(Las Vegas) After the Frontier and the Pathfinder, Nissan is revisiting another of its successes: the Z.
Nostalgic, but not too much
The Z displays an exciting line without it having to fall into the trap of retromania. This Nissan does not overplay the parentage card, even if it does launch a few discreet glances at history. The charm of the Z acts independently of nostalgic fantasies, and that’s good.
Inaugurated more than 50 years ago, the Z series continues at Nissan with the arrival, in the heat of summer, of the seventh generation. The latter, will sigh the aesthetes, will be – unfairly – qualified as an update. Look at her less. Look at her better. The architecture, it is true, is no longer young, but it has undergone a major rejuvenation treatment.
Its rigidity has been increased, its steering revised with the help of electric assistance and the geometry of the running gear optimized. In addition, the Z accesses the almost complete arsenal of modern driving aids (blind spot sensors, intelligent cruise control) with the exception – thank God – of the lane change alert. Nobody will lament either the maintenance (including with the automatic transmission) of the traditional emergency handbrake.
Just like the first of the line, this Z takes over several proven components from the Japanese brand and its luxury subsidiary Infiniti. Starting with the 3.0L V6 supercharged by two turbochargers from the Q50 and Q60 Red Sport. This mechanism, which produces 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, has enough space to make you forget the naturally aspirated V6 of the previous generation. And even if it drags some 80 kg more, this Z is faster. Picky, we will note the rather unremarkable sound of the exhausts (Nissan is already working on it) or the narrower range of use than it suggests when reading the technical sheet. The thrust of the engine is felt at 3200 rpm, but the switch is reached at 6800…
To make the most of this mechanism and at the risk of discrediting us forever in the eyes of aficionados, the automatic transmission remains the preferred choice. She’s faster, doubles as a launch control (Launch Control) which performs thunderous departures and above all, above all, allows to moderate the consumption and the fumes that accompany it. That said, let’s recognize the manual transmission for its undeniable contribution to driving pleasure, its more precise selector, but still perfectible, and its easy-to-measure clutch.
From track to road
On one of the tracks of the Las Vegas Speedway, the Z shows great skills on the circuit. More than the previous model, but probably less than some of its competitors (see the “Competition” screen). The steering, vaguely artificial, filters the work of the steered wheels too much, the chassis swings indiscriminately in the changes of trajectory, but the tires cling and the self-locking differential (now mechanical) contributes to making the Z fun to drive. On the track, the Z is not the most efficient of its kind, but certainly the one that offers the best show. Predictable, sure, this partner likes to dance in the curves. It’s up to his rider to find the right rhythm.
On public roads, the Z reveals another facet of its character.
Capable of polishing his shoes (read tires) on the first three reports of his manual transmission, this Nissan turns out to be a very pleasant car to drive on a daily basis. The increased rigidity of its chassis made it possible to rework the suspension elements.
These appear much more relaxed when going through holes and bumps, which are no longer the areas of turbulence that they once were. At Nissan, we also know that a modern GT must demonstrate a certain savoir-vivre. Therefore, the Z wants to be easy to handle and can be driven smoothly without being bored for a moment at the wheel.
nest for two
This time, the nods to the heritage of the Z are limited – and that’s not a bad thing – to the three dials perched at the top of the dashboard. The atmosphere is modern, colorful (depending on the version chosen) and rather relaxed, for a two-seater, of course. The storage spaces are thin and few in number while the size of the trunk invites you to travel light.
We applaud wildly the extensibility of the steering column which allows you to concoct a more pleasant driving position. On this subject, we will criticize the lack of support (and softness) of the seats and the impossibility, for the passenger, of modifying the altitude of his.
Glamorous and efficient, the Z highlights a price which, despite appearances, turns out to be quite attractive as long as the consumer is limited to the basic version. The latter is by far the most endearing and purest of the range. For the time being.
Travel and accommodation costs related to this story were paid for by Nissan Canada.
From $46,498 to $65,748
Visible in dealerships
11.2 L/100 km (automatic, measured)
12.5 L/100 km (manual, estimated)
Steering column (finally) telescopic
Improved daily enjoyment
Automatic gearbox, its delicacy and its economy
We love less
Limited motor operating range
Chassis more predictable, but less athletic
Purely summer use
More Grand Touring (GT) than sports pure syrup
- Turbocharged 3.0L DOHC V6
- Power: 400 hp at 6400 rpm
- Torque: 350 lb-ft of torque between 1600 and 5200 rpm
- Weight: 1610 kg (estimated)
- Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 4.2s (automatic)
- Ground clearance: 121mm
- Standard: 6-speed manual
- Optional: 9-speed automatic
- Drive mode: propelled
- 245/45R18 (Sport)
- 255/40R19 – 275/35R19 (Performance)
Tank capacity and recommended gasoline
- Wheelbase: 2550mm
- Length: 4380mm
- Height: 1315mm
- Width: 1845 mm (exterior mirrors excluded)
So much to say and so few words… So lost for lost, why not tell the Z by favoring the first generation, the purest. Launched in 1969, this model, which some enthusiasts will call the “Japanese Corvette”, displayed an unrivaled price-performance-benefits ratio. Its engine, a 2.4L inline six-cylinder (hence the registration number 240 of its debut), fed its 151 hp through two carburetors. And, against all odds, this first version was more famous in rally events than on closed circuits.
Born for competition
Our verdict of the Z (“a GT more than a sports pure syrup”) will undoubtedly be revised in the years to come with the arrival of a Nismo version. Nissan’s sports antenna has already gotten its hands dirty, as evidenced by the snapshot of this competition version which, apart from its exterior panels, has nothing to do with the mass-produced Z. In addition to its tubular chassis, this car is powered by a 650 hp supercharged four-cylinder engine. Called GT500, this model will defend the colors of Nissan this year in the Japanese Super GT championship.
Share your experience
The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Acura Integra, BMW i4, Genesis GV60, Honda HR-V, Subaru WRX, Toyota 86 and Volkswagen Jetta (GLi). If you own one of these vehicles or are waiting for delivery, we would love to hear from you.