Z is not dead.
Nissan has axed the second most popular badge in its back catalog for 2022. It is not so a Nissan Z model, it is now called plain. gave Nissan Z.
With retro-futuristic looks and a combination of 370Z and Infiniti Q60 parts under the skin, it’s not exactly a new car.
This is representative of where the industry is going. A ground-up sports car wasn’t an option for Nissan given the money it was being forced to pour into electric vehicle development.
New or not, this is an absolute showstopper. Forget about Ferrari or Lamborghini, if you want the eyes of the world to be on you, this is the Z you should be driving.
It’s a winner, then? Well, for that to be true you need to be able to confidently say ‘that’s fantastic’ when someone inevitably asks how it goes.
And while it’s no doubt charming, I’m not sure it’s spectacular.
The base Nissan Z (our tester) starts. $73,300 before on-road costsand jumps to $80,700 before on-road for the Limited Proto spec.
Pricing for the new Z compares to $61,990 (manual) and $64,490 (auto) stickers for the 2021 Nissan 370Z Nismo.
A BMW 230i coupe sells for $70,900 ex-on-road, and the Toyota Supra currently starts at $87,000 ex-on-road. The best-selling Ford Mustang is now sold out in Australia until the next generation arrives in 2023.
Nissan dug deep into the components to create the Z’s cabin, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good place to spend time.
You enter using door handles carried over from the 370Z, and slot into a pair of seats of the same origin. The dashboard is all new though, right down to the trio of gauges sitting above the touchscreen. In a world increasingly dominated by screens, they’re a cute little nod to the past.
The basics are decent, but not exactly standouts. The driving position isn’t particularly tall-guy-friendly, and headroom is tighter than in a Mustang or Supra, though it’s possible to relax with a bit of swagger.
The fact that Subaru offers more boot space, front seat space, and a set of rear seats in the cheaper, smaller BRZ points to the compromises involved in the platform under the Z.
Over-the-shoulder visibility is about what you’d expect from a two-seat coupe, so the addition of blind spot monitoring is a win, and the prominent V-shaped bonnet bulge makes keeping the car on the road fairly easy. . .
The key touch points all feel reasonably high quality. The wheel is trimmed in smooth leather, the gearshifter is a chunky unit, and the handbrake falls off the hand easily.
Nissan has clearly put some thought into getting the basics right, as the alloy pedals are also well spaced.
Technology was one of the biggest problems with the 370Z. The new model features the same infotainment system that will feature in the X-Trail and Qashqai.
It’s serviceable, but not a standout. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are wired, and the system is easy to navigate but short on any real excitement.
The highlight is the digital dashboard. Some real effort has been put into making it shine, with a prominent central tachometer and gear indicator in Sport mode.
Of course, you can also be boring and just stick to the basic X-Trail (or should that be Outlander?) views available in the other drive modes.
Storage space isn’t great, though it’s better than the 370Z. There’s a pair of cupholders, door pockets that are good for a water bottle, and an underarm storage bin.
There are no rear seats to worry about, and the boot is smaller than you’d expect.
It’s quite tall, but the angle of the glass tailgate means that anything large or boxy will need to be carried in the narrowest part of the boot because it’s at the highest point of the roof.
You’re not buying the Z because it’s practical, and the cargo space on offer is largely in keeping with what you’ll find in a Toyota Supra.
Powered by a version of Z. VR30DDTT 3.0 liter twin turbo engine From the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport, making 298 kW And 475Nm.
The six-speed manual is derived from the unit used in the 370Z, with a heavy-duty Exedy clutch and a rev matching system that eliminates the need for heel and toe.
Coupled with a 1600 kg Bar the weight in the manual on test here, the (much) more powerful heart allows the new Z to hit 100 km/h. 4.7 seconds Based on our testing at launch.
Drinks 98 RON premium unleaded at the claimed rate of Z. 10.8L/100km On the combined cycle, and features a 62L fuel tank. We saw 9.0L/100km on a highway run up the hills, with some spirited driving thrown in for good measure.
The Z may look like a sports car, and come from a line of grand tourers, but it’s not really 2022 either.
It’s quick, no doubt, but it’s nowhere near as quick, anytime, as we’ve come to expect from all-wheel-drive hot hatches.
