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Nissan 370Z Ultimate Performance Tuning Guide

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Table of Contents


The 370Z is undoubtedly a very capable machine in it’s standard form, especially in specs like the Nismo.

While it’s true that the VQ V6 engine under the hood is highly tuned from the factory, it doesn’t mean your standard Z is already at it’s peak performance. In fact, there are definitely some noticeable gains to be had while keeping the car naturally aspirated. 

And yes, we will also be touching on forced induction if you are considering going down that route too!

Of course, it isn’t all about straight line power. Many of you who like to take your 370Z up the backroads for a hoon or beat it on the track will know all about the importance of the Z’s handling.

While not the lightest of cars, there are definitely some significant improvements that you can make to the handling with some aftermarket parts and adjustments. We will cover all of this too!

So buckle up and let’s get ready to transform your 370Z into a whole new beast.

Air Intakes

Let’s start with induction mods and one of the cheaper mods out there for both performance and sound.

Let’s talk air intakes!

Quality aftermarket cold air intakes have been proven to make noticeable power gains when put on a dyno. Plus they make your 370Z sound even better when on the throttle.

When it comes to your search for extracting more power from your Z, you will find the intake is often quoted as the first restriction that needs bypassed. So if you are set on upgrading your exhaust or installing free flowing headers then this is an essential mod.

Try and avoid “short ram” intakes and instead opt for an induction kit with longer tubes that position the intakes nearer the bonnet. This helps the intakes draw in cooler air leading to better performance.

One of the best options for this is the Z1 Motorsports cold air intakes. These provide proven power and throttle response gains and help the air flow as smoothly as possible through the piping with minimal turbulence. You also have the option of the Stillen long tube intakes which are another fantastic option and claims to have proven dyno gains of over 17hp!

Aftermarket Headers

The job of the headers in the exhaust manifold is to direct the warm exhaust gasses produced by the engine throughout the rest of the exhaust. While they do the job adequately enough, exhaust components on almost all cars are engineered with other considerations in mind such as noise control and budget. As such, there is still room for improvement when it comes to making the exhaust air flow more efficient.

If you are wanting to extract every pony out of the VQ engine, then you should definitely look at installing a set of aftermarket headers.

A key benefit of these headers lies in improving the exhaust gas flow. With aftermarket headers, the engine experiences improved airflow, resulting in noticeable gains in horsepower and torque. Additionally, installing these headers contributes to a throatier, more aggressive exhaust note that complements your Z’s enhanced performance.

Opt for a set of high quality headers such as those made by Torqen, Motordyne or Fast Intentions. These manufacturers are reputable players in the 370Z scene with products that produce proven results.

If you are mechanically minded, you will be able to save a lot of money on labour by installing these yourself. The right side of the headers should only take a couple of hours to install but expect to spend up to triple the time on the left side.

Performance Exhaust

Upgrading your 370Z’s breathing capabilities with an aftermarket exhaust system results in a blend of performance and audible benefits that will leave you grinning from ear to ear each time you hit the road.

You have different options for the exhaust depending on your budget and goals.

Starting just after the headers (exhaust manifold) we have the test pipes. Some also refer to these as downpipes. This is probably the most budget friendly option for extracting extra sound from your exhaust as well as freeing up some performance gains. 

This section of the exhaust contains the catalytic converters which are required in most countries by law to regulate the emissions your car produces. This means that test pipes likely won’t be legal for road use where you are. This isn’t an issue if your 370Z is only used as a track toy.

With the test pipes, you can get resonated versions and non resonated versions. Resonated test pipes help eliminate some of the drone you may get when you open up your exhaust too much. Non resonated are essentially just straight through pipes which will be louder.

If you are just replacing the test pipes and no other sections of your exhaust, then even non resonated shouldn’t be too noisy. However with an open cat-back section and aftermarket headers, it will only add to the loudness of your exhaust!

An alternative to test pipes is to install high flow sports cats. These replace your standard catalytic converters with high flow versions which increase performance while staying road legal. Although they don’t always produce as much of a power increase as test pipes, they are often a good alternative for complying with emission regulations. 

After the test pipes/catalytic converters, we have the “cat-back” section of your Z’s exhaust. This is the section from your catalytic converters (if you haven’t replaced them with test pipes) out to your tailpipes. The cat-back section is comprised of the Y pipe, centre section and rear muffler/backbox.

This section of your exhaust is the part responsible the most for controlling the sound.

There are many fantastic options out there to choose from like Motordyne, Fast Intentions, Torqen and much more. These systems can help you gain additional power and torque as well as make the V6 sing at the higher revs!


Coilovers bestow your ride with an illustrious makeover—performance and aesthetics, united in perfect harmony.

For the purposes of this guide, we will be focusing more on the performance aspects of coilovers as opposed to the visual transformation they can make to your Z.

In case you don’t know, this suspension upgrade integrates both the coil spring and shock absorber into a single unit, facilitating a more unified and adjustable system. 

By reducing body roll and enhancing road contact, coilovers ensure better responsiveness and cornering ability, resulting in a more stable and connected feel.

The adaptable nature of coilovers is a definitive factor that makes them perfect for the 370Z. Many high quality sets of coilovers allow for the adjustment of ride height, damping settings as well as rebound adjustment. This allows you to really dial in your suspension for a wide variety of performance applications. 

