Spoiler alert: sports car fans are advised not to read any further. Because details of the new Nissan Z are going to make you want one. And, as has been discussed, Europe isn't getting the car, because of emissions. So, if the following does induce envy, don't say you weren't warned...
Despite its all-new billing, this 2023 Z seems refreshingly old school in its specification. Like every Z car ever, there are six cylinders at the front, a manual gearbox in the two-seat cabin and rear-wheel drive. It even looks pretty classic, all long bonnet and short rump to place the driver right over the driver wheels. Nods to specific Zs of the past includes rear lights like the 300ZX and LEDs up front inspired by the JDM 240ZG of the 70s.
But, of course, this isn't just a throwback sports car. The 3.0-litre, twin-turbo V6 powering the Z is noticeably more powerful than the old 3.7-litre, with 405hp at 6,400rpm and 350lb ft from 1,600-5,600rpm - that latter figure is 30 per cent more than before. A 0-60mph time hasn't yet been quoted, though launch control for the six-speed manual and nine ratios for the automatic should ensure spritely getaways whether buyers opt for two pedals or three. Nissan promises a "physical and visceral connection" with the standard manual, or a "direct and quick response" from the auto. Paddles from the GT-R are there for those wishing to take manual control.
There's plenty more to be encouraged by with the chassis. This Z is has greater torsional rigidity than the old 370, with new dampers that "enhance road-following performance and improve handling stability." Both double wishbone front and multi-link rear axles have been reworked for this new model - as might reasonably be expected, given how long it's been - and there's a new limited-slip diff, electric power steering and wider Yokohama or Bridgestone tyres as well. The specific model chosen - there are Sport and Performance Zs - will dictate which of those as fitted, along with either 18-inch or forged 19-inch wheels.
Nissan describes the Z interior as combining "modern tech with a vintage touch." Certainly, it's a big improvement over the 370, with a 12.3-inch configurable display for the driver alongside an eight-inch infotainment screen, if perhaps a tad ordinary for a car launching as a 2023 model. That said, we're all learning that too traditional is better than too modern for a car interior, so perhaps Nissan is right to keep it familiar. Three analogue dials - here for boost, turbo speed and volts - are a nice retro touch, especially so angled towards the driver. The dished wheel is aiming for a similar heritage vibe, albeit now festooned with buttons that are now a requirement.
Finally, it's worth noting that blue is very much a regular option and not a jazzy launch spec - it's offered alongside Black and Red as a "colour environment." Outside, there's a choice of three monotone colours - Black Diamond, Rosewood Metallic and Gun Metallic - with six more that combine with a black roof: Ikazuchi Yellow, Passion Red, Everest White, Seiran Blue, Boulder Grey and Brilliant Silver.
With such a long wait for this car, it's probably only right that the Z is launching with a special edition. The Z Proto Spec pays homage both to the concept and the 240Z, with yellow calipers, bronze 19-inch wheels and yellow accents for the leather interior - 240 will be made. Buyers who miss those will choose between Sport and Performance trims. The former has the 18-inch wheel, Yokohama tyres and seats with "know-how from the GT-R's development to enhance both hold and fit." Expect the Performance grade to be popular, however; it introduces electrically adjustable seats, the larger wheels, a bigger central touchscreen, the limited-slip diff, upgraded brakes and a different exhaust.
Which all sounds a bit redundant, given the Z isn't coming anywhere near Europe, but it's nice to know Nissan has at least made an effort with its latest sports car. They famously don't come around all that often, but for the lucky few it promises to be well worth the wait. They'll be at US dealer in spring 2022, so there's some time to think about emigrating...
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