Test: Nissan Z – The best Nissan you can’t buy

Forbidden fruit

Nissan Z

You cannot buy the new Nissan Z in this test in the Netherlands. While Nissan had a minor hit in our country with the 350Z. The successor 370Z could never match that success and the new sports car, simply called ‘Z’, will no longer even come to our country. How bad is that?

If the Nissan Z is not in the Netherlands, how do you drive it?

Because we happened to be in Japan and someone handed us the keys to a Nissan Z to test drive. It is then 7:00 in the morning according to the clock outside the hotel, while my internal clock is still at 23:00 the day before. Because of the jet lag I barely got a handful of hours of sleep and since my Japanese is as good as the coffee lady’s English, my coffee is cold. Not because of the long standing time, but because the coffee comes from the refrigerator and there are ice cubes in it. It’s dirtier than it sounds. In short: all the ingredients for an incredible grave mood are present in abundance. And yet I am elated. Today I get an opportunity that I never thought I would get: I get to drive the Nissan Z. The successor to the 370Z will not come to our continent for emissions-related reasons and that is a real loss for fans of old-school sports cars. . On paper, the Z is everything a sports car enthusiast could want. A 3.0-liter biturbo V6, rear-wheel drive, a relatively limited weight of just under 1,600 kilos for the lightest version and a manual gearbox. Or at least: you can get it with a manual gearbox. Unfortunately, we are only allowed to travel with the automatic version.

Nissan Z

It’s not really beautiful on the inside, but it’s nice and retro.

Is the Nissan Z fun to drive?

Despite the cold coffee, I feel like a six-year-old on December 5 when the retro-looking Nissan Z drives up. I take a seat on the right, after all, we are in Japan, put the machine in D and away we go. It is a feast for everyone who has driven the 350Z or 370Z. The analogue meters on the dashboard, the somewhat high seating position. The buttons for the seat adjustment even seem to be copied one by one from the 350Z. In short: the quality impression of the interior is still not at a level that will worry Porsche. Anyway, this Z only costs about 5.5 million Yen, the equivalent of 34,000 euros. Then you can easily overlook those kinds of shortcomings. Especially because the digital instruments look quite nice.

And because the car sounds even cooler than it looks. Despite the fact that there are two turbos on the V6, it takes a while before they really start blowing. Only at about 3,000 rpm does the engine really feel completely awake, but then the Z sounds and goes crazy. The sound is raspy, you hear the turbos building and decreasing pressure: the engine is a born entertainer. 405 hp and a 0-100 sprint in about 4.5 seconds are no longer crazy values ​​in 2023, but the way the engine gives the Z character is great. Unfortunately, the 9-speed automatic transmission, borrowed from Mercedes, is not the equal of the engine. The shifting itself can sometimes take a very long time and the response to the paddles is quite slow. No, if you ever want to import a Z in a roundabout way: look for a version with a manual gearbox.

Nissan Z

You don’t often see a tachometer for the turbo either.

Are there any further choices to be made for people who can buy a Nissan Z?

Certainly. You can also take a look at a Performance version of the Nissan Z, which with wider tires and slightly stiffer suspension steers a little more like it looks. We drive such a version and even it feels noticeably soft. Not to the point that you can’t get around a bend properly, but the responses to steering input take a while and the Z feels more obese than you would expect based on its appearance. The canopy around the middle position is also too woolly. You really have to struggle through the beginning of the bend. Yet once in the corner the Z bites firmly and thanks to the abundant torque in the midrange, you have various options to influence the balance from that point on. And then the real fun can begin. There isn’t much refinement in the chassis, but you won’t be bored for a second. And on top of that is the knowledge that you are driving something that is pretty much prohibited in our country. Then even cold coffee tastes good.

– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl

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