On August 17, at a special event in New York, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. launched the all-new Nissan Z sports car for the U.S.-market. Illustrating more than 50 years of passion and dedication to the thrill of driving, the all-new, seventh-generation Z is scheduled to go on sale in spring 2022 at U.S. Nissan dealers.
As a Nissan core model, the Z embodies the company as it goes through its corporate transformation. Nissan credits the Z’s success to its fans. With 1.8 million units of Zs sold, it has become a global top-selling sports car.
The Z is an accessible sports car for the modern age. The Z gives the drivers an attractive style, matched with advanced technology and provides its drivers the thrill of exploring the open roads.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. chief operating officer/chief performance officer Ashwani Gupta stated, “For us at Nissan, the Z is a part of who we are, and represents years of our commitment to customers. Through the Z, we bring the latest sports car design, performance, and excitement to as many people as we can.”
Nissan Z Performance
In 1969, the original Z made its debut with the goal to have as many people as possible experience the joy and excitement of owning a sports car. The Z was a sports car made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, and the spirit and legacy lives on with the latest iteration of the Z.
The bond between the car and the driver has always been one of the defining traits of the Z. There is a physical and visceral connection, and it is a human-machine bond that encompasses the Z. This can especially be seen with the Z’s standard 6-speed manual transmission. It serves as a touch point between the Z and the driver, and with minimal effort, almost instinctively, the 6-speed’s shifter glides to the next gear. The Z will also be available in an advanced, 9-speed automatic transmission.
Z chief product specialist Hiroshi Tamura shared, “Simply put, our goal is to make this the best Z yet, period. With each generation, we raise the bar, pushing the limits of Z and continuing to tap into the human instinct for that next thrilling journey. More than just powerful and agile, the all-new Z is designed to be one with the driver, for the car to be a ‘dance partner’ for their on-road adventures.”
The all-new Z is equipped with a 3.0-liter V-6 twin turbo engine, giving it an additional 68 HP and 30% increase in torque compared to its predecessor, the 370Z. It is designed to have a sharp and smooth response to the driver’s input, setting the latest Z iteration apart from the ones that came before.
The engine can generate 400 HP (405 PS) and 350 lb-ft (475 Nm) of torque at 5,600 rpm.
To adjust to the increase in power, the engineering team ensured that the chassis, suspension, cooling, and steering were properly fine tuned to support the Z and its driver. Behind the wheel of the Z, it feels both familiar, new, and modern.
The 6-speed manual transmission of the rear-wheel drive Z was also equipped with an advanced launch assist control system (Performance grade) and it assists in giving a smooth acceleration from a stopped position. For the automatic transmission models, it has the launch control system. For manual transmission models, it will also come with a Downshift Rev Matching and a carbon-fiber composite drive shaft.
With its wide gear ratios, the new 9-speed automatic transmission model provides direct and quick responses. Drivers can immediately feel the engagement of the Z, keeping the power and performance of the car completely in sync with the driver.
The engineering team used a multi-prong approach to provide a predictable, responsive handling especially for high-speed driving and cornering. To raise cornering performance by 13%, they improved body rigidity, gave it power steering with rack assist and mechanical feel, and they also gave the Z wider front tires.
A monotube shock absorber design with a bigger diameter was used on both the front and rear dampers. This reduced the Z’s dampening force by roughly 20% assisting in minimizing impact shock over uneven surfaces. It also helps improve road following performance and also gives better handling stability. The front double-wishbone aluminum suspension has a new geometry and a new caster angle increasing its straight line stability.
The automatic transmission has two drive modes: standard and sport. For a pleasant and stress-free drive while commuting and on long highway drives, it is best to engage the Standard mode. The performance potential of the Z is unlocked in Sport mode. It gives a sports-mode steering profile, faster acceleration control, active sound enhancement, and a vehicle dynamic control setting that is perfect for a spirited run through a winding road. A mechanical clutch-type limited-slip differential is used on Z Performance grade models.
Nissan Z Exterior
The all-new Z has a sleek exterior with an appearance that gives homage to its predecessors. The long hood and short deck are reminiscent of its past, but with a new gorgeous, sleek design. The exterior and interior of the Z followed a design theme of “tradition with modern technology”.