When the road dries up and the 3.0-litre twin-turbo engine puts you back in the seat and keeps you there through the torque-rich mid-range. Below 2000rpm there’s a few beats of turbo lag, but once the boost needle starts flickering the Z really picks up and the bogeys go.
Shame it looks so flat and industrial. Nissan has never been good at making its modern Z cars sound good, and the new Z is no exception.
It’s a bit of a loose unit in the wet. Put your foot down and even with all the driver assists activated it will light up the rear tires when the boost kicks in, and then keep them spinning if you don’t act sensible and back off.
Even at what feels like light throttle you can talk the back end. It’s old school, a feeling that’s exacerbated by the heavy and slightly clunky manual shifter.
With a low take-up point and heavy, quick action, the clutch takes some getting used to, and the shifter itself has a noticeable action that demands firm, deliberate input.
First to second in particular requires a firm hand or a bit of patience, and the crossgate shifts aren’t very intuitive.
With practice you can muscle it up pretty quickly, and the RioMatch software means you can focus on the brakes, clutch and shifter without adding right-ankle gymnastics to the mix.
It’s far more engaging than an automatic, and it’s refreshing to drive a car that doesn’t immediately reveal all its secrets to you. But a more intuitive set of controls wouldn’t go astray, and would make the Z an easier car to jail.
With a brawny turbocharged engine and an attractive, if slightly unnatural shift, the Z has all the makings of a grand tourer. But the driving position isn’t particularly road trip friendly, and the ride is decent but not what you’d call casting.
Throw in a very generous amount of road noise above about 80km/h, not to mention a limited boot, and the Z isn’t really even that.
As for the sports car? It’s no doubt fun to drive, but the Z lacks the Toyota Supra’s cornering flair.
The steering is quite slow off-centre, and there’s a bit of body movement when you’re pushing hard – both roll, and pitch when you brake or accelerate hard.
It’s no corner carver, and it makes you work quickly, but it has a nice, old-school rear-wheel-drive balance.
Hit the brakes and get into gear quickly, let the car through mid-corner, feed in the turbo torque coming out of the corner, and the Z will take off on the next straight with just a hint of oversteer – or more than a hint if that. You are very inclined.
The Z is not a sports car, and it is not a grand tourer. It’s like a modern muscle car; Japan’s answer to the Ford Mustang.
Highlights of Nissan Z:
- 12.3 inch TFT configurable digital instrument cluster
- 8.0-inch central infotainment display
- Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- 8 Speaker Bose Audio System
- Tri-gauge analog display (boost, turbo fan speed, voltage)
- Electrically heated, leather-accented seats.
- Suede trim door finisher
- Active noise cancellation
- Active voice enhancement
- Intelligent key with push button start and panic alarm
- Auto leveling LED headlights
- LED daytime running lights
- 4-way power driver seat with manual lifter, thigh, lumbar support
The Nissan Z has not been officially tested by Euro NCAP or ANCAP, and neither was the 370Z before it.
On top of the six airbags, the Nissan Z gets a range of active driver assists that were missing from the 370Z when it neared the end of its life.
Standard safety features include:
- AEB including pedestrian detection
- Adaptive cruise control
- Forward collision warning
- Blind spot monitoring
- Rear cross traffic alert
- Lane departure warning
- High beam assist
- Traffic sign recognition
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Reversing camera
- Hill Start Assist
- Tire pressure monitoring
Nissan Z is covered. Five-year, unlimited kilometer warranty.
Maintenance is required every 12 months or 10,000 kilometres, and the first five services are combined in the manual. $2340 Using Nissan’s Limited Price Service Plan
Forget about everything it’s not, because the motoring world is better off for having a Nissan Z.
It’s a real showstopper in person, with a concept car look that will have strangers wanting to know more on the roads, and an undeniably engaging driving experience.
It feels a bit like one of those. About Cars, though. Almost a sports car, almost a grand tourer, it’s caught a bit between worlds. It will be interesting to see where Nissan takes it next.
There’s nothing wrong with the Z as it stands, but the prospect of a more focused Nismo is tantalizing. While you’re at Nissan, give us a more comfortable version to go with it.
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More: Everything Nissan Z