Nissan continues its push to bring its Nismo performance brand into the mainstream with the 370Z Nismo Roadster concept. The one-off design study makes its debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, and previews a drop-top version of the Nissan 370Z Nismo coupe. If produced, the roadster would be Nismo's fifth model, joining the 370Z Nismo, GT-R Nismo, Juke Nismo, and Juke Nismo RS.
The 370Z Nismo Roadster looks just like you'd expect an open-top variant of the Nismo Z to look. Like the coupe, the roadster gets aero pieces inspired by the GT-R, including a deep front fascia with red-accented lip spoiler and LED daytime running lights. Also up front are black headlight housings and a Nismo emblem. Nismo's red stripe theme continues on the side mirrors and side skirts, while a set of fixed headrest bars come leather-wrapped with red accents. In back, a body-color carbon fiber rear wing adorns the trunk. The concept sports the same power-folding soft-top roof as the standard 370Z Roadster.
Nissan says the 370Z Nismo Roadster concept gets many of the same engine and suspension modifications found on the Nismo Z coupe, including the upgraded naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6 making 350 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque. The extra power is achieved through an ECU tune and special H-pipe exhaust system. Because Nissan says most Z roadster customers opt for the automatic transmission, this concept sports the model's seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters and Downshift Rev Matching feature. A Nismo front strut tower brace complements the Nismo-tuned suspension, which includes unique springs and stabilizer bars. Larger Nissan sport brakes hide behind lightweight 19-inch Ray Engineering forged alloy wheels, which measure 9.5 inches wide in the front and 10.5 inches in the rear. Those wheels come wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza S001 summer tires sized 245/40 in front and 285/35 in the back. The concept also receives a viscous limited-slip differential with a shorter final drive ratio for improved acceleration.
Inside, the 370Z Nismo Roadster concept features black Recaro sport seats upholstered in leather with red stitching and off-white Ultrasuede inserts. Red stitching is used throughout the cabin, while a Nismo logo and steering wheel wrapped in leather and Alcantarta help further set the car apart from lesser Z roadsters. The center stack features Nissan's 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and Bose audio setup.
Nissan is showing the concept in Chicago to gauge interest in a future production model. The automaker doesn't break out roadster sales from the rest of the model line's numbers, but in 2014 a total of 7199 370Z sports cars were sold. So if the Nismo Z Roadster is built, it would occupy a niche within a niche.