The all-new Nissan Z breaks cover with a 400hp twin-turbo V6

As promised, it’ll come available with a manual gearbox
by Leandre Grecia | Aug 18, 2021
PHOTO: Nissan
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This is it: Nearly a year since we first laid eyes on the Nissan Z Proto, we finally get to see the all-new performance car in its final form. Feast your eyes on the seventh-generation Nissan Z.

There will be three grades available: Sport, Performance, and the limited-edition Proto Spec. All three come with a new 3.0-liter VR30DDTT twin-turbo V6 that generates 400hp and 474Nm of torque. This is mated to either a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic transmission. But let’s take a look at the mechanical bits later—let’s talk aesthetics first.

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Nissan only made some slight changes to the exterior design. There are new taillights on either side of the rear, and the Fairlady Z badge on this end has been removed. A new Z emblem was fitted out back instead, but we reckon this badge will only apply to markets outside of Japan.

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The Proto Spec gets a few exclusive touches, including the yellow brake calipers with the Z logo and the bronze aluminum-alloy wheels. But overall, this Z still has the same look as the car we saw a year ago.

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Moving onto the inside, you’ll see a bit more tweaks. The cabin can be had with a Graphite, Red, or Blue finish. The Proto Spec features more trim-exclusive elements here, specifically the yellow accents around the cabin and additional stitching on the instrument panel.

There’s also a new 12.3-inch customizable instrument panel offering three different display modes, as well as a new 8-inch infotainment system. The steering wheel and the manual and automatic shift levers are both new, but the design of the dash and center console take inspiration from previous Z models.

Both the exterior and interior of this Z were created with a “tradition with modern technology” design theme. “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,” said Nissan global design senior vice president Alfonso Albaisa. “Ultimately, we decided the Z should travel between the decades, including the future.”

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Back to the mechanical part. Apart from the engine’s significant power boost, the Z’s new gearboxes promise enhanced performance, too. The six-speed manual features an advanced launch assist control system that helps deliver smooth acceleration from a standstill—a first for a rear-wheel-drive Nissan. The transmission also features a carbon-fiber composite driveshaft and downshift rev-matching.

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The nine-speed automatic, meanwhile, gets a launch control system. Nissan claims the gearbox’s wide gear ratio delivers direct and quick response. Standard and Sport drive modes are also available with the AT.

The new Z’s cornering performance is also up by 13%. This is possible through enhanced body rigidity, electronic power steering with rack assist, and wider front tires. The front and rear dampers also sport new monotube shock absorbers with larger diameters that further minimize impact shock over road imperfections and improve handling.

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The new Z’s front double-wishbone aluminum suspension features new geometry that aids in straight-line stability. Performance-grade models, meanwhile, are equipped with a clutch-type limited-slip differential.

“For more than 50 years, the Z has been an accessible dream sports car,” said Nissan Motor Company chief operation officer/chief performance officer Ashwani Gupta. “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.”

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Nissan says only 240 units of the Z Proto Spec will be built, and that details for the Japan launch will come later this year. We’re not betting on it to arrive here in our market anytime soon, but we wouldn’t mind being proven wrong. What’s your take on the all-new Z?

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PHOTO: Nissan
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