Depending on how far you want to go with the ride height, you may need to upgrade other suspension components to prevent excessive wear and poor ride quality.  If you are going for a low aggressive stance, then you should look into upgrading your sway bars, front end links and getting adjustable camber arms.

Don’t cheap our on coilovers as this will just lead to headaches down the line.

You can get quality reliable sets for your 370Z from KW, Stance and Megan Racing. 

Upgraded Brakes

We’ve talked about increasing power. But what about stopping power?

It’s time to dive into the realm of brakes!

Many will say the standard base brakes on the 370Z aren’t up to the task of hard driving, especially on the track. 

Cooling should be one of the biggest priorities when it comes to upgrading your brakes.  Routing improved cooling ducts are one of the best ways to do this and prevent your brakes getting too hot over prolonged hard driving. Even doing this on the standard brake setup will yield improvements.

The sport brakes (Akebono) on the 370Z will be suffice for many people (excluding some serious track nuts who are pushing hard). As mentioned above, they will need additional cooling to maximize their performance. If you are doing track days on the sport brakes setup, consider opting for a set of aftermarket pads so they don’t get worn down as fast.

In addition to upgraded pads, you should invest in high temperature brake fluid and stainless steel brake lines.

If tracking your 370Z , using high temp brake fluid is not just an upgrade or a fine-tuning step, but an essential consideration that underscores the difference between a successful race day and a potentially perilous one.

The standard brake fluid and lines can boil leading to vapor bubbles under repeated high speed braking. This can severely compromise your braking ability.

While the Akebono sport brakes are probably the best value, there are other big brake kit options out there. Brake kits from manufacturers like AP Racing are available which are designed for heavy racing use however would be overkill for other applications. 

Anti-roll/Sway Bars

Sway bars, also known as anti-roll bars, play a crucial role in enhancing your Z’s handling. If you drive your Z spiritedly (I think we all know the answer to this) then an aftermarket set of upgraded sway bars could enhance your driving experience. This is especially true if you track your Z and are looking to better your lap times.

Installing sway bars leads to a thrillingly stable and balanced ride, as these bars take care of pesky body roll when you’re fearlessly conquering tight corners.

Sway bars work best in tandem with a well tuned suspension system running a quality set of coilovers.

The handling changes you experience from installing upgraded sway bars usually depends on their stiffness. Stiffer sway bars reduce body roll the most while softer ones like OEM ones allow for more body travel through corners.

There are various sway bars out there that are adjustable meaning you can tweak the stiffness of them to your preferences. Examples of these are the 370Z sway bars by Whiteline and Torqen. 

You have the option of replacing either the front sway bar, rear sway bar or even both. What you decide to do will depend on what handling characteristics you are wanting to change. 

For example, a stiffer front sway bar will reduce understeer when cornering allowing a tighter turn in. A tighter sway bar at the rear will promote oversteer. If you are into drifting, you will want a tighter rear sway bar however for most applications and track use you would benefit the most from a tighter sway bar in the front.

Forced Induction

Why not leave the craziest til last?

If you are wanting serious performance (400hp+), then forced induction is pretty much a must. If you are considering a power figure past this region, then forget about chucking mods on your Z aimed at increasing naturally aspirated power. Going directly to a forced induction setup in this case is the smartest idea.

The first big question to ask when it comes to this is “do I want to go down the turbocharger route or the supercharger route?”

Superchargers will provide a more progressive and linear power delivery throughout the entire rev range. This can make it more appealing to daily driven 370Z’s who are driven on the street a lot. On the other hand if you are wanting mega power and an aggressive power delivery higher up in the rev range, then a turbo will give you just that.

The supercharger option is definitely the cheaper option out of the two as opting for a turbo setup requires more work.

Regardless of what option you go for, you will need to spend a fair amount of money on supporting mods to ensure reliability. Adding forced induction to a naturally aspirated car will also require additional regular maintenance so that is something to be aware of as well when budgeting for running costs down the line.

To ensure longevity of the engine, it should be upgraded as part of the build to cope with the additional power increase. This can include a whole engine tear down and components like the rods, pistons and valves all replaced with stronger counterparts. 

If you are set on going down this route, there are turbo and supercharger kits available that give you the majority of components that you need to get started. 

Fast Intentions and Greddy offer turbo kits that come with other supporting parts such as the piping and intercooler. On the supercharger front, Stillen offer a supercharger kit which works out cheaper but doesn’t have as high a celling when it comes to power as some of the turbo kits.

Finishing Thoughts

It’s important to take a step back before committing to heavy modifying your Z. Consider your goals and budget before investing money in parts. 

Due to the car being a very high powered naturally aspirated V6 from the factory, you aren’t going to achieve mega power gains without adding forced induction. If you are looking for a high power figure, it can be more economical to go straight down the route of adding a turbo or supercharger instead of spending money on parts trying to maximise it as a naturally aspirated engine.

Even without adding power to the car, there are still lots of handling improvements you can do with some of the mods mentioned above. A quality set of coilovers and sway bars that are set up correctly can transform the way your 370Z handles, turning it into a capable track car.

Regardless of what you want from your Z, the large enthusiast community and aftermarket part availability make this a fantastic car for modifying and extracting additional fun from.

Happy modding!