2020’s Nissan Z Proto concept has morphed into a production car and barely changed in the process. Simply called ‘Z’, it’s gained regulation side reflectors on the rear bumper, some more prominent door handles and a rear spoiler. Other than that, it’s the same handsome two-door coupe we first saw nearly a year ago.
We’d been expecting this thanks to photos and patent images leaked earlier this year. The powertrain isn’t a surprise either - Nissan has indeed stuffed a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 behind that sizeable rectangular front grill, just as we thought it would.
It develops 395bhp and 6,400rpm, a handy increase of 67bhp over the old 370Z. Peak torque of 350lb ft meanwhile is felt from 1,600 to 5,600rpm. Nissan hasn’t offered any performance stats just yet, merely noting a 15 per cent reduction in its 0-60mph time, which should yield a figure comfortably under five seconds.
Power goes to the rear via a six-speed manual gearbox, a carbon fibre prop shaft, and if you’ve gone for the Performance grade trim, a mechanical limited-slip differential. The manual has a launch control function and rev-matching, the latter being easily switchable via a button by the shifter. If preferred, you can go for the optional nine-speed automatic, complete with paddle shifters inspired by the set found in the R35 GT-R.
The structure of the Z is largely carried over from the 370Z, which is understandable given the current state of the sports car market - investing in something all-new doesn’t make a lot of fiscal sense. The shell is stiffer than before, though, and combined with fatter front tyres, the Z can pull 13 per cent more lateral G than its predecessor.
Other handling improvements include larger diameter monotube dampers, tweaked geometry for the front double wishbone suspension with more caster angle, and a rejigged setup for the multi-link rear.
It was arguably the cabin that dated the 370Z more than any other aspect, thanks in large part to it evolving modestly from the 350Z’s. Happily, that’s all gone in the bin, with a much more modern interior in its place. Angled at the driver, the central stack marries old with new, with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system sitting below a trio of analogue gauges.
Behind the wheel is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with three display modes, which you can enjoy while sitting in a comfy bucket seat that’s taken ergonomic lessons from the GT-R. You can have the latter finished in black, red or blue.
At the car’s reveal, a starting price of around $40,000 was touted for when it goes on sale in spring 2022. For that, you’re getting a ‘Sport’ trimmed car on 18-inch wheels with two-piston front brakes and single-piston rear.
Go for Performance grade and you get various improvements including four-piston front/two-piston rear brakes with bigger discs, electrically adjustable seats, a rear spoiler and that aforementioned LSD.
Sadly, the Nissan Z won’t be coming to the UK in any form.