Nissan’s senior vice president of global design Alfonso Albaisa said, “Our designers listened to thousands of current Z owners, made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success. Ultimately, we decided the Z should travel between the decades, including the future.”
A traditional rear-wheel-drive sports car design can be seen on the Z, with its long hood and lower rear stance. It also has a silhouette that is reminiscent of the first-generation Z. The latest technologies were used to streamline the design and add LED lighting to give dimension without adding unnecessary elements. The half-circle on the LED headlights is a nod to the Japan market-only Fairlady 240ZG, which perfectly matches the Z.
Looking at the new Z from the side, its link to the original is even more obvious. The first-generation Z profile is distinctly seen from the roofline that flows from the nose to the squared-off rear. The rear edge is slightly lower compared to the front fender height, and it gives the Z a truly unique posture.
The shift from the rear quarter glass going to the low-slung position of the rear tail gives the same feel. The rear combination lamps perfectly blend modern technology with the Z32 300ZX style, and they added new 3-D signature LED taillights that are uniquely Z.
The Z Performance have a rear spoiler that produces positive pressure in the area where the spoiler and rear hatch meet, minimizing rear lift. Expertise learned from the Nissan GT-R development was used to develop and design the front spoiler so it will maximize the use of negative pressure zones.
The new Z will be available in three monotone exterior colors, as well as six two-tone finishes. They have also added two new colors: Ikazuchi Yellow and Seiran Blue that comes with a Super Black roof.
Nissan Z Interior
The new Z is designed so that the driver and passenger fit like a glove. The cabin is the perfect blend of vintage Z inspirations with modern touches. They tapped on the designs of the previous generations for the center stack. The instrument panel has three analog pod gauges, in the center is an 8.0-inch touchscreen audio display, and near the shifter are the climate control switches.
The interior design team also tapped on the expertise of professional motorsports legends like the Nissan Super GT500 driver Tsugio Matsuda to advice on the perfect sports car cabin for different driving situations. The influence is seen distinctly on the instrumentation wherein all the important information can immediately be found in the completely new 12.3-inch customizable digital meter display. It is designed to help the drive immediately get all the information at a glance, like the redline shift point at the 12 o’clock position. The 12.3-inch TFT display have three display modes to match driver preference.
The center stack of the new Z has a three-zone approach. They placed three analog pod gauges (boost, turbo speed, and volt) on the instrument panel well within the driver’s line of sight. The manual and automatic shift levers are custom engineered to optimize both comfort and grip.
The Z also has a new, deep spoke steering wheel that provides all the quick access controls without compromising the vintage aesthetic.
The seats are designed with the expertise they gained from the development of the GT-R so it can enhance both fit and hold. The suede on the seatback was enlarged to minimize the initial lateral shake on the body. This helps in providing more comfortable drives, and it also helps in minimizing body movement when aggressively cornering.
The interior has three color environments to choose from: Graphite, Blue, and Red. There is also a limited-edition Proto Spec which will add yellow accents in the cabin, including the stitching on the instrument panel. Layered seat material is used to create gradation effect and depth.
Two models and a limited edition
The United States market will have 2 Z models: the Sport grade and Performance grade. Each will be offered in either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 9-speed automatic transmission.
There will also be a limited edition Nissan Z Proto Spec that will be offered and it will have an exclusive yellow brake calipers that bears the Z logo, bronze-colored aluminum-alloy wheels, yellow interior stitching throughout, and exclusive leather-appointed seats with yellow accents. There will only be 240 units of the Nissan Z Proto Spec.
“For more than 50 years, the Z has been an accessible dream sports car. Its timeless appeal is the result of the ongoing passion and dedication of countless employees, working to deliver the thrill of the Z to past and future generations,” added Gupta.
This winter, Nissan will be announcing the details of the new Z for the Japan market, which is also known as Fairlady Z.
VR30DDTT 3.0 L V-6 Twin Turbo
Engine output (hp)
350 @ 5,600 rpm
6-speed manual /
9-speed automatic with paddle shifters