In my head, as I'm driving it, I'm trying to justify the $68,000 sticker price of this Nissan Z Nismo. It's a very good sports car. The chassis is balanced, the handling is excellent, and the twin-turbocharged engine delivers a nice dollop of power. But what am I spending $68,000 on, exactly?
When you compare it to other vehicles in the class, the math simply doesn't add up. It's not as nice nor as quick as a BMW M2, which starts at $64,195. It doesn't have a manual gearbox or 500 horsepower like the Ford Mustang Dark Horse, which costs $60,865. Even the Toyota Supra, while not as powerful, comes close in terms of overall performance and it only costs $56,495.
|2024 Nissan Z Nismo
|Twin-Turbocharged 3.0-Liter V6
|420 Horsepower / 384 Pound-Feet
|4.1 Seconds (est.)
|$64,990 + $1,095 Destination
Price and competitive set notwithstanding, there is a lot to like about the Nissan Z Nismo. The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 puts out 420 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque – 20 more hp and 34 extra lb-ft over the base Z. That pushes the Z Nismo to 60 mph in about 4.1 seconds, which is pretty quick.
This engine isn't super torquey; it lacks the immediate gut punch of something like BMW's inline-six. Instead, the Z Nismo has a nice linear wave of torque that peaks at 2,000 RPM and builds to redline with excellent mid-range and top-end shove.
Pros: Excellent Handling, Powerful Engine, Great Looks
The lone gearbox is a nine-speed automatic, and it was relatively snappy on the track at Sonoma during my first drive when ticked over to Sport Plus mode. But on the road, gear hang is excessive and the shifts aren’t as quick as they should be – even when you tug at the paddles. A good ol' six-speed manual would still be more fun in a car like this.
The suspension is tuned to borderline perfection. It is harsh day-to-day, but that's expected with additional underfloor bracing, firmer bushings, and stiffer springs. This car is about 2.5 percent stiffer all around than the standard Z, says Nissan. The good news is that the extra tuning makes the Nissan Z Nismo an absolute dynamo in the corners; it's flat, fast, predictable, and fun.
The steering plays a big role in helping the Z Nismo feel sharp. The electric power rack has excellent heft and fluidity. That makes it easy to point the Nismo's nose exactly where it needs to be on the first try – no micro-adjustments midway through a corner. And the grip from the Dunlop SP Sport MAXX GT600 tires (255 front and 285 rear) – with the same rubber compound as the GT-R – makes the Z Nismo feel nearly as grippy as its supercar sibling.
Cons: Way Too Expensive, No Manual
Then there’s the way this thing looks. No Mustang, M2, or Supra would ever win a beauty contest against the Z Nismo. The long sloping hood and raked-back cabin give the Z nearly perfect proportions. The Nismo upgrades – red accents, a bigger spoiler, black 19-inch wheels – only improve the Z’s already impeccable styling.
The interior isn’t as pretty, and most materials are below average when you look at the competitive set. But there are some thoughtful Nismo touches that make it more interesting. The custom gauge cluster has red graphics and Nismo logos aplenty, while the sporty Recaro buckets mark a huge upgrade over the Z’s base chairs. They have great bolstering and good butt and back support. There isn’t a ton of adjustability, but enough to get comfortable.
The Verdict: The biggest issue with the Nissan Z Nismo is its price, which is a shame because this is a genuinely great sports car otherwise. At $66,085 to start, it’s $12,780 more than the Z Performance. And at $68,280 as tested (with options like two-tone paint and illuminated kick plates), it’s almost impossible to recommend when the M2, Mustang Dark Horse, and Supra all exist for cheaper. At that price, you’re even getting into Porsche Cayman territory ($69,950), which is a sharper and better performance car than Nismo in almost every respect.
Photos: Jeff Perez For Motor1
Gallery: 2024 Nissan Z Nismo Review
2024 Nissan Z Nismo