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New Nissan Z: 400bhp sports car is out of bounds for Britain’s drivers

by James Mills and Nathan Petroelje
18 August 2021 3 min read
New Nissan Z: 400bhp sports car is out of bounds for Britain’s drivers
Photos: Nissan

In the age of sexless, chunky crossovers doing their best to seem athletic and lithe while managing the school run and trips to the supermarket, an honest sports car like the new Nissan Z is cause for celebration.

After much teasing, Nissan unveiled the seventh-generation of the legendary Z car in New York, some 52 years after the Datsun 240Z bowed in the same city.

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Depending on how you like your sports cars, the good news is it is powered by a 3-litre, twin-turbo V6 producing 400 horsepower at 6400 rpm, and 350 lb-ft of torque from 1600–5600 rpm. All that reaches the back wheels via a six-speed manual transmission with a carbon-fibre driveshaft, or a nine-speed automatic with flappy paddles and launch control should you prefer to let technology do its thing.

Now for the bad news. The new Nissan Z is out of bounds for Britain’s car enthusiasts, as it won’t be sold in the UK.

Bummer, right? We hear you. Nissan puts this down to “a shrinking European sports car market and specific regulations on emissions”. That’s not to say you can’t import one, personally, right? Right…?

Even so, there is cause for celebration here. The new car features a host of exciting upgrades while still maintaining a lot of the visual cues that made those early Z cars so special when they hit the road a the end of the Swinging Sixties.

In a departure from previous Z cars, this one does not have numerals affixed to its name, instead opting for a simple “Z” moniker. We dig the classic proportions seen here – long, sweeping hood, with a cabin placed aft of centre. The sloping roofline blends neatly with the rear of the car. (We also applaud Nissan for how much of the concept car made it to the actual production version, regardless of the fact that this is essentially a new skin over an old chassis.) The bonnet, doors, and hatch are all aluminium, to help reduce kerb weight.

There are six two-tone exterior colors: Brilliant Silver, Boulder Gray, Seirian Blue, Ikazuchi Yellow, Passion Red TriCoat, and Everest White Pearl TriCoat, all of which come with a Super Black roof. If two-tone isn’t your thing, you can get the whole car in one of three monotones: Black Diamond Metallic, Gun Metallic, or Rosewood Metallic.

Opt for the Performance version (one of two trims, the other being a more subdued Sport) and you’ll get a front chin spoiler and a rear spoiler. Performance Zs get two other driveline goodies: a clutch-type limited-slip differential and a sport-tuned exhaust to let that VR30 sing.

In the suspension department, there’s a double wishbone setup in the front and a multilink arrangement in the rear, with hollow anti-roll bars front and rear to manage body roll. The Performance trims has its own suspension tuning with a more sporting bias. On the Sport Z, you’ll get 12.6-inch front and 12.1-inch rear brakes with two-piston front and single-piston rear calipers. Opt for the Performance trim and you’ll score 14-inch fronts and 13.8-inch rears, squeezed by four-piston and two-piston calipers, respectively.

Standard Zs get a square setup in the wheel and tyre department, with 18 x 9-inch aluminium alloy wheels wrapped in 245/45 Yokohama sport tyres at each corner. Performance Zs should please the tuner crowd with RAYS super lightweight forged aluminium alloys, measuring 19×9.5 inches in the front and 19 x 10 inches in the rear, wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza high-performance tyres measuring 255/40 and 275/35 respectively.

Inside, Sport Zs are fitted with cloth seats, while the Performance buyers enjoy suede and leather seats with a unique seat cushion and side bolster design. All trims get the sport bucket seats. Apple CarPlay and Android Audio are standard across the lineup, as is Bluetooth and Sirius XM radio. There’s a six-speaker sound system in the Sport, but the Performance model will bump it up to an eight-speaker Bose system with active noise cancellation, along with a 9-inch touchscreen with navigation in place of the standard 8-inch unit. There’s a digital screen behind the steering wheel that displays the speedometer, tachometer, and coolant temp gauge, as well as three sweet readouts mounted over the central infotainment screen for turbo boost, turbine speed, and voltage.

The most ardent of fans can lineup early for their chance at one of just 240 Proto Spec versions, which builds off the Performance trim and adds yellow brake calipers, bronze-coloured aluminium-alloy wheels, an exclusive shift knob for the manual-equipped cars, exclusive seats, special door trim and interior stitching, as well as Proto Spec interior badging.

When the Nissan Z goes on sale in Spring of 2022, in the US, it’s anticipated to have a base price of around $40,000 – just under £30,000.

Performance coupes are not exactly falling from trees, which makes this car’s existence all the more wonderful. Don’t write the epitaph on the combustion sports car grave just yet. Even if, frustratingly, it isn’t destined for UK shores any time soon.

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Comments

  • Vaibhav Sharma says:

    Hi,

    I am a big fan of your YouTube channel and loved this article about the 400z. As a car fan who feels devastated by the SUV rampage, I was wondering if you have any advice on imports of the 400z to the UK and if it is a good idea or not.

    Kind regards,
    Vaibhav

    P.S. You all are an amazing team and I really appreciate the fact you are keeping the car loving spirit alive, would you also have any idea about work experience for engineering students with the hagerty team?

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