive mode to complement the standard Nismo-tuned nine-speed automatic transmission, which is said to downshift more quickly than other models.

2024 Nissan Z Nismo profile

Driving the Nismo is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 — the same VR30DDTT that drives the standard Z. Here it produces 420 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, compared to the 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of other models. Nissan hasn't quoted acceleration times just yet, but since the Z Nismo weighs about 100 pounds more than a Z Performance with the automatic, we don't expect it to be significantly quicker in a straight line.

We're not surprised by the moderate power bump — Nismo models are typically concerned with overall performance, and the under-the-skin enhancements are likely enough to change the character of the vehicle. There are also tweaks to the exterior that change its look. The front bumper is subtly redesigned to extend farther forward (Nissan says this recalls the Fairlady 240ZG), and the grille's honeycomb elements are thinner to channel more air into the engine bay. Out back is a three-piece ducktail-style spoiler for increased downforce, while reshaped bumper edges help channel air around the car for decreased drag.

2024 Nissan Z Nismo interior

Nismo has given the Z's interior some love too, starting with manually adjustable Recaro bucket seats with deep bolsters — perfect for keeping your body from slipping and sliding on a racetrack. The seats and wheel are draped in a mixture of leather and Alcantara faux suede, with the steering wheel sporting a red marker at the 12 o'clock position so you can keep track of which way the wheels are pointed.

2024 Nissan Z Nismo seats

Edmunds says

While there's still room for improvement on the technology front, the Z Nismo has the potential to invigorate what is otherwise a pretty typical grand tourer.