Meet the new Nissan Z. Same as the old Z.
Well, sort of.
Nissan has made every effort to bring the excitement of the new Z, but it’s no secret that the new car shares some of its bones with the previous generation car.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It’s been a few years since I tested the example of the last Z, but I remember one thing: despite all the shortcomings and shortcomings of this car, it has fulfilled its main mission – fun to drive.
Fortunately, and most importantly, it carries over into this heavily updated version.
Editor’s note: for this review you do not need to disclose a bribe – I was not flown anywhere, not fed someone else’s pennies and not offered a bribe. I just borrowed a new Z for the weekend in the same way I normally borrowed test cars.
Backup for a second – the new Z may share some subcutaneous details with the 370Z, but the style is completely different. Thank goodness for that – the 370Z always looked a little awkward, without the classic Zs lines that were before. This new car nods to its predecessors and also looks modern – a good combination of modernity and retro that is pleasing to the eye. Only the shining grille gives one pause.
You may be wondering how much of the old Z – generation Z34 – is carried over to the Z35. Nissan tells me that 80 percent is new and 20 percent is portable, but a little digging into the reviews of those who actually attended the First Drive event and it shows that the story is a little more nuanced than that.
According to our friends in Jalopnik, windshield, door windows, hatchback glass, roof panel, engine start button, seat heating switches, traction control switch, trunk / sunroof switch and glass switches are some of the portable parts. So are the interior door handles and vents. The geometry of the rear suspension is also the same, although the shock absorbers and bushings are new.
There’s even more magic with parts – the available nine-speed automatic transmission comes from the Frontier pickup, although in this app the body is light and magnesium. And the six-speed manual that my test car was equipped with also comes from the 370Z, although there are some minor changes.
You also no doubt know that the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 under the hood (400 horsepower, 350 pound-feet of torque) comes from the Infiniti Q50 and Infiniti Q60.
As for the platform itself, Nissan representatives tell me it has been reconfigured.
It’s easy to scold Nissan for taking a pre-existing platform, changing its high percentage, leaving 20 percent of the carryover, and then using factory parts to complete the car and name its day. Even if you nod with understanding when you read other reviews and see quotes from Hiroshi Tamura, who drove the new Z through production, talking about how extensive use of the existing platform has helped reduce costs – and thus MSRP.
But here’s the thing – it mostly works. Of course, maybe it’s just the effect of the new metal sheet. Fantastic clothes can cover up the same old structure underneath. But the driving experience is usually pretty good, especially when it comes to ya-ha times that you don’t care.
Nissan has asked reporters who tested the car at home not to track it – no doubt to make sure no one had a bad day and no bent plate, of which I know little – so I stopped at my favorite crooked road with a handful of handsome little a congress from the highway with a clover that allows you to evoke idiocy that causes a smile.
The very noticeable presence of law enforcement * ruined my entertainment on the road a bit, although I managed to try a little before public safety appeared and started wandering. I found that Z rotates sharply and it can rotate even more sharply if you need a correction in the middle of the corner to find the top. It does this with amazing accuracy.
That’s good – bad was a little body skating. Tolerable, of course, but a little weird in a sports coupe. Nissan also advertises in its press release the mechanical feel of the electric power steering, which is sensitive to speed, but to me it still looks relatively artificial, although it is well weighed and, as noted above, accurate.
*Luckily, Johnny Law was just hiding and we didn’t interact. My wallet didn’t lighten and I drove normally, albeit slower.
Nissan is endowed with a Z aluminum suspension with double levers at the front. It has new geometry and two-point front struts of the tower. Rear suspension – independent multi-link aluminum, front and rear stabilizers. The front and rear shock absorbers use a new single-tube shock absorber with a diameter larger than the 370Z.
This suspension – tuned to Performance sports equipment, like my tester – helps to find a good balance between a tough sports car and comfortable for street riding. There were still times when the ride was sharp on a sharp sidewalk, which is too common in the Chicago area, but on the more beautiful surfaces the Z rode quite comfortably.
Nissan has widened the track by 1.5 inches at the front and 1.2 inches at the rear, and the car is nearly 5 inches longer than the 370Z.
