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Review: The 2024 Nissan Z Nismo Imparts Valuable Lessons on the Sonoma Circuit

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2024 Nissan Z Nismo Review

My instructor advises me to focus on a particular dirt road located atop the hill beyond the track, as a point of orientation for navigating the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo. My debut at the Sonoma Raceway proves to be an eye-opener, as no amount of preliminary buzz adequately sets the stage for the rapid elevation shifts and concealed turns on this circuit etched into the contours of a hill.

Upon completing four circuits in the less potent 2024 Nissan Z Performance variant, we transition to a lead-follow format in the latest, track-optimized Z Nismo. The opening curve leans sharply to the left and ascends at an incline unparalleled in my track experience. This is followed by a harsh 90-degree right turn, culminating in a swift descent and subsequent switchback. The terrain is so complex that I only notice the aforementioned dirt road on my second set of four laps in the Nismo model.

Nissan Ariya Overview

While the guidance is beneficial, trailing as the last car in a quintet proves even more helpful due to my novice status at Sonoma. The preliminary banked curve aids in both steering and equilibrium. It is at the ensuing left bend that the Z Nismo’s enhanced structural modifications become distinctly perceptible. Newly added front and rear stabilizer bars collaborate with upsized dampers and springs to counteract the lateral forces threatening to push me outward. These adjustments allow me to utilize the banking to steer accurately into the concealed turn.

The Powertrain of 2024 Nissan Z Nismo

The acceleration uphill reveals another facet of the car’s performance attributes. Its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 engine, shared with the Infiniti QX60 Redline, is calibrated to deliver 420 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, an increase from the 400 hp and 350 lb-ft found in the standard Z. Nissan has also applied technology from the GT-R model to refine the combustion chambers and valve timing. Furthermore, enhanced air intake cooling systems are incorporated for improved track-day resilience. Although the turbochargers are identical to those in the standard Z, they operate at increased speeds, the specifics of which Nissan has not revealed. The additional power is palpably evident when transitioning from braking to acceleration.

When navigating the winding roads outside the track environment, particularly through wine country, I find myself double-tapping the paddle shifters derived from the GT-R to select the appropriate gear for entering and exiting hairpin turns. The need for anticipatory gear changes is highlighted by the torque curve that peaks as early as 2,000 rpm.

Driving Modes and Transmission

On the track, the added Sport+ mode in the Nismo lineup keeps the gears engaged longer and manages downshifts in a more controlled manner. In contrast, I alternate between the Normal and Sport modes when navigating the hilly terrain. The 9-speed automatic is the sole transmission option for the Nismo, as the 6-speed manual is not available. The Sport+ mode provides a welcome change, allowing me to focus entirely on the track’s demanding turns and rapid descents. At this point, I’m fully immersed in the experience, acutely aware of the risk, yet placing my faith in the car’s capabilities.

Braking System

The Z Nismo is equipped with larger brake discs—15.0 inches at the front and 13.8 inches at the rear—coupled with 4-piston front and 2-piston rear aluminum calipers. While other performance vehicles may boast superior braking systems, there was no indication of overheating or inefficacy during multiple hard-lap sessions with brief intervals in between.

Driving Experience and Learning Curve

It is on my third circuit in the Nismo that I approach the endeavor with heightened confidence, perhaps exceeding my skill level. Despite the ability to adjust stability control settings for greater freedom in cornering, overconfidence leads to a critical error. Momentary loss of control reminds me of the car’s limits, and mine, albeit without severe consequences.

Weight and Acceleration

The Nismo’s additional weight of 102 pounds over the Performance model brings the total curb weight to 3,704 pounds. Although Nissan refrains from disclosing official 0-60 mph times or top speeds, an estimated four seconds to 60 mph seems plausible based on my experience with the car’s launch control system.

Comparison with BMW M2

Prior to my Sonoma escapade, I had the opportunity to drive the faster BMW M2. Compared to the M2, the Z Nismo proves to be a more comfortable cruiser, especially considering its carbon-fiber bucket seats. Despite its stiffer ride, it doesn’t feel substantially different from the Z Performance model.

Interior and Exterior Features

Despite seating only two occupants, the Z Nismo does lack some of the power seat functions available in the Z Performance model. Nonetheless, manual adjustments provide sufficient comfort for an extended road journey. Also notable is the grip provided by the Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT600 performance tires, which represent an upgrade from the standard Potenza tires on the Z Performance model.

Price and Final Thoughts

The Z Nismo, priced at $66,085, comes with extensive aerodynamic enhancements, making it a considerable step up from the Z Performance, which retails for $53,305. Given the cost differential, this model is best suited for aficionados with a penchant for regular track outings.

