From NISMO's efforts in the JGTC GT500 Class comes this new commemorative edition 350Z S-Tune GT, and boy, is it freaky looking.
The unmistakable body kit flows well from front to rear, but its huge rear overhang looks a bit off around the exhaust area. From certain angles it's quite sexy; it almost looks like a Porsche slant nose. The downside to those huge overhangs, of course, is negotiating driveways. In fact, a driver before us at the press launch took out the right side of the front bumper leaving the parking area. Nissan says the payoff is additional downforce. For old-school Datsun Z owners, there's a sense of dj vu. The car's race-inspired body kit looks a lot like the 1971 240ZG, a long-nose version of the 240Z, itself inspired by Nissan's racing efforts of the time.
Underneath that longer snout is a NISMO S-Tune VQ35. The 3.5-liter V6 underwent an upgrade program that's more sex appeal than pure power. There are a host of changes to the engine itself, with camshafts, conrod bolts and valve springs being upgraded. Bolted on are a bigger throttle body, intake pipe, mass airflow meter, sports air element and iridium spark plugs. These changes and a specially tuned NISMO ECM unit increase output by 18 hp in Japanese tune. An additional 600 rpm of power is also added for a 7200-rpm cutoff. A sweet-sounding, lightweight, high-flow engine-back exhaust system is optional.
A closer look at the brakes reveals that larger Brembo front calipers have been fitted over huge 355mm brake rotors. Stainless mesh brake lines and sports brake pads front and rear finish off the upgrade. It's a very good setup, with increased stopping force, no increase in noise and very good pedal modulation. We did experience a touch of fade at the end of several hard runs, but we're talking about 40 minutes of hard-core twisty mountain driving at the limit.
The car sits 20mm lower in front and rear thanks to revised springs and dampers, but it doesn't ride harsher than stock. In fact, it rides better, with none of the choppiness exhibited by a stock 350Z. Hollow front and rear anti-roll bars keep this torpedo boat from keeling over through the corners. We witnessed some push in first- and second-gear corners, with a switch to a neutral set as speeds and confidence levels rose.
Keeping the bum in place is a set of NISMO-badged, heavily bolstered sports seats. The interior also sports a set of NISMO instruments, with a 300-km/h speedo and 8000-rpm tach.
Only 20 a month will be built, keeping this club rather exclusive. The price of admission is high-6.5 million yen, or roughly $59,000 dollars-but the returns equally lofty. It really is a track car for the street, a sportscar that would have you signing up for a track license just to experience all it can offer. None, of course, are coming to America.