Nissan's Nismo Z: Electronic Throttle Released
With recent talk about fail-safe brakes, you'd think playful pedal work and motoring fun were about to go the way of the brontosaurus. Not so fast, piston puss. Last fall Nissan let Midwest journalists demo its amped 370Z Nismo with SynchroRev Match. This potent coupe's drive-by-wire gimmick, which tweaks the throttle for you, gives a whole new meaning to smart pedals.
Now nearly any stick shift driver can ape Michael Schumacher. Add the Nismo's tauter suspension, 18 extra ponies (350 hp total) and vision blocking rear wing and you've got a wicked set of wheels. Cornering grip is outstanding. Steering feel: heavy, lots of feedback. This is track bait.
SynchroRev does throttle-blipping smooth downshifts as gracefully as George Balanchine choreographed dancers. It works. Sensors on the clutch pedal and shift lever let the onboard computer know when and how to calculate the ideal engine speed. The system kicks into action when you depress the clutch pedal. Move the shift lever; the engine rpm quickly resets for slick upshifts and downshifts. No one will ever notice if you pick the wrong gear--almost.
If you'd rather fiddle with the pedals the old-fashion way (heel-and toeing), you can shut off the automated engine rpm conductor. Nonetheless, after you've tried it, you'll turn on the SRM.