Nissan’s much-anticipated new Z sportscar has now arrived in Australia. Note that it’s
simply called the Z, thus breaking from the long tradition of previous models, from the
1970 240Z onwards through the 260Z, 300ZX, 350Z to the 370Z which the new Z

The Nissan Z is a two-seat pure-bred sports machine from the Japanese company that’s
famed for its high-performance machines. Indeed, it’s well known for building a huge
variety of cars, SUVs and other machines and is one of the world’s largest vehicle

But back to the Nissan Z. It has a lot going for it – excellent styling a, large turbo-petrol V6
engine and the solid build quality that means it’s likely to run for many years with no

The Nissan Z was recognised as a Good Design Award Winner in the Product Design
Category in recognition of outstanding design and innovation.

We certainly agree with that award. The car looks great from any angle with its very long
nose, an aggressive rectangular grille and bold headlights. The roof slopes down all the
way from the top of the windscreen to the tail, where a tiny lip spoiler completes the

There are seats for only two as this is a pure sportscar. The luggage space is easy to load
thanks not only to the size of the opening but also because the tailgate opens high.

However, the luggage area is shallow, but of course this is a sports machine not a family
hatch of SUV so there’s probably enough. As it’s a two-seater it’s only going to be carrying
a couple of people and their luggage so there’s enough room for a holiday trip away.

The Nissan Z is powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, replacing the naturally-aspirated
engine in the outgoing 370Z. It has variable valve timing and small-diameter turbochargers
regulated for maximum spooling speed and to balance power output and throttle-response

Maximum power output is 298 kW at 6400 rpm with torque of 475 Nm from 1600 revs.

Nissan Z’s six-speed close-ratio manual gearbox is paired with a high-performance clutch
supplied by Japanese motor racing specialist Exedy. It drives to the rear wheels via a
carbon-fibre composite driveshaft. It has what Nissan calls Downshift Rev Matching.

The Nissan Z is also offered with a nine-speed automatic transmission as a no-cost option.
We plan to be testing one shortly and will do a road test review to provide our thoughts on

The Nissan Z hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP or Australasian NCAP at this time.

It has six airbags, radar cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian
detection, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and
rear cross-traffic alert.

Rear camera plus front and rear parking sensors are handy in a car which isn’t easy to see
out of.

The latest Z has an 8.0-inch infotainment screen, relatively small for contemporary

There is no built-in satellite navigation, not a serious omission given the quality of
smartphone-based systems available through either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay both
of which are wired.

The quality of the sound from the eight-speaker Bose system is pretty good, though for
obvious reasons it tends to be hard to hear at times over the sound of the engine and, to a
less extent, the sound of the tyres on the road.

There’s a high-resolution 12.3-inch information screen that can be customised to suit
driver preferences.

There are USB-A and USB-C ports at the bottom of the front console along with 12V
sockets both there as well as in the centre console.

The hot Nissan Z car offers three driving modes – Standard, Enhanced and Sport. We
tried all of them at various stages and in different areas of our week’s road testing.

Standard is fine for day-to-day use. Enhanced gives it some more grunt. Sport is on the
harsh side, fair enough as this is a sports machine.

The Z’s braking features a virtually track-ready setup. There are four-piston 355mm front
and two-piston, 350mm rear. They work very well and never showed the slightest sign of
fading during our road-testing regime – which obviously didn’t come as a surprise as this is
a very serious machine.

It’s a sheer delight to drive in many ways. There’s virtually no free-play in the steering. It
responds instantly to steering wheel movements and sends good feedback as to what the
front of the car is doing.

Noise levels are high on some road surfaces, particularly on recently laid bitumen that
hasn’t smoothed down yet. There’s quite a bit of bump-thump on concrete surfaces.
However, there’s an active noise cancellation that trims the sounds to acceptable levels.

Downshift rev matching is brilliant as the Z lets you have it in the correct gear for all
occasions in very fast changes without the having to match the revs correctly. “Okay I hear
you ask, I enjoy driving cars and getting the very best of them without the car doing it for

I completely understand that, it would be interesting to try the new Z on track days and see
if you can beat drivers you know from other track days and compare times with them using
the various vehicle settings.

Fuel consumption during our test period averaged 10.5 litres per hundred kilometres,
which was pretty close to the 9.8 litres per hundred quoted by Nissan.

Nissan Z is an interesting two-seat sports machine that can be used as a daily driver and
taken out to track days if you want to get push it to the max.

It would certainly be on my list of cars to buy, but only if I could afford a second car or SUV
for day-to-day driving.


Looks: 9/10
Performance: 9/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 6/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 8/10

Z Coupe: $73,300 (manual or automatic)
Z Coupe Proto: $80,700 (manual or automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Nissan Z 3.0-litre twin-turbo two-door coupe)

Capacity: 2.997 litres
Configuration: V6
Maximum Power: 298 kW @ 6400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 475 Nm at 1600 rpm
Fuel Type: Premium unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 227 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic

Length: 4380mm
Wheelbase: 2550mm
Width: 1845mm
Height: 1315mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1633 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 62 litres

Front: Ventilated Disc
Rear: Ventilated Disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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