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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Inspired by motorsports, the NISMO Z is missing one very important track tool

If there’s a big engine oil temperature gauge on the dash, you know it’s a serious sports car. If that gauge threatens to explode in just three laps, either the engineers didn’t do their job, or the accountants, lawyers and product planners perhaps did theirs a little too well. Both are true of the Nissan 370Z NISMO.

Built with input from Nissan’s NISMO motorsports division you’d expect the NISMO Z to be the most capable Z car yet. And it is… but only for a limited time. This hard-core tuner-meets-track version suffers from the same problem as the rest of the 370Z line, namely, it overheats, causing the engine to go into a “limp mode” reducing maximum rpm levels from the lofty 7400 level to a somewhat less-fun amount that differs depending on exactly how hot the car is. The idea here is to protect the engine from further damage, which is smart, but this just raises the issue of why Nissan wouldn’t just use an oil cooler, helping to keep engine temps down and lap times up. We have a theory… and the blame lies not with the nerds in accounting or the legal department but from those guys you’d like to think are your friends: the product planners.

You see, the Z might be an impressive track machine, but it also looks just like a hard-parking tuner car. And it would seem Nissan thinks the vast majority of buyers fall into the latter category, more interested in polishing the stunning 19-inch Rays wheels or talking about the big 4-piston front brakes, then actually using them. And so while an oil cooler could be standard equipment, or offered as an option, the take-rate is likely too low for them to even bother with the R&D.

Do we blame the product planners? Perhaps not. Heck, we can’t even blame those owners. Who wouldn’t want to park such a fine looking machine in their driveway. It generated more feedback on the street (particularly from the 18-30 male demographic) than anything we’ve driven in a long, long time.
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