Nissan 370Z Nismo Roadster concept drops its top in Chicago

Concept previews potential production variant, pending sufficient interest

We rate the Nissan 370Z Nismo quite highly here at evo, and thoroughly enjoyed the regular 370Z Roadster we ran on our Fast Fleet a few years back.

By extension then, the 370Z Nismo Roadster Concept presented at the Chicago auto show should be right up our street – combining the latest Nismo coupe’s improved styling and driving characteristics with follicle-flustering thrills.

As yet, the Concept tag implies it won’t be put into production, but by combining two existing production cars there’s little about the Nismo that couldn’t be achieved with little work.

That means the same 339bhp, 274lb ft, 3696cc V6 as the tin-top, as well as all the coupe’s suspension alterations.

The Concept uses a 7-speed automatic transmission rather than the standard six-speed with automatic rev-matching, though should the car make production it’s likely the latter would be offered in the UK market. Nissan puts the change down to the convertible’s more relaxed character, suggesting it perfect for ‘long open-top drives along the shoreline’.

A set of Bridgestone Potenza 245- and 285-section tyres encircle 19in forged Rays alloy wheels, 9.5 inches wide at the front and another inch wider at the rear.

Inside, the Nismo Roadster is a little less striking than the production coupe, the red hue of the coupe’s Recaros replaced by a sedate off-white shade of ‘Ultrasuede’, chosen to repel heat when the car is left sitting with the roof open. Wisely, they’re also stain-repellant, should the roof be left open during the sort of weather more typical in the UK.

Other features include a carbonfibre spoiler unique to the Nismo Roadster, and the production coupe’s standard limited-slip differential and underbonnet strut brace.

Nissan has no firm plans to produce the car, but Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning at Nissan North America, says it’s something the company has considered ‘for a long time’.

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