Almost 13 years since its predecessor Nissan 370Z was unveiled, Nissan is finally releasing an all-new model, one that encapsulates the very best of the model’s 53 years of existence with over 1.8 million examples of the Z, in all its previous iterations, variants and generations sold worldwide.
The Z represents far more than just a car. It’s a lifestyle, a community of people who seek the lofty goal of finding driving nirvana on four wheels.
The latest Nissan sportscar, now simply called the Nissan Z, marries design cues from past iconic Z models starting from the original S30’s silhouette to the Z32’s rear tail light treatment, albeit with a 3D effect for a modern look, the sensual rear hips from both the fifth generation 350Z and sixth generation 370Z, all paired with the latest technology in sports cars. All retain the classic long-hood that was a common denominator on all generations of the Z.
The latest Z is powered by Nissan’s VR30DDTT, a twin-turbo direct-injected 6-cylinder displacing 3.0 liters that outputs an impressive 400hp and 474 newton-meters of torque driving the rear wheels with a choice of a traditional 6-speed manual transmission, or an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission. The 6-speed uses an advanced launch assist control system and also features Downshift Rev-Matching, similar to heel-toe downshifting to smoothen out your downshifts when attacking corners. A carbon-fiber composite driveshaft is exclusive to the 6-speed. The 9-speed automatic has paddle shifters and advanced launch control feature to help it accelerate off the line quickly and cleanly. A clutch-type rear limited-slip differential is available as well. The VR30DDTT is already a workhorse engine for Nissan / Infinity, being used in the Infinity Q50 executive sports sedan and Q60 luxury GT coupe for a few years, and tuning these engines with basic bolt-on modifications and some tuning has resulted in the 500-550 horsepower range reliably with high octane fuel.
The seventh generation Z retains the front-mid-ship layout for improved weight distribution, but Nissan engineers focused on improving chassis rigidity further to improve both handling and ride comfort. A new electronic power assisted steering, combined with wider front tires increase cornering performance by as much as 13% over its predecessor.
The four shock absorbers utilize a larger monotube design which allowed Nissan to reduce damping force by 20% to improve ride comfort without sacrificing handling while improving bad road compliance. The front double wishbone aluminum components feature a revised geometry with increased castor angle to improve straight-line stability while reducing unsprung weight to aid handling and overall ride comfort.
The latest Z’s interior also features a perfect blend of past with cutting edge future: many small retro touches such as the 12.3 inch TFT LCD instrument cluster display that shows traditional looking analog style gauges, three auxiliary gauges on the middle of the dash top canted towards the driver, like sports and racing cars of yore, plus a healthy 8-inch LCD display that is the heart of the infotainment system of the new Z. Tsugio Matsuda, Nissan’s Factory Works Team Driver for the Japanese Super GT Championship gave valuable insight on designing the new Z’s interior. Of course, the steering wheel is a handsome 3-spoke design with auxiliary controls for the infotainment system and cruise control. It is fair to hypothesize that we will see the new Z in Japan Super GT competition soon.
There will be two basic variants available in both the 6-speed manual and 9-speed automatic: the Sport Variant and the Performance Variant which gets bigger brakes (4-piston front brakes and 2-piston rear brakes) and wider staggered tires plus the aforementioned clutch-type limited-slip differential for serious track work or drifting.
Deliveries start at the end of 2021 for the US market as a 2022 model, the Z’s biggest and single-most important market for the Z, with the rest of the world following suit. Fingers crossed, it gets to the Philippines soon!
A car enthusiast through and through, Botchi Santos believes that different people have different needs. He tries to find the best car for a specific audience, and spruces things up by delving into car culture, helping make the local car community vibrant and enjoyable for all. His passion for motoring is built around a belief that cars are among the top three life purchases.