Manual Nissan Z Nismo Is Still Possible

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The Japanese automaker believes the nine-speed automatic gearbox is better for faster lap times.

The lack of a manual transmission option for the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo might have disappointed some enthusiasts. However, Nissan is not disregarding the idea of the three-pedal Nismo-badged Z. Much like anyone running a business, the Japanese automaker will deliver if there's enough demand for it.

Paul Hawson, Nissan's director of advanced product planning, told Road & Track, "If there's a demand, we're going to look at making it [with a manual]." This means Nissan believes offering the nine-speed auto gearbox only is the best for the performance-oriented version, and the automaker explained why that is the case.

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The decision to go for a sole gearbox option was said to be the result of customer feedback during the development process. Customers of the Nismo brand tend to be track-oriented people who prioritize faster lap times, which could theoretically be delivered by an automatic better than a manual.

"With Nissan, any product we're conceptualizing always starts with the customer," Hawson said. "Our process is that way. So the customers we talked to, when it comes to the Nismo, they were track-oriented people. These are people that are concerned about lap times, they're not concerned about the nostalgia for the Z."

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At the famed Nurburgring, the cars topping the charts ran with a variation of an automatic transmission. The fastest road-going car around the Green Hell, the Mercedes-AMG One, did a 6:30.705 with a seven-speed automated manual gearbox. The car it bested, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR, came with a PDK (dual-clutch) transmission.

Propelling the Z Nismo to faster lap times is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 tuned by the brand's performance division to make 420 horsepower (20 more hp than the standard model). Nissan said the nine-speed provides 50 percent quicker downshifts and a track-oriented Sport+ automated setting.

For now, we won't get to see the lap time difference between the automatic and manual until enthusiasts can encourage the company to develop the latter.

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