2024 Nissan Z Nismo Sharpens Up While Ditching the Manual

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

The Nismo Z returns with more power than ever before—but only two pedals.

Nissan on Monday evening debuted the 2024 Z Nismo. With the sports car seeing a thorough rethink for 2023, it was only a matter of time before the sharper, more track-oriented model returned to crown the lineup. Sure enough, the Nismo employs plenty of tried-and-true go-fast solutions, including one that is likely to wrinkle a few enthusiast noses.

You've seen it in the headline and intro: the Nismo will only come with the Z's nine-speed automatic transmission. This aligns with rumors from earlier in the month, and marks a departure from the previous 370Z Nismo, which offered both transmission choices. Nissan hasn't just dropped the Mercedes-sourced nine-speeder in without tinkering, however. Nissan says it has revised the engine management software and the clutch packs, resulting in shift speeds nearly 50-percent quicker than before. That's good to know, since we found the auto in the Z Performance occasionally sluggish to downshift.

Adding to the quickness is more power. Nismo has tweaked the Z's 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 to deliver an additional 20 horsepower and 34 pound-feet. This takes it to 420 hp and 384 lb-ft, both figures eclipsing its most direct competitor, the Toyota GR Supra. Nissan emphasizes that peak torque is more of a plateau, available from 2,000 through 5,200 rpm. More than sheer numbers, the company has also focused on endurance, adding an improved oil cooler for longer stints on track.

The exterior revisions are subtler overall than the bombastic 370Z generation. The Z Nismo adopts what Nissan is calling the "Grand-Nose" bumper, which is a nod to the aero-focused schnoz of the Fairlady 240ZG. Instead of mirroring the shape of the headlights and terminating in a large, rectangular opening, the Nismo nose extends further forward, with a single clean crease and a more rounded intake below. Nissan is proud of the grille featuring "thinnest honeycomb mesh of any Nissan production car." Small canards at the bumper corners further improve airflow, while the red accents on the lip spoiler wrap all the way around the car, including redesign side skirts. Don't miss the subtlest of wheel arch extensions, either. Nissan's designers looked to the GT-R Nismo for rear bumper inspiration, reprofiling the outer edges for reduced drag. Capping it all off is a larger, wider rear spoiler.

The Nismo features a darkened version of the regular car's katana-style chrome window trim, and unique black 19-inch RAYS wheels running sticky Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600 tires. The rubber is now 10 millimeters wider at the rear, at 285 mm wide. Nissan will offer it in five paint options, all monochromatic except for Passion Red. The color you see here is the new Stealth Grey, exclusive to the model.

Under that reshaped skin, Nismo has fit its eponoymous Z with larger anti-roll bars, stiffer spring rates, and unique dampers. More underfloor bracing helps improve torsional rigidity by 2.5 percent. The company has also fit larger brake rotors up front (15.0 inches), along with a more aggressive brake pad compound. This hopefully addresses one of the Z Performance's weak points: brake feel.

Inside, the Nismo features splashes of red to signify its place atop the lineup. It's there at the 12 o'clock position on the Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel. It's there with the Nismo logos on the manual-adjustment Recaro bucket seats, and the digital instrument cluster. Nissan added red to the engine start button and drive mode selector, too; the latter now opens up access to a Sport+ mode, which Nissan says is tuned for circuit driving, with the goal of being "so responsive for performance driving that a driver does not need to use the shift paddles on track." Of course, the paddles still do exist.

All these changes combine to make this the heaviest new Z as well, with the curb weight coming in at 3,704 pounds (1,680 kilograms), 102 lb (46 kg) heavier than the Performance automatic.

Along with the announcement of the Z Nismo, Nissan confirmed the 2024 Performance and Nismo will add Amazon Alexa connectivity.

The 2024 Nissan Z Nismo will go on sale in the US and Canada this fall. Expect pricing details closer to its on-sale date.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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