In conclusion, my experience at Sonoma in the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo serves as a vivid lesson in both the car’s capabilities and my own limitations. I look forward to a future opportunity to take on this demanding track once more, this time with increased wisdom and focus.

Nissan sponsored the airfare and accommodation for AutoMotorMart to facilitate this comprehensive review.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2024 Nissan Z Nismo Review

What is the main focus of this article?

The main focus of this article is a comprehensive review of the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo, with particular attention given to its performance and handling characteristics during a test drive at Sonoma Raceway.

How does the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo compare to the Z Performance model?

The 2024 Nissan Z Nismo is more track-focused than the Z Performance model, with a higher horsepower rating of 420 hp compared to 400 hp in the Z Performance. It also features new stabilizer bars, larger dampers, and springs that significantly improve handling.

What engine does the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo use?

The 2024 Nissan Z Nismo uses a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 engine, which is tuned to produce 420 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. This engine shares some similarities with the Infiniti QX60 Redline.

Is the 6-speed manual transmission available for the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo?

No, the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo only offers a 9-speed automatic transmission. A special Sport+ mode is available for better performance and gear control.

How does the car handle braking during track sessions?

The Z Nismo features larger brakes measuring 15.0 inches up front and 13.8 inches at the rear, with 4-piston front and 2-piston rear aluminum calipers. During track sessions, the braking system proved to be quite effective, with no signs of significant wear or issues.

What are some of the key differences in interior features between the Z Nismo and Z Performance models?

The Z Nismo mostly carries over the interior from the Z Performance but lacks power seat functions. It features leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with a red stripe at the 12-o’clock position.

What is the price difference between the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo and the Z Performance?

The 2024 Nissan Z Nismo is priced at $66,085, which is a significant increase over the Z Performance model, priced at $53,305. This price difference is attributed to the Nismo’s enhanced performance and track-oriented features.

Are there any unique aerodynamic upgrades on the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo?

Yes, the Z Nismo comes with various aerodynamic upgrades, including front canards, a front splitter, a larger rear spoiler, and diffuser, all trimmed with Nismo red. It also features a more open grille for better engine cooling.

Does the article recommend the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo for casual drivers?

The article suggests that the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo is best reserved for enthusiasts planning on regular track days due to its higher price and track-focused features.

Who sponsored the trip for the review?

Nissan paid for airfare and lodging to facilitate the firsthand report of the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo by AutoMotorMart.

More about 2024 Nissan Z Nismo Review

  • Nissan Official Website
  • Sonoma Raceway Official Website
  • 2024 Nissan Z Nismo Technical Specifications
  • Infiniti QX60 Redline Overview
  • Comparison Between 2024 Nissan Z Nismo and Z Performance
  • Guide to Automotive Aerodynamics
  • Understanding Car Braking Systems
  • Detailed Guide on Automotive Transmissions
  • Overview of Track Driving Techniques
  • AutoMotorMart Website

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9 comments

TrackDayJoe September 25, 2023 - 5:25 pm

Totally agree with the brake part. Manufacturers often underestimate how crucial that can be on the track.

Reply
Just_A_Car_Guy September 25, 2023 - 6:33 pm

Interesting comparison between Nismo and Performance model. Would love to see 0-60 times though, why doesnt Nissan disclose them?

Reply
CarLuvr2023 September 25, 2023 - 8:18 pm

wow, I never knew Sonoma Raceway was this intense. Sounds like a wild ride, especially with the Z Nismo.

Reply
JohnDoe September 25, 2023 - 8:46 pm

Man, I gotta say this review is on point. Nismo seems like a beast on the track! Good work on catching all those nuances.

Reply
GearheadMel September 26, 2023 - 2:19 am

you really got into the weeds with the tech stuff, cool. The part about the stabilizer bars and dampers was really insightful.

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EconoWatcher September 26, 2023 - 2:46 am

That price difference tho. Is the Nismo really worth the extra cash over the Performance model? Would like to know.

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AutoFanatic September 26, 2023 - 4:31 am

Great read! Feel like I learned a lot about what the Z Nismo has to offer. Keep it up!

Reply
WineCountryTourer September 26, 2023 - 6:11 am

Carving through the twisties in wine country, you say? Sign me up for that.

Reply
SpeedQueen September 26, 2023 - 11:08 am

420 hp and twin-turbo V6? Sounds like a dream. But the lack of a manual on the Nismo is kinda disappointing.

Reply

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