Welcome to the seventh-generation Nissan Z car. Called simply the Nissan Z, it’s a rear-wheel-drive, twin-turbocharged 400hp two-door coupe with a manual transmission.
The Z goes on sale in the US next spring. It ditches the 370Z’s old 3.7-litre V6 for a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre. Power is up by 68bhp and there’s 30 per cent more torque, so you’re looking at a nice, round 400hp and 475Nm. No performance figures yet, but we’re promised the 0-95km/h time is around 15 per cent quicker than before. You can either have a six-speed manual or nine-speed auto.
From launch it’s available in two flavours – Sport and Performance. And predictably, Performance is the one you want. It adds launch control and rev-matching for manual cars, and regardless of which transmission you go for, a limited-slip differential, forged 19-inch alloys shod with sticky Bridgestone tyres, beefier brakes, a sports exhaust, a nine-inch touchscreen and Bose stereo. There’s also a limited-edition ‘Proto Spec’, which pays tribute to last year’s almost identical Z Proto Concept.
All manual cars get a carbonfibre composite driveshaft and “high performance” clutch. Fancy, eh?
Of course much work has been done on the suspension and chassis – we’re told the Z was “designed to be one with the driver for all kinds of on-road adventures”.
Body rigidity is up (a front strut brace is standard), the electric power steering promises more feel and wider tyres means more lateral grip. There are new larger-diameter shock absorbers, and the suspension has new geometry.
Design? We think it looks ace. Nissan’s design boss Alfonso Albaisa says the Z “travels between the decades while being completely modern”. It takes much inspiration from Z cars of the past – the headlights, for example, mimic those of the JDM-only 240ZG of the Seventies. The interior looks cool too, though we might leave the blue leather.
STORY Tom Harrison