That's exactly what Nissan's done here in Chicago, showing the 370Z Nismo Roadster you see here. Aesthetically, it's pretty much the same as the coupe – except, of course, for the folding cloth roof that neatly stows behind the front seats. It's mechanically the same, too, with Nissan's 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6 underhood, making 350 horsepower. Oddly, the concept car uses the company's seven-speed automatic transmission, but as Nissan explains, the majority of Z Roadster buyers spec their cars with the slushbox.
"While it is only a design study at this point, we think the 370Z Nismo Roaster Concept would be a tremendous addition to the long and distinguished history of Z sports cars," Pierre Loing, Nissan's vice president of product planning in North America, said in a press release. It sure looks production-ready to us.
- Combines legendary NISMO performance, style and technology with Nissan 370Z Roadster open-air motoring excitement
- One-off design study created to gauge market interest in an ultimate factory Z® Roadster
- Offers unique engine, suspension, exterior and interior features versus standard Nissan 370Z Roadster models – including 350-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and NISMO-tuned suspension
- Would join current Nissan 370Z NISMO coupe model, expanding NISMO lineup to five models
As the heart and soul of Nissan performance for both the track and on the street, NISMO continues to set the standard for straight-from-the-factory enthusiast vehicles. The lineup of NISMO production models for 2015 includes the GT-R NISMO, 370Z NISMO, JUKE NISMO and JUKE NISMO RS.
Yet as the popularity of NISMO models continues to grow – the 2015 GT-R NISMO is sold out, the 370Z NISMO accounts for 20 percent of total sales and JUKE NISMO models for about 15 percent – one group of performance enthusiast remains left out: Open-air sports car lovers. Enter the Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept, which makes its world debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The custom vehicle combines the long list of 370Z NISMO Coupe performance equipment with a modified 370Z Roadster body and interior.
"The idea of adding NISMO levels of look, feel and performance to a Nissan 370Z Roadster is one that we've been considering for a long time," said Pierre Loing, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. "The creation of the Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept brings that idea to life and lets us judge consumer reaction – which we predict is going to be outstanding."
The Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept's striking visual presence starts with the addition of its GT-R-inspired functional and fully integrated aerodynamic body pieces. In front, the deep front fascia with Hyper LED Daytime Running Lights, black headlight bezels, NISMO emblem and signature NISMO red stripe accents set the tone.
On the sides of the vehicle, the NISMO red accents and red sideview mirror covers continue the NISMO theme, adding a touch of flair to the dramatic top-down profile. In the middle of the vehicle, the fixed headrest bars are leather-wrapped with red accents. The rear is highlighted by a custom carbon-fiber rear spoiler created exclusively use on the 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept.
The convertible top itself, though it is expected to be rare that it is in the closed position, is a cloth power-folding roof with fabric inner liner design. It includes a single action top operation with automatic roof lock, steel tonneau cover and fixed glass wind deflector – just like every 2015 Nissan 370Z Roadster.
The dramatic exterior appearance is topped by an aggressive stance provided by the wide 19-inch NISMO super-lightweight forged aluminum-alloy wheels by RAYS (19x9.5-inch front, 19x10.5-inch rear), which receive a special custom finishing. Y-rated Bridgestone Potenza S001 245/40R19 front and 285/35R19 rear tires complete the package.
"With as much attention as the exterior modifications are expected to attract, we knew the interior had to be just as special, especially since with the convertible top in the down position everything is in plain sight," said Loing. "It doesn't disappoint."
The NISMO-styled interior is anchored by black Recaro® leather-appointed seats with red stitching and stain-repellent, off-white premium Ultrasuede® inserts – chosen to resist heat build-up when parked in open sunlight. The interior features custom red stitching with NISMO logo, an Alcantara®-appointed leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel and NISMO red tachometer.
The 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept's suite of technology includes Nissan Navigation System with 7.0-inch VGA touch-sensitive display, RearView Monitor and Bose® Premium Audio System with six speakers and dual subwoofers to provide a clear soundtrack, even with the top down.
Even more than racing-inspired aerodynamic bodies and driver-oriented cockpit-style interiors, at its core NISMO is all about performance. To that end, the 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept is conceived to incorporate most of the engine and suspension modifications (versus non-NISMO 370Z models) of the 370Z NISMO coupe. This includes its potent 350-horsepower 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine with Variable Valve Event and Lift Control (VVEL). The 370Z NISMO's enhanced engine power and acceleration (versus non-NISMO 370Zs) is provided through use of an exclusive H-configured exhaust system design and muffler tuning, along with optimized ECM (Engine Control Module) calibration, to help create 18 horsepower more than a standard 370Z. Torque is rated at 276 lb-ft.
The 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept utilizes Nissan's refined 7-speed automatic transmission with Downshift Rev Matching (DRM), Adaptive Shift Control and manual shift mode with paddle shifters. "The majority of 370Z Roadster buyers prefer the automatic transmission, which with Downshift Rev Matching and paddle shifters comes close to the performance of a 6-speed manual – so that's how we specified the 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept," said Loing. "Matched with the NISMO-tuned engine, suspension and steering, it is a great combination, perfect for long open-top drives along the shoreline or mountain roads alike."
The 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept adds a NISMO-branded strut tower brace under the hood, along with a red engine cover. The NISMO-tuned 4-wheel independent suspension includes special springs and stabilizer bars. Large Nissan Sport Brakes and a Viscous Limited-Slip Differential (VLSD) – with a shorter final drive ratio for better acceleration feel – are also included.
"While it is only a design study at this point, we think the 370Z NISMO Roaster Concept would be a tremendous addition to the long and distinguished history of Z® sports cars," said Loing. "There's still nothing better than an open top and an open road ahead of you, especially when there's a NISMO badge on the bumper."