A small team of Nissan development engineers working in their spare time have transformed a 350Z into a highly tuned Saturday Special. Called the GT-S, the supercharged super coupe is a performance-focused version of Nissan’s acclaimed Z-car and is designed to appeal to enthusiastic 350Z owners who simply want more.
Its first public outing will be at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (7-9 July) where it will join other exotic road cars in the Supercar Paddock and on the famous hillclimb course.
Although boasting a power hike and a substantially modified chassis, the GT-S is far from being a stripped out racing car with a rock hard ride and a peaky power delivery.
The principal changes made to turn the 350Z into the GT-S center on its engine and chassis. Using a supercharger installation from Swiss manufacturers Novidem, power has increased by more than 25 per cent from 300 bhp to 382 bhp, while torque rises from 260 lb-ft to a heady 314 lb-ft.
Performance gains are expected to include a one second cut in the benchmark 0-60 mph time (5.8 seconds for the standard 350Z) with 2.5 seconds slashed from the 0-100 mph time.
And it sounds better, too, thanks to an electronically controlled by-pass valve that enriches the exhaust note at a pre-determined engine speed.
NTCE engineers have undertaken the suspension changes. Working closely with specialists from Bilstein, the changes concentrate on optimizing road performance, with improvements in both handling ability and ride comfort, particularly on British B roads. Wider wheels and tires complete the chassis alterations.
A wind tunnel developed body/aero kit from German firm Strosek not only gives the all-black GT-S a distinctive look, but also improves the 350Z’s aerodynamic performance with increased front and rear downforce at speed. The package is completed by a NVH pack which makes the GT-S even more civilized than the standard 350Z.
Steve Robbins said: “We could have produced a balls-out racer with huge power outputs and very little suspension movement. But while this would have created a superb racer, it would have been virtually unusable on the road. Instead we approached the GT-S from an engineering stand-point with a view to creating a 350Z that provides more of everything: performance, handling, looks, comfort and excitement.
So will the GT-S ultimately become more than a weekend project by a group of mavericks? Nissan is saying nothing officially, though insiders point to its appearance at Goodwood as a sign the company is giving the GT-S concept serious consideration.