The first Nissan Z that had no numbers in its name came out in 1969 while those that came out with numbers, it represented the engine size: 240Z and 260Z, to 280Z, and 300ZX.
Now it’s been more than 10 years in the making and sometimes what they say about good things taking time is true, and that is especially true with the latest Nissan Z Coup.
The new Z is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 (298kW/475Nm) and is the most powerful Nissan Z to date. This powerful engine can be matched to either a nine-speed automatic transmission or a real six-speed manual.
The new look Z is a mix between a number of Zeds from history and those who know the make will see that throughout the body style.
It is sleek, long, flat, and stumpy all in one, looks great and really follows the previous designs of the model from the past.
The interior is nice and well laid out. There is a not a lot of tech in the Zed but there is more than enough to make it user friendly and enjoyable.
There is Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and digital radio (as well as AM/FM bands for coverage in remote areas), though it lacks embedded navigation.
The eight-speaker Bose premium audio is awesome, aided by the subwoofer under the boot floor (instead of a spare tyre, and alongside a tyre inflator kit).
The infotainment controls are relatively straightforward, and Nissan has retained dials for volume and tuning (in addition to the touchscreen, and steering wheel controls), which are safer and easier to use quickly when on the move.
The rear facing camera is bad and a lot more was expected for something of this price. At night, it’s fuzzy and it may as well not be on.
The Nissan Z will leave you pleasantly surprised at how generously cut the cabin is. Even for taller drivers, the seat is mounted reasonably low, with manual lifters for the thigh and lumbar supports and electric controls – strangely mounted on the inboard side of the seat – for slide and tilt.
Space is good with two cup holders rather than the 370Z’s one, but the rear luggage bay is shallow and will not fit a lot at all, so don’t expect to take your golf clubs with you.
Fuel consumption on the test is high, despite insisting on 98-octane premium unleaded, which burns more efficiently than lower-octane fuels.
The rating label figures show an average consumption of 10.8L/100km for the manual and 9.8L/100km for the auto.
On test, cruising at freeway speeds – the most economical type of driving – consumption figures dipped to between 7.8 and 10.7L/100km. Driven enthusiastically, or in the bump and grind of daily traffic, consumption climbs and as much as that is expected, it is rather heavy in usage.
Seven years ago, there was no plan to build another Zed given the shrinking sports car market and the ever increasingly world dominated by SUVs. But chief engineer Hiroshi Tamura – who was also in charge of the Nissan GT-R – embarked on a rescue mission.
It is a fun car to drive when having a spirited sprint up the mountain and being rear wheel drive, turbo, and plenty of horsepower, it brings back memories of yesteryear.
Even with the stability and traction-control systems activated, flooring the throttle will deliver hints of wheel spin and a bit of wriggle as the huge rear tyres struggle for grip.
Inexperienced drivers would be well advised to not disable the traction aids, as you’ll need all the help you can get.
While it doesn’t feel as stable as the Toyota Supra, it certainly doesn’t let you down. When driving a bit harder than others, the Zed does tend to want to move around in the rear.
While for most the demand would be to go for the six-speed manual, it’s not as quick in a straight line as the nine-speed auto. The manual – carryover part except for a few internal bearing changes – is coarse, notchy, and noisy. So, the automatic is a better choice if you can live without that extra pedal.
The steering is light and precise and even under pressure there is little to no understeer. And the brake pedal has a reassuring feel (355mm discs and four-piston callipers up front, and 350mm discs and two-piston callipers at the rear).
Comfort over bumps was surprisingly good given the wide low-profile tyres (255/40R19 front, 275/35R19 rear). However, there was plenty of road roar at suburban and freeway speeds. This is the trade-off for high levels of grip.
The new Nissan Z Coupe really lacks a sporty and exciting exhaust note which would really change the dynamic of the car.
For a sports car with a turbocharged rear-drive setup the Zed will delight the senses among hardcore enthusiasts.
Price – $73,300 MSRP