One of the better automotive milestones being marked this year is the 50th anniversary of Nissan’s Z-car, originally called the 240Z or to some, the poor man’s Jaguar E-Type. If you remember back to the 1980s, you’ll recall that the Z-car then took a decidedly sideways step away from its performance roots, growing 2+2 bodywork, a lot of luxury goodies and a heck of a lot of weight. Now, Nissan has its current-generation 370Z back in fighting trim, especially the line’s designated tuner/performance model, the 2020 370Z NISMO.
Sporting the black-and-red NISMO badge, this version of the 370Z borrows conceptually from the similarly NISMO-ized take on Nissan’s legendary GT-R. Body add-ons make it 3.0 inches longer than a standard 370Z. Beneath its aluminum hood lurks the heart of the matter, a 3.7-liter DOHC V-6 with Nissan’s VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift Control). It’s rated at 350hp at 7,400 RPM – 18 more than the standard Z-car’s output – with 276-lbs.ft. of torque at 5,200 revs. Two transmissions are offered: A close-ratio six-speed manual with synchronized downshift rev matching and an improved EXEDY high-performance clutch; and a seven-speed automatic that also matches engine revs to the transmission’s ratios while downshifting. Enhanced brake and suspension tuning are also on board, along with a shorter rear-end ratio, to 3.92 final drive with the manual. We love the color and graphics treatment, very reminiscent of the factory Datsun 510s and 240Zs that Peter Brock fielded in the western United States back when the Z-car was new in the 1970s. Can’t you just image John Morton cutting loose in a NISMO. Prices just announced range from $30,090 for the base 370S up to $45,790 for the NISMO variant.