Established in 1984, Nissan’s Nismo division has become synonymous with dominance in racing, and while most of the performance team’s accomplishments lie within motorsport, they’ve also injected loads of power into cars destined for everyday duties. The term is derived from the words ‘Nissan Motorsport’, and the resulting Nismo Edition road cars are not just usable in daily existence, but can still be shown off on the track as well. So, the automaker has ensured that these are as basic as possible in terms of comfort and convenience, with most of the research and development directed at how these machines function purely for fun.
Nissan Nismo Models
So, you’ve decided to support the underdog in a world of vastly capable offerings from BMW and Mercedes-AMG, and we’re willing to bet you won’t regret it. Sadly there are only a few variations available in the US in 2020, and while they differ in many ways, each is an unmistakable representation of Japanese culture:
- GT-R Nismo - The big boy of Nissan’s Nismo models, it is the most powerful, track weapon in the arsenal. It enjoys the most popularity, too, thanks to a cult following of die-hard JDM fanatics, and is a testament to the less-is-more approach favored by the brand. Infotainment is truly bare-bones, and the instrument cluster is aimed at purists, too. The inside is still swathed in premium materials, but this beast’s job is to push your heart rate up by sprinting from zero to 60 mph in under three seconds. Having 600 horses under your foot is not for the weak.
- 370Z Nismo - A popular choice for fans who have limited cash to spend, this is much easier to spend on than German competitors at an MSRP of around $46k. As one of the last traditional sports cars motivated by a naturally-aspirated mill, the 3.7-liter V6 kicks out 350 hp and 276 lb-ft and lets out an aggressive soundtrack from its dual-exhaust system. The cabin is quite out of date and just as spartan as that of the top dog. It has a stock manual transmission, but an automatic ‘box is optional.
- Sentra Nismo - We wouldn’t say this is a true fire-breather, since it is driven by a 1.6-liter turbo unit that provides just under 190 horsepower. It also needs over seven counts to reach sixty from a standstill, but at least it looks sporty. The most significant advantage that it has is its palatable base price, but there’s not much else to write home about.
Different Body Types of Nismo Cars
There are very few specs to choose from in the USA, but those that are on the showroom floor, ship in varying shapes and sizes. Much to the disappointment of those who prefer open-air driving, there aren’t any roadsters at present:
- Coupe - Both of the main contenders here fall in this category, with enough seating for a pilot and a passenger in relative comfort. Additional to the GT-R’s ample space in the front, there are also dual perches in the back, but they definitely serve best as extra storage, being much too cramped for most.
- Sedan - The Sentra is the only 4-door in the manufacturer’s corner. Four doors translate to it being more suitable for a small family or those who regularly have a few people traveling with them, making it even more easy to live with.
- Crossover - There are none of these in the stable just yet, but there are rumors of a Nismo-massaged Juke for 2021. While this has not been confirmed by the masters themselves, we have high hopes if the concept is anything to go by.
Price of Nissan Nismo Cars
The differences between the products for sale are vast, so the ideal variant for you really depends on your finances. As a guide, here are the approximate prices for Nissan Nismo.
- GT-R - This is the most expensive, with an MSRP over $210k. It costs quite a bit more in comparison to competitors, though, with the Corvette Z06 checking in $100k cheaper. Still, you’re getting the legendary Godzilla for that substantial amount with its hand-built VR38DETT powertrain.
- 370Z - The mid-range auto has a more accessible starting tally just upwards of $45k, and with minimal add-on packages to equip, unless you hanker after more performance and aesthetic upgrades, in which case you could see a fully-loaded speedster at just over $50k. Although known for a thrilling drive and smooth ride quality, it hasn’t aged well and doesn’t hold a candle to competitors.
- Sentra - Possibly the hottest selling point here would be its nominal sticker. Owning it requires an outlay of just over $26k, although that figure pertains to 2019 models only with no newer configurations on the market. While this compares favorably to other Nismos, there’s nothing exceptional about it that warrants the price over standard Sentra trims, or key rivals, for that matter.
What to Consider Before Buying Nissan Nismo
These beauties are made for a specific breed of gearhead, and you’ll either love it or hate it. Here are some of the ups and downs to take into account if you’re looking at investing:
- Most have strong engines
- Daily transport that you could take racing too
- Exciting performance feel
- Average pricing
- Iconic styling
- Eye-catching colors
- Outdated interiors
- Not overly spacious
- Not many safety features
- Lacks modern tech
Prices of Nismo Cars
One of the most distinct advantages of Nismo products is their accessible price points compared to rivals at the same level:
|Nissan 370Z NISMO
||3.7L V6 Gas
|Nissan GT-R NISMO
||3.8L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
|Nissan Juke NISMO
||1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
|Nissan Sentra NISMO
||1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Which is the best of the Nismo lineup?
The GT-R is without a doubt the best. It is the most impressive when we talk about hp and has launch control, which helps it to hang onto its reputation for being part of the quickest gas-engined sprinters from take-off. The inside has been given the Alcantara treatment in an attempt to update a generally archaic vibe, and there’s Recaro seats and a host of striking red accents.
How reliable are they?
There are very few recalls issued by the NHTSA for the most recent iterations of the abovementioned Nismo derivatives, and most reports indicate that these score highly in respect of reliability. There are no ratings from J.D. Power for the apex racers in the range, but the regular Sentra was awarded 81 out of 100 by the authority, overall.
Is a used model any good?
It’s definitely advisable to deliberate over pre-loved vehicles with low mileage. This is often what young enthusiasts opt for when entering into the high-output scene because brand-new is not always affordable. Nissan is also noted for its durable construction, so there’s less risk in acquiring something that has been in service.