Review: 2009 Nissan Nismo 370Z

Don Sherman
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RISING TO THE SPORTS CAR CAUSE

The NISMO Z definitely feels like it just graduated from Nissan's advanced driving dynamics academy. The steering is firm, direct, and heavily weighted. Cornering response borders on anticipatory. The front-rear balance is as close as you'll get to drift-ready in any production vehicle we've experienced. The ride is taut but not so rigid that daily driving becomes a pain in the sacroiliac. Body roll during an aggressive turn-in is negligible.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the engine and transmission emit crude noises when pressed to their rev limits and the sound of the new dual exhaust system is too subdued for this hairy-chested edition of the Z. The new wing provides an excellent hiding place for law enforcement agents. But the most frustrating discovery we brought home from the test track is absolutely no hint of performance improvement. The acceleration, braking, cornering, and top speed are no better than the 370 Z Sport we tested last fall.

So the NISMO Z definitely looks and feels the part but don't even think of challenging a 370 Z Sport model on the street. Save your attacks for static gatherings, where the NISMO's hot looks will prevail, and for the race track where its better balance and superior aerodynamics may give you the edge.

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