The Nismo Z Misconception
At first glance, the Nismo 350z seems to be a regular Z with aero packages. And this seems pretty true; both the base and the Nismo sport the same 6-cylinder VQ35HR engine pushing 306 hp and after stripping the Nismo down, the body is exactly the same. Or is it?
The Nismo Z was introduced to us in 2007 to 2008 and is priced at $38,695, roughly $2,000 more than the Grand Touring model (the next model down). The 2007 models included Base, Enthusiast, Touring, and Grand Touring. There were only 1,607 produced in the US, with Washington and Oregon owning 15 and 6 respectively.
Obvious upgrades include the aero package like the front fascia, chin spoiler, side skirts, and an extended rear fascia with underbody diffuser, and spoiler. But these upgrades were designed in the wind tunnel. The front fascia developed downforce whereas the base Z’s created a slight lift. At a 75 mph test, the Nismo Z produced 33 lbs of downforce, as opposed to the base Z of 17 lbs of lift.
The suspension and chassis were also firmed up. The chassis were pulled off the line and had Autech hand-welded the seams for better structural rigidity. Yamaha also built mass dampers between the left- and right-side frame members beneath the chassis to control the vibration caused by the stiffer body. Suspension tweaks include front shock tower bracing, radiator supports, bigger rear shock tower brace, higher spring rates, firmer dampers, and a bigger rear anti-roll bar. Wheels, it sports Rays aluminum wheels wrapped with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 245/40/R18 up front and 265/35/R19 in the back. The brakes are the same from the Grand Touring, which are 4 piston Brembo’s front and 2 pistons back.
The exhaust was also upgraded but this featured Nismo Z upgraded his to Tomei Expreme Ti Exhaust and Y pipe.
Car and Driver did a drag test comparing it to the base Z. It was a tad slower with 13.8 seconds at 103 mph. This could be due to the increased downforce. Edmunds tested it on Tsukuba with a lap time of 1:05.9, which is 1.3 seconds faster than the Grand Touring.
Although this car is proven to be better than the other trims, Hugo Mayorga, the owner of this 2008 Nismo 350z said it was less practical to own. From a first-hand experience, it is somewhat scary to own a car this rare. The parts are hard to come by.
We couldn't agree more. It takes more than the average driver to own something like this.
Although Nissan chose not to enhance the engine for their Nismo Z, they have not skimped on performance upgrades. Yes, this car is slower on the drag than its counterpart but the Nismo Z was not meant to be a drag car. The aero components sacrificed some speed to improve its competitiveness on the track.
If this was 2007 or 2008, the upgrades alone will probably be worth the 2k jump in price, especially if you don’t plan to do anything to the car. But many of these parts are upgradable. The main aspect you cannot upgrade is the Autech welds. Is that worth the 2k? This question is on you. But now that this car is a couple years old, the price gap have indeed widened. You’ll not only be paying for the welds, but also for the rarity. And this is truly a rare car.
Whatever your personal opinion is, you cannot deny the fact that everything Nismo has done was in the name of performance. This is not just a Z with an aero kit but this has been tested in the wind tunnels and on the tracks of Tsukuba. This car proves that the engine does not need to be touched to create a faster track car. Who knew a functional spoiler can change so much.
Car model: Hugo Mayorga’s 2008 Nissan 350z Nismo
Photos by: Jacob Pina
Written by: Raymond Chiu
US Territories Sales (e.g. Guam)
Note: This article stated that there were 1,607 but the total of US sales added to 1,606. The last one was moved from Guam to the US.