Nissan promised us a new member of the NISMO high performance family here at the Chicago Auto Show, and it arrived in the form of the Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept. You can ignore the c-word appended to the name of this convertible, however, as there's no reason to imagine that the NISMO Roadster won't immediately go into production.
The NISMO brand has a certain cachet amongst sports car fans, and while we've already been gifted with a NISMO edition of the Nissan 370Z coupe, the 370Z convertible hasn't been as fortunate. The Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept changes all of that by porting the coupe's high performance running gear over to the open air automobile.
If you are familiar with the NISMO coupe, then you won't find too many surprises in the Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept. A 350 horsepower version of Nissan's 3.7-liter V-6 provides the motivation for the car, and it receives the same stiff suspension system, upgraded brakes, and aerodynamic body kit found on the fixed-roof model. Purists will be disappointed to find out that the standard NISMO six-speed manual transmission has been ditched in favor of a seven-speed autobox, a move that Nissan defends by pointing to the legions of 370Z roadster customers who opt for an automatic. That may be so, but the assumption being made is that NISMO fans and traditional convertible buyers are one and the same, which seems like a bit of a stretch.
The Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept will definitely be built, and it should find its niche on the high performance drop top scene. convertibles do very small business in North America, so it's good to see Nissan renewing its commitment to producing fun-to-drive open-air models - especially now that the Murano CrossCabriolet is a thing of the past.