Many of us of a “certain age” have fond memories of that old bruiser, the “Big Healey”, or Austin Healey 3000. Perhaps its nearest current match in terms of big-engined sportscars is the Nissan 370Z range, for which the 2015 updates have just been announced.
Top of the range continues to be the Nismo variant developed by Nissans own in-house tuning arm. Following in the wheel-tracks of the flagship GT-R Nismo, the new 370Z incorporates a number of design and engineering improvements aimed at producing the sportiest and most focused 370Z to date.
The outside of the car gains a more aggressive appearance, with a redesigned front bumper featuring a larger air intake, additional air inlets ahead of the wheel arch and new LED daytime running lights. Other updates include the introduction of black headlamp bezels, special red Nismo trim at the base of the bumper, redesigned side sill and door mirror and special Nismo badging. The revised 370Z Nismo also features new 19-inch Rays alloy wheels finished in black and silver.
At the rear, Nissan has also introduced a new bumper and spoiler design as part of a complete rework of the 370Z Nismo’s aero package. The new version features a smaller rear spoiler that works in tandem with the new front bumper to create significantly more downforce when driving at speed. This downforce is now more evenly distributed over the front and rear axles, giving a more balanced feeling on the road. Nissan claim that this new aerodynamic system gives the 370Z more downforce than any of its sector rivals.
In the cabin, new Recaro seats promise to offer significant improvements in support and comfort. Based on the acclaimed Recaro Sportster, the new seats have been tailored specifically for use in the 370Z Nismo and feature a host of detail changes to deliver maximum support for drivers. By adopting a new shell-based construction in preference over a traditional tubular frame seat, Nissan has also been able to improve rigidity and reduce weight at the same time. To complete the interior makeover, the seats are trimmed in red and black leather and Alcantara to match the steering wheel.
The 370Z, and indeed its predecessor the 350Z have always had a reputation for delivering an impressive performance, and the updated car refines rather than builds on this. Power of the 3.7-litre six-cylinder engine is almost unchanged at 344ps, meaning that 0-62mph times are unchanged at a still respectable 5.2 seconds. Breathing through a Nismo dual exhaust system, we will need to see whether the car delivers the perfect sporting soundtrack – certainly the outgoing 370Z Nismo proved something of a disappointment to the ear.
Available only as a coupe with a six-speed manual gearbox, the update features a number of suspension enhancements aimed at improving the refinement of the car an moving it upmarket. Rear spring and damper rates have been altered to improve ride comfort, while changes to the carpets and inner rear wheel arch protector reduce road noise.
The outgoing model was priced at a shade under £37,000 – heading into Porsche Cayman territory – and whilst prices for the new model have yet to be set, don’t expect to see too much difference from this price.
If you are not too fussed about having the kudos of the Nismo name, one of the lesser models in the 370Z range could provide much better value (the outgoing models were around £10k cheaper than the Nismo), which are only slightly less powerful at 328ps, but share many of the detailed improvements of the Nismo range-topper, including the new shell-construction seats and the revised suspension settings. Plus, if you fancy an auto box, its only available in the standard car range, as well as the six-speed manual alternative. The 370Z also remains the only car in the sector to offer Syncro Rev Control – the world’s first fully synchronised down/up shift rev control system.
All told, the package of improvements to the 370Z further refine an often overlooked sports car which allies decent performance and a muscular appearance to Japanese levels of quality and reliability at what should be a reasonable price, at least for the non-Nismo models.
Find out more on the Nissan website here.