It’s finally here, Nissan’s first new sports car in forever. Premiered in New York, we’re looking at the production version of the seventh-generation Z. After all this time, it is now simply called the Nissan Z, no numbers this time but we all know that this is essentially the 400Z.
Most Nissan fans would be happy to know that this car looks a lot like the Proto Z concept from the year before. It’s not pretty with a relatively plain-looking front end dominated by the very rectangular air dam flanked by sleek LED headlamps with two-half circles for the light signature. There is also a front spoiler integrated into the bumper design to help with front-end grip.
The overall shape of the new Z sticks with the original and adds smoother curves. Like any good sports car, it has a long bonnet with the occupants sitting closer to the rear axle. Nissan describes the design theme of the new Z as “tradition with modern technology”. The 400Z has debuted with black 19-inch alloys but we’d like to see how the new Z would look on a set of silver or white rims.
The throwback elements can be seen at the rear as well, with a new take on the rear lighting inspired by the taillamps of the 300ZX. Its rear end sits slightly lower than the front fender for an athletic stance and you also get the option of a boot-edge spoiler for increased sportiness.
Inside the cabin, we see more of the “old-meets-new” theme with the mix of manual controls and digital displays. The first thing you’ll notice is the sphere-shaped gear knob for the manual shifter and the long handbrake. Next, we have the fairly sporty looking round steering wheel with the Z badge in the centre and a host of controls.
The new Z offers a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display with different layouts and an 8-inch touchscreen unit in the middle of the dashboard for the infotainment system. While perfectly functional, and still better than the displays in the A90 Toyota Supra, they seem too generic to be appropriate for a car this special in our opinion. Maybe they could not have done much about the interface, but Nissan should have made the effort for the interior to look as distinctive as the exterior.
The Japanese marque tried to salvage the disappointment from the digital displays by placing three analogue pod gauges above the central AC vents. These offer information such as boost, turbo-speed and volts. The seats of the Z incorporate Nissan’s experience with the GT-R, offering plenty of support and comfort while being fairly sporty in design and posture.
Lastly and most importantly, we have the performance of the new Nissan Z. It uses a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 now producing a healthy 400hp and 475Nm, all sent to the rear wheel. More importantly, it comes with the aforementioned 6-speed manual gearbox and an optional 9-speed automatic. The manual also comes with rev-matching, so heel-and-toe expertise is not mandated for blipping between shifts.
Its suspension setup is an improvement over the 370Z in terms of dampening and stability while the new electronic power steering may not be as welcome. There is a limited-slip differential as well, but only in the top-spec Z Performance trim.
Based on some of the initial reviews of the new Nissan Z, it would be fair to call it a more grown-up sports car than the 370Z before it. It’s comfortable, fairly quick and allows you to have fun while driving. But pushed to the limit, the stock version just does not cut it. However, like most Nissan sports cars, the Z is ripe for modifications ranging from tasteful enhancements to stripped-out track builds. However, the first thing any new Nissan Z owner might want to consider is a better exhaust to compliment the lovely twin-turbo V6 powerplant under its bonnet.
What do you make of the new Nissan Z? What would you have liked to see on the newest member of the iconic moniker? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons blog for more cool updates from the car world. You can also follow us on Instagram for more automotive content.