In the 51 years since it redefined what a sporting GT coupe could be – for one thing, suddenly attainable by mortals – the Nissan Z, as its known for short, has constituted a magical presence across all its generations of existence, even when some of the Z-car entities proved to be boulevardiers rather than purely enthusiast pieces. Put it this way: Forty-some years ago in New Jersey, copies of the 280Z, as it was known then, got sold at Nissan dealerships as quickly as they could be backed off the haulaway truck. With a stellar history in racing and rallying that goes well beyond its basic consumer appeal, the 240Z, and everything that followed it, has always been a big part of what defines Nissan and previously, Datsun. This benchmark sporting car’s newest generation has just been revealed, and we can assure you that it’s about a lot more than just looking right.
The 2023 Nissan Z – for the first time, the model name has no numeric prefix – made its global debut yesterday at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn, New York, a whaddaya-know short distance away from the Brooklyn location where the first 240Z was unveiled in late 1969. The seventh-generation GT coupe shares its basic layout and proportions with its forebears, riding on a 100.4-inch wheelbase. Independent multi-link suspension on a dedicated subframe is at the rear, four-piston front disc brakes will be available, and the Z makes use of electronically controlled rack-and-pinion steering. So all the handling goodies are already aboard. So’s the power, in the form of a standard – across both the Sport and Performance models – 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 with twin camshafts and 400 horsepower. Driveline choices are a six-speed manual transmission with race-bred EXEDY clutch or a new, dedicated nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. A very special Proto Spec edition will be limited, fittingly, to 240 units when the new Z hits the showrooms in the spring.