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Top 10 Track Specials Under $60,000
Driving is a mundane task for some people, but for others it’s a sport, and there’s no better proving ground than a track.
Automakers see that opportunity as well, and love to offer up cars that are designed specifically with track use in mind. Take a look at the latest offering from Subaru and Scion, the BRZ/FR-S twins. Both cars were designed with a priority on light-weight, and achieves an impressive weight balance. In true sporting fashion, it’s rear-wheel drive and can be had with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, or quick automatic with race-inspired paddle-shifters.
The FR-S isn’t the only car out there with racing in its veins. Here’s a list of factory-customized machines designed for time at the track.
Sure we don’t get the special edition Mitsubishi EVOs with even more horsepower, or the Civic Type R, but things could be worse: you could live in Canada. That’s right, while many high-performance vehicles have been denied to us, our friends to the North have had to do without Nissan‘s 370Z NISMO.
But that’s about to change with the announcement by Nissan Canada that it will debut the higher-performance Z at the upcoming Montreal Auto Show, going on sale later this year as a 2012 model. The car has already been on sale for a full model year in the U.S.
With 350-hp the NISMO edition car gets an increase of 18 ponies over the stock Z. Torque is also up, but just slightly, to 276 ft-lbs – an increase of 6 ft-lbs. Power is also achieved at a higher rpm with the 3.7-liter V6 strung-out to 7400 rpm to acheive maximum horsepower, as opposed to the stock cars, 7000 rpm max power level. And possibly better than the added power (for those who really appreciate track days) is a standard limited slip differential.
To give the car even better track performance, Nissan stiffened up the chassis with special “body dampers” on the front frame rail and below the rear cargo area. And of course, the car comes with a NISMO springs and a big NISMO strut tower bars front and rear.
Larger brakes are also included and sit inside a set of amazing looking 19-inch NISMO wheels. Manufactured by RAYS forged, the new wheels measure 19×9.5-inches up front and 19×10.5-inches in the rear with front 245/40/19 tires and rear 285/35/19 tires.
As mentioned earlier, the NISMO Z does get some styling additions, although they are more than just aesthetic. The new front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper and rear spoiler are all functional, reducing lift on the front axle and increasing downforce in the rear.
Inside, the NISMO branding is obvious with the name stitched onto the special seats made of a grippy fabric. Also inside the cabin can be found plenty of red stitching and some nice NISMO gauges.
Along with the introduction of the NISMO Z, Nissan will also give both the Leaf EV and the new 2011 GT-R their Canadian debuts at the Montreal show.
GALLERY: Nissan 370Z NISMO
Official release after the jump::
Infiniti is set to launch its new go-fast division, Infiniti Performance Line, later this year, promising an enticing list of performance parts, set to include mundane things like air filters, and stretching all the way to “automotive engine parts, namely turbochargers and superchargers.”
The first IPL car is set to debut at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, and rumor has it that it will be a G37 Coupe decked out to the nines. If the car ends up with forced induction, it could make for an interesting competitor to cars like the BMW M3 while serving as a 2-door alternative to the Lexus IS-F. Nissan’s NISMO division is one of the leading factory-affiliated tuners (Nissan even sells a NISMO 370Z), and we wouldn’t be surprised if they gave IPL a hand in concocting some very potent performance cars.
So many cars are marketed on their performance potential, yet very few sports cars ever get driven they way they were intended. To do so in a legal environment involves going to the track, where the big boys get seperated from the poseurs very quickly.
The Nissan 370Z is one of the most coveted sports cars on sale today, but as Car and Driver magazine found out, it’s not exactly fit for track duty. It seems that Nissan intentionally fit underachieving brake pads to the Nismo 370Z (ostensibly the high performance model) in an effort to minimize brake dust and noise.
Car and Driver later found out that although the pads themselves are not the best for track work, the real problem was that the brake fluid was boiling, meaning that the brake calipers were unable to properly clamp the rotors. Upon further research, the magazine found that the fluid is the same type used in some very high performance machinery, and came to the conclusion that in a quest for better fuel economy, the aerodynamics of the car were compromised, preventing a set of proper brake cooling ducts from being installed. If you’ve ever seen a real race car, you’ll know that their brake cooling ducts look like some kind of industrial HVAC piping, which gives a clue to how important they are.
[Source: Car and Driver]
Not only will Nissan use the New York Auto Show to debut its new 370Z Roadster, but the automaker will also have a surprise Z on hand. What this Z will be, the folks at Nissan aren’t willing to say, but there’s a good chance it will be a NISMO version of the all-new coupe with some mild suspension tweaks, light-weight wheels and more aggressive aerodynamics.
As for the 370Z Roadster, we don’t expect much in the way of surprises – although it is unclear if Nissan has chosen to stick with the soft top or go the way of the retractable hard-top like the rest of the industry. Considering the coupe’s focus on lightweight performance, however, we expect a soft top is most likely.
The Z roadster will use the same 3.7-liter V6 engine as the coupe with 332hp.
See our Nissan 370Z Coupe review here: