Michigan is one of those places where we can sub-divide the seasons into good and bad portions, with each producing a noticeable shift. The week prior to my time in the 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo, it was 65 to 70 degrees and sunny, all week long. Anyone care to guess what the following week was like? Windy, cold and damp weather typified my week in the Z, with temps hovering around 55 degrees and several days of showers. Yes, I got the first week of the bad part of fall. The Z was hardly happy during its time with me, but we both persevered, and I made a point of sprinting out to the garage anytime the ground seemed remotely dry enough to test this striking two-seater. That enthusiasm waned quickly, though, as the week wore on. By all accounts, the Z is a car that I should like. It's an uncompromising sports car, but as I discovered during my travels, sometimes a little compromise is welcome, and living with a car like the Z – particularly the angrier, Nismo-tuned model – quickly becomes a case of too much of a good thing. Driving Notes The 370Z Nismo gets an uprated version of Nissan's 3.7-liter V6 engine, complete with 350 horsepower at 7,400 rpm and 276 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. The engine pulled well, provided I carefully managed the revs. Even with the retuned exhaust and ECU producing the Nismo's extra grunt (the standard engine produces 18 hp and 6 lb-ft less), the Z is prone to being caught flat-footed, but can be dynamite at the right engine speed and in the right gear. I don't consider these criticisms, by the way - having to manage the engine speed makes for a more involving drive. The engine's sound, though, remains as raspy and unpleasant as ever, even with the new exhaust. This is one of those engines that's begging for the aftermarket to save its owners' ears, as it sounds grating under most circumstances. I'll make an exception at wide-open throttle between 3,500 and 4,500 rpm, when a proper singing voice sneaks out. The sole gearbox choice for the 370Z Nismo is a six-speed manual. It requires a bit of strong-arming, as it has just a hint of notchiness at each gate, although again, I consider the extra effort an asset in a proper sports car. The clutch is fairly linear with a nice weight to the pedal and a broad and predictable catchpoint. It's let down, though, by a numb throttle response, which makes working the clutch more of a chore than it should be. Nissan gave the 370Z Nismo an aesthetic overhaul for 2014, swapping out the uniform body color of previous models for a contrasting scheme that works well with our tester's Pearl White paint. The grey aero kit, mirrors, spoiler and wheels add some extra visual pop, while subtle red accents are noticeable on closer inspection. It's a shame Nissan couldn't give the …
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|MPG||18 City / 26 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||332 @ 7000 rpm|
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