We Wish This Manual 400-HP Nissan Z Wasn't Just a Tease

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

Finally, Nissan has graced its Z car with an updated and exciting powerplant. Making its debut at the 2018 SEMA show in Las Vegas is the Nissan Motorsports Project Clubsport 23 project car with a 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6 under the hood.

For now, let’s just call the car the Clubsport 23, which Nissan says will be a rolling development showcase car. Basically, if Z fans like what they see enough, Nissan will make a kit for them to allow customers to access higher levels of performance.

And there seems to be a lot of performance to like. Under the hood of this car is a 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6, a unit similar to those found in the Infiniti Red Sport 400 cars. But to make this car truly appeal to enthusiasts, that engine is paired with a manual transmission, something that hasn’t been done before. MA Motorsports developed a clutch disc, cover and flywheel assembly to make that pairing happen, and fits it all with the NISMO GT LSD Pro-Carbon 2-way differential, which is cooled by an MA Motorsports Differential Cooler.

ALSO SEE: Next Nissan Z Sports Car Currently Being Worked On

Because this is SEMA, there are far more performance goodies to share. Other items under the hood include an AMS Performance Cold Air Intake kit and Z1 Motorsports blow-off valves. The exhaust for the Clubsport 23 is specially fabricated by MA Motorsports. It features a 76 mm diameter to ensure no disruption in airflow. Furthering the unique look of the car, the exhaust exits through the rear license plate body panel. To help keep the twin-turbo V6 powerplant running cool, Nissan replaced the factory cooling and steering systems with an AMS Performance heat exchanger, MA Motorsports power steering cooler and Z1 Motorsports radiator and intercooler silicone coolant hoses.

But you can’t just upgrade a cars powerplant, you need to enhance its grip, braking, and handling. So Nissan upgraded the car with soon-to-be-released NISMO HC Street/Track brake pads as well as Z1 Motorsports 2-piece slotted rotors and NISMO stainless steel brake lines. There are also a few suspension modifications like the newly released NISMO front and rear suspension components, NISMO 3-piece body brace set, KW Variant 3 coil-over shock kit, and Eibach rear springs.

At each corner, you’ll find 18-inch NISMO-branded RAYS cast aluminum-alloy wheels and Hankook RS4 285/35R18 high-performance tires. These wheels were made with “flow-forming” technology that should enhance the quality, strength, durability and make it affordable too. They are expected to be available through Nissan dealerships at a future date.

The interior has been modified heavily, with Sparco QRT-R competition seats, Sparco 6-point competition harnesses and a Sparco R383 steering wheel. There’s a custom welded roll bar too, because #RACECAR. There’s a 240Z throwback here too, with custom upholstery stitched in a diamond pattern by MA Motorsports.

You can love it or hate it, but you should let Nissan know. If there are enough positive reactions, it seems like the company will bring the components to the fans, which is a fantastic idea.

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

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