The twin-turbo hiding under the hood doesn’t sound particularly pretty, but it’s paired very good kick. Torque is available for travel (or simply because you suddenly had a wild haircut) on almost any gear – I didn’t have to frequently shift to a lower gear when doing detour maneuvers on the freeway.
I even managed to give the rear a good move with a large dose of gas in second gear – however, on dry asphalt. As for the stick itself, the throws are the right length, and the sniper rifle is satisfying, although I occasionally found the wrong gate and reverse, sometimes it took extra effort to engage. The grip is a bit heavy and the load is a bit sharp – I’ve stopped a few times – but it’s easy to get used to. There is a Nissan speed control system that can be turned on or off. Cardan shaft – made of carbon fiber.
Inside Z gets a digital, customizable cluster of instruments with three possible types – Sport, Normal and Enhanced. Steering wheel switches make it easy to set up a cluster and navigate menus. The built-in infotainment system is Nissan’s standard fare, which means it’s not the sexiest design, but it’s fit enough – or at least as far as I could tell, since most of the time I used Apple’s CarPlay wireless.
There’s a volume knob, cheers, and a tuning knob. There is no tactile BS. The HVAC controls are also remarkably old.
Nissan has done a good job here, but there are drawbacks. There are some problems with the finish and finish, although my tester has been prepared, which means that the build quality does not necessarily meet the production standards. Some interior materials feel lower, although others are an upgrade over the 370Z. Road noise is sometimes a little annoying. In addition, there are limitations inherent in this type of car – the center console is tiny, and the internal storage space is limited, although there is useful space directly behind the seats in front of the sunroof.
The design of the car also makes it difficult to see from behind – large blind spots are a problem when changing lanes, as well as during hard maneuvering in the parking lot.
Prices start at $ 39,990, with the Performance trim costing $ 49,990 and the Proto Spec Special Edition trim costing $ 52,990. The destination adds $ 1,025, and these MSRPs are the same for any transfer.
The base cars have 18-inch wheels, automatic climate control, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB (one A, one C), smart cruise control, and keyless access and launch.
Complete with performance features such as my test car, there is heated seats, mechanical differential with limited slip, upgraded brakes, red painted brake calipers, 19-inch wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires, electric seats, pedals and audio bo bo.
Proto Spec cars are only available if you first select the Performance finish and get calipers painted in yellow, bronze RAYS wheels, a special shift lever shift knob and unique attachments.
Advanced driver assistance systems include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, rear-facing cross-country warning and intelligent front-end collision warning.
Fuel economy is not yet indicated. According to the on-board computer, I saw seriously bleak numbers, but the computer seemed to be rapidly changing average miles per gallon and range numbers, especially when parked and idling. Also, my weekend consisted of a rather unusual combination of city stops and trips, suburban driving, freeway cruises and aggressive testing, so I can’t use my experience as a representative sample.
The obvious goal for this car is Toyota and its Supra. The performance and style of the Supra I like, though I don’t care too much about the BMW interior. And, of course, so far few of us have traveled on the upcoming Supra shift. I’ve found that the Z is usually more comfortable to live in than the Toyota in everyday driving – the ride isn’t as harsh and there’s no nasty wind. I also found entry and exit easier for my tall physique.
I don’t know if there is a Z better than Supra. First, I didn’t track Z. But it was much easier for me to live with fewer compromises.
No matter how it compares to Toyota, the essence of the Z has always been, at least for me, to be interesting in driving, a two-seater sports coupe that is relatively affordable and balances street and sport.
If it’s a formula, Nissan got it mostly right this time. At least the brand didn’t spoil it. Sometimes the 370Z didn’t feel fully formed, and sometimes because of that he was distrustful, even though he was a pleasant partner for dancing on the back roads. It feels much fuller and well rounded.
This new Z borrows from the old, so it’s more of an evolution than a revolution. But it is such a step in the right direction that there is nothing to complain about.
Without a doubt, a blank Z letter will excite. And if right, it could be a huge leap forward. However, teaching this old dog some new tricks has worked wonders.
[Images © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]
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