Nissan hots up road-going models

18:10, Feb 12 2013
A standard Nissan 370Z at the Chicago Auto Show.
A standard Nissan 370Z at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Nissan Juke Nismo at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Nissan Juke Nismo at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Nissan 370Z Nismo at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Nissan 370Z Nismo at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Nissan GT-R "Track Edition" at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Nissan GT-R "Track Edition" at the Chicago Auto Show.

Nissan and its motorsport division Nismo have been busy taking their models from the racetrack to the highways.

Click photo to view the Nissan Nismo models at the Chicago Auto Show.

At the recent Chicago Auto Show, Nismo (derived from 'Nis'san and 'mo'torsport) unveiled the Juke Nismo and 370Z Nismo.

Nissan also wheeled out a GT-R "Track Edition" that joins "Premium" and "Black Edition" models and a more standard 370Z.

The 370Z Nismo offers "350 horsepower, racing-inspired exterior and interior styling, a specially tuned suspension and unique super-lightweight forged alloy wheels." There are also various changes to colourings and a new base colour of Magma Red. Interior enhancements include the addition of a new steering wheel.

The 3.7-litre V6 engine is offered in just one transmission, a six-speed manual which is tied to a synchronised downshift rev matching system that automatically controls and adjusts engine speed when shifting to the speed of the next gear position, essentially "blipping" the throttle to smooth out any up/down shifts. Nissan says this not only allows the driver to focus more on braking and steering, it improves the smoothness of gear shifts by reducing the typical "shock" when the clutch is engaged. The system can be deactivated with a button next to the shifter for drivers who prefer to shift on their own.

The 2014 370Z Nismo is 16 centimetres longer that the standard 370Z thanks to an extended front nose design.

Nismo's other model at Chicago was based on the unusual looking Juke and will be available in front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive with sport-tuned Xtronic CVT.

Nismo said changes were more than purely cosmetic and exterior changes were designed to enhance the Juke's aerodynamics with a claimed downforce improvement of 37 per cent on standard models.

Other obvious changes include the front fascia and grille, switching fog lights to thin LED accent lights, while side skirts have been reworked to also enhance aerodynamic performance.

The Juke Nismo will run on larger 18 inch tyres and a lowered suspension while under the bonnet the turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine has been boosted from the standard 188 horsepower to 197hp.

The most powerful of the Nissan cars on display in Chicago, however, was the GT-R "Track Edition", boasting 545hp.

The third and most exclusive model in the GT-R lineup is designed to take the company's street supercar to a pure motorsports competition machine. The back seats have been jettisoned and replaced by a lightweight quilted cloth mat while the "Track Edition" GT-R features a specially tuned suspension, special brake cooling guides and a front spoiler with carbon fibre air ducts.

Much of the 2014 GT-R's suspension development took place on the famed Nürburgring circuit in Germany.

Assistance in getting the 545 horses to the road comes via an advanced paddle-shifted sequential six-speed dual clutch transmission, which can be driver selected to shift at race car-like speeds (0.15 seconds). The sequential-shifting transaxle features separate wet clutches for the odd (1,3,5) and even (2,4,6) gears and pre-selects the next highest and next lowest gear for quick shifts. It also features Hill Start Assist for easy starts on uphill inclines.