There are some iconic sports cars that have stood the test of time and one of them is the Nissan Z.
The all-new 2023 iteration is the seventh-generation model and drops any form of numerical nomenclature with just being called ‘Z’. That is indeed a radical change. But the basic formula is still the same of being a back to basics sports car with a playful demeanour. The original Nissan 240Z established the brand along with being one of the icons in terms of an affordable sports car which looked good yet did not damage your bank balance by a huge margin.
The subsequent models embraced that core philosophy along with being great to look at and being fun to drive. In a world being increasingly dominated by electric cars and crossovers, the launch of a new sports car is indeed a source of much happiness to an enthusiast.
A raucous V6 twin turbo to get you there
The basics haven’t been tinkered with. And the raucous V6 twin turbo engine has only been honed to develop a significant 400 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 350 lb-ft of torque starting from 1,600 to 5,600 rpm. Compared to the previous 370Z, that is an increase of 68 horsepower and a 30 percent increase in torque. The enhanced torque will add a layer of every useability to this car. Along with that it sports a slightly relaxed personality.
That said, just like all the previous versions, this is a car in which you grab it by the scruff of its neck with the rev-happy engine. A further nod towards being faithful to traditional Z ethos is a standard 6-speed stick shift manual transmission. That no doubt will please punters and continue to make it an analogue driving instrument. That said, the new Z for the first time offers a 9-speed automatic transmission as an option too.
Nissan also says that the new Z brings electrically assisted power steering. However that will not corrupt the steering feedback which has been central to the Z experience till now.
Styling cues from the old 300ZX
Design wise, the new model does make the earlier 370Z look a bit dated with a sharper exterior lined with simpler details. It is very much a Nissan Z albeit mixed in with enough styling cues plucked from its family tree, namely the 300ZX. The square lines and compact proportions are all harking back to a bygone era of purpose-built sports cars at a price which one could stomach.
We are also happy to see an interior which retains its driver-focused persona but with better quality materials and more technology. There is a massive touchscreen now plus a Bose audio system along with leather upholstery.
We expect the new Nissan Z to arrive by next spring with pricing along the lines of its predecessors. In the end the new Nissan Z is very much where the old one left off. But with a necessary dose of modernity. It does keep the hope alive for the market of affordable sports cars and maybe also keeping the European sports car fraternity on its toes.
What we like
Nissan hasn’t massively changed the recipe. Instead they are just tweaking what was needed. More power and the availability of a 6-speed manual is certainly great news for sports car fans.
What we don’t like
Underneath it is still the old Z in some areas. Plus you can maybe accuse it of not carrying the design forward.
A brilliant pared-back sports car that enthusiasts and Z loyalists will like. Is it enough for today’s market? That’s another question that only time will answer.
The price in Canada is expected to start at $40,000.
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