Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept

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The Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster concept unveiled at the 2015 Chicago motor show demonstrates a readiness by the Japanese car maker to expand the performance brand into niche areas.

Expected to be one of its most focussed convertibles yet, the 370Z NISMO Roadster concept adopts the same chassis adjustments of its 370Z NISMO coupe sibling – more power, stiffer suspension, bigger brakes, fatter tyres, etc –  in a package that looks close to production ready.

Nissan said the new Roadster was created to "gauge market interest in an ultimate factory Z Roadster" and would be NISMO's fifth factory model after tuned versions of the 370Z, GT-R, JUKE and JUKE NISMO RS if it gets the green light for production.

The US-market NISMO’s Roadster's 3.7-litre V6 is rated at 261kW/373Nm, up from the Australian 370Z's 245kW/363Nm, thanks to exhaust and ECU changes. The drop-top promises to be even more exhilarating than the 370Z NISMO coupe, which we described in 2014 as "effortlessly rapid and supremely satisfying to drive hard".

Although unlikely to be quite as sharp as the coupe, it should be tauter than its donor car, thanks to significant chassis upgrades. It gets a NISMO strut tower brace under the bonnet, stiffer NISMO-enhanced suspension front and rear, with unique springs and stabiliser bars.

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Also included are larger brakes and a viscous limited-slip differential, or VLSD, complete with a shorter final drive ratio for improved acceleration. Updated body work is designed to improve  aerodynamics with the handy side-effect of providing the vehicle with more menacing visuals.

"The idea of adding NISMO levels of look, feel and performance to a Nissan 370Z Roadster is one that we've been considering for a long time," said Pierre Loing, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc.

"The creation of the Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept brings that idea to life and lets us judge consumer reaction – which we predict is going to be outstanding."

Although the NISMO brand launches soon in Australia, a country that punches above its weight in terms of high-performance vehicle consumption, timing for the Roadster release is muddy.

However, it’s expected to arrive later this year, with Nissan Australia stating in 2014 that it was close to securing the business case to make it work.

Take a look at the MRT Power Kit for your 370Z.

Did you know Cosworth offer some excellent performance upgrades for the current 370Z?

Browse the MRT online catalogue now.

Words and images by www.carsales.com.au

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