The wait for the latest Nissan Z felt nearly unbearable at times; but, finally arriving last year, we say better late than never. As it turns out, we didn’t have to wait long for the performance-specced NISMO variant, here for 2024.

And as soon as we caught word, it was off to Sonoma, California, for an on-road and on-track First Drive.
Using the same twin-turbocharged V6 engine, the NISMO kicks it up a notch to 420 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, increases of 20 HP and 34 foot-pounds respectively. That’s all sent to the rear wheels through a nine-speed automatic.

I know, enthusiasts might be distraught by the lack of a manual option, but the revisions made to automatic are impressive. It shifts faster, smoother, and puts greater emphasis on track driving.

“So, on the street I mentioned how the… left to its own devices, the transmission really understands what you’re doing at the time. And now that I’m driving more aggressively… I was concerned it might not hold the gear like I wanted it to, but I have not had a single issue. It is ahead of the curve… It gets me in the exact right gear… It’s holding me here, now that I’m going downhill… It is a significant difference, Z car to the Z NISMO.”

Other defining differences included stiffer springs and retuned dampers, which kept the sticky Dunlop tires down on the tarmac. These tires measure 10 millimeters wider than those found on the Z Performance, wrapping RAYS 19-inch wheels which sheath enhanced NISMO brakes.

The 2024 Nissan Z NISMO is available now, starting around $65,000. That’s a pretty penny more than the Nissan Z Performance, but oh so worth it.