The Nissan 370Z isn’t what it once was. Back in the Fast & Furious days, this was one of the most desirable Japanese coupes. With only two seats, a sleek roofline and ton of possibilities hidden under the hood, the new-gen Z was oozing street cred.
Today, Nissan has reduced its starting price by about $10,000 which is nice, but hasn’t really done anything else to it. The manual gearbox is sluggish and heavy, and most would agree it desperately needs a turbocharged engine for added performance and better weight management. Enter the Nissan 370Z Project Clubsport 23 which is headed to SEMA this week.
Everything we feel the Z needed has been addressed. First, Nissan switch the 3.7-liter V-6 for the twin-turbo V-6 from the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400. The latter is a monster with 400 horsepower, and we can’t imagine how it must feel powering a 370Z which has 350 hp out of the gate.
Swapping this engine in wasn’t a piece of cake, however, given that it hadn’t ever been paired with a manual gearbox before. Nissan could have taken the easy way out and simply put an automatic in the Project Clubsport 23, but instead they had a custom 6-speed manual built by MA Motorsports. The new gearbox features an all-new clutch disc and flywheel assembly, and we just get the feeling it performs a lot better than the current setup.
Other improvements include wider body panels, upgraded suspension, improved braking and better steering, custom wheels and an exclusive and very noticeable color called Gloss Burnt Orange.
And now the real question. What does the 370Z Project Clubsport 23 actually mean for the car on which it’s built? Is this a preview of what Nissan has in store powertrain-wise for the next generation? Will Nissan offer a kind of kit to tune current-gen Zs? Or is the Japanese automaker only doing this to take some of the attention off SEMA-crazed American manufacturers?
Time will surely tell.