Nissan will be showing off in many ways at this yearís Goodwood Festival of
Speed in the United Kingdom (7-9 July) from a race winning 350Z never seen before in Europe to a
couple of new, speed themed concept cars making their international debuts.
Not one but two concepts are having their first ever showing at Goodwood this year. If the press and public approve, they could be available in the not so distant future.
Nissan has been showing its 350Z in the Supercar Paddock for the last three years where it has attracted as much attention as cars costing up to eight times as much. This yearís entrant, called the 350Z GT-S concept, is the most special yet. The same talented team at Nissanís Cranfield Technical Centre who tailored the current 350Z to European driving needs have taken the car another step further. And theyíve been doing it in their spare time. Supercharging takes the power output of the Zís much loved 3.5-liter V6 engine from 300 bhp to 380 bhp, the brakes have been uprated with different discs and pads, and the suspension has been retuned to accommodate the extra power as well as increasing grip in all conditions. Which includes Goodwoodís famous hillclimb on which the 350Z GT-S concept will be making its first dynamic appearance.
The 350Z GT-S concept also sports a full body kit which has been developed to aid aerodynamics, increase down force and direct cooling air over the braking system. Wheels have been changed, too, but stick to the 18 inch diameter keeping weight to a minimum. The interior will also be going on a diet but this will be displayed at a later date.
Sticking with the 350Z, Sony Play Station GT4 gamesters will be fully aware of the 2004 Xanavi sponsored Japanese Super GT race series version which was won by a Nismo tuned Z. Now, for the first time in Europe, they will be able to see the car in action as it is being transported directly from Japan especially for Goodwood. The 2004 championship winning GT500 350Z will be piloted by champion race driver Richard Lyons Ė also transported from Japan. Look out for him and the car performing in the International Racing Sports Cars 1980-2006 category.
The other concept car on Nissanís stand is the Murano GT-C, standing for GT Concept. Nissan GB has taken its shapely crossover 4x4 and made it even more dramatic inside and out. Exterior brightwork has been given a new darker hue and all lights have been tinted to coordinate with the Kuro Black paintwork. The Muranoís standard 18" alloy wheels have been changed for a new 22", five-spoke design. And a raised roof spoiler finishes the purposeful look. Just as striking is the GT-Cís interior which has been retrimmed using British craftsmanship and a classic color palette but with a modern slant.
The GT-Cís drivetrain modifications are equally exciting. Under the close supervision of Nissanís Bedfordshire based European Technical Center, the Muranoís 234 bhp 3.5-liter V6 engine with seamless CVT transmission has been turbocharged to literally boost power to around 350 bhp. The suspension has also been modified to give the Murano a tauter feel while retaining Nissanís electronic ALL-MODE 4x4 system. Road testing will begin after the GT-Cís next public appearance at the London Motor Show. But expect continents to shrink under its power, whatever the weather.
Back on Nissanís stand, lined up alongside the Murano GT-C will be 350Zs (coupe and roadster), the Micra 160SR and, controversially, a pink Micra C+C. It may not have been to Richard Hammondís liking but the first 100 built sold out in a few weeks. And Nissan may be making some more.