Motoring enthusiasts around Australia celebrated last week with the local launch of the first full-strength Nismo car, the Nissan GT-R Nismo.
It’s not just Nissan’s new halo model either, it also marks the launch of the Nismo sub-brand here, something Nissan Australia has been pushing for for several years.
Nismo, a short form of ‘Nissan Motorsports’ is the performance arm for Nissan and aims to provide a more exciting driving experience with motorsports-inspired cars for enthusiast drivers.
The test ground for these specially prepared vehicles are the race tracks of the world, as Nismo competes in the top echelons of GT and sports car racing including Japan’s Super GT Championship and even the Bathurst 12 Hour, which it won in 2015 in a GT-R Nismo GT3.
The GT-R Nismo will spearhead the Nismo brand push and is well-equipped to do so. It features a 441kW and 652Nm (419kW/628 for the ‘regular GT-R) version of the VR38DETT V6 engine, and uses the same pair of high-flow, large diameter turbochargers as the Nismo GT3 race car.
And while the GT-R might be the first real-deal Nismo vehicle to arrive in Australia, it won’t be the last. Nissan Australia CEO, Richard Emery, confirmed the 370Z Nismo could potentially arrive before the end of 2017.
“Cars are required to be engineered to suit specific ADRs, and while Nismo is part of the Japanese car culture for years, it’s only recently that they have been available in the United States, so Australia isn’t that far behind.
“We obviously hope to extend the Nismo range, and the 370Z is the most likely car. But whereas the GT-R Nismo can only be purchased from a select number of specially equipped dealers, the 370Z version could be available from a wider group of Nissan dealers, but certainly not every dealer.
"While those dealers will still need to meet specific requirements, they won’t be anywhere near as demanding as for the GT-R”, said Emery.
Like the GT-R, the 370Z Nismo will get a more powerful engine tune along with uprated brakes and suspension. The interior will also get specific Nismo touches including special seats and steering wheel.
Asked if Nissan Australia will also offer Nismo performance parts, Emery didn’t rule it out, but said "that it was important to ensure we represent the brand in the proper manner."
“We don’t want the Nismo brand to represent a bolt-on-plastics operation, but there are varying levels of enhancement that you can do with Nismo, so we won’t rule out offering a range of key performance parts fitted by Nismo dealers here.”