There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it -- this thing is good. Really good.

After years on the market, the Nissan 370Z hasn't been much of a big hit lately. But there is a special place in my heart for Nissan’s Nismo performance division, which magically turns the 370Z into a car that I would actually go out and buy (knowing full well I can’t afford it).

The now outgoing 2014 370Z Nismo, which I drove recently, was really good. But boy oh boy, for 2015, I feel like Nissan and Nismo engineered its new 370Z just for me. It was like they had a big whiteboard that read, “What can we do to make this writer happy?” and went about checking all the boxes that would appeal to anyone who enjoys driving. 

2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Review: Better Than It's Ever Been

Whereas the base 370Z gets 332 horsepower, the very same 3.7-liter V6 found in the Nismo puts out 350 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque. The throaty engine makes it pretty easy to see the GT-R family lineage; it has gobs of torque and is pretty quick off the line. That’s also thanks in part to some wider wheels and lighter alloys. But it’s that lovely wonderful amazing handling that really gets you. Engineers crafted a much more responsive car. The suspension is stiffer, but they also tacked on a lower center of gravity and a slightly wider stance that makes the whole thing just feel more composed around corners. You also get new brakes that stop on a dime, a new automatic transmission that’s pretty meh (manual or die), and Recaro seats that aren’t dreadfully uncomfortable. 

From last year, the cabin also gets a few nicer touches like navigation and a backup camera. Not to mention that gorgeous new exterior. It features a more grown up grille and a sleeker ducktail spoiler that sort of diminishes the boy racer styling from the previous generation. The whole car is sharper and more performance oriented than it’s ever been. And better looking too.

2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Review: Better Than It's Ever Been

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it— this thing is good. Really good. Without exaggeration, the new Nissan 370Z Nismo is one of the best cars I’ve driven all year. It is so composed, powerful and genuinely fun all at the same time, it makes me wonder why no one else is talking about this car. BRZ and FR-S my a$$ – this is the car that those two aspire to be when they’re big and grown up and finally have more power. And that's coming from an actual BRZ owner. At $47K, I would say it is getting pretty expensive (up almost $3K from the previous gen). That’s almost Porsche Cayman and Alfa 4C type money. But if you have an affinity for the Japanese, and a love for all things sporty— this car is one of the best on the market. Finally, Nissan got this thing very, very right.

Specs: Engine: 3.7L V6 Horsepower: 350 0-60: 4.9 Seconds Price (as tested): $47,725

Positives: Powerful-enough engine, Uber responsive handling, More grown-up design

Negatives: Getting expensive

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2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo Review: Better Than It's Ever Been