As giddy excitement over the Nissan Z evolves to more logical decision making it’s time to consider how new this sports car really is – and if it even matters.
The 2022 Nissan Z coupe is unquestionably one of the most highly anticipated cars for the motoring enthusiast right now and it’s for good reason.
Impressive specs like the circa 300kW power figure, plus modern amenities and a manual option combined with a price tag we think could start from as low as $63,000, make the Z a very attractive proposition.
Nissan was upfront with the fact the upcoming Z sits on the same Front Midship (FM) Platform that debuted in the Nissan Skyline sedan back in 2001 and later underpinned the Nissan 350Z in 2002 and 370Z in 2008.
The suspension on the Z also largely mirrors that of the 370Z with double wishbones at the front and multi-links at the rear. Even the tyre sizes are roughly the same with the front grabbers swelling to 255mm and remaining 275mm in the rear on the range-topping model.
On this evidence alone, a pessimist might say Nissan has dived into the parts bin and emerged with an outdated sports car that could struggle against its modern competition but this doesn’t tell the whole story.
The Nissan Z shares an identical 1,315mm height and 2,550mm wheelbase and as the 370Z but Nismo product specialist Hiroshi Tamura has stated previously the platform has been modified extensively to suit the increased power output, though exact details were not given.
It’s also worth noting that a platform is typically a good indication but not a golden rule of judging how a car will drive – as Chasing Cars discovered when we reviewed the 370Z and the more expensive Q60 coupe from premium brand Infiniti, which both share the same platform.
In our testing, we found Nissan 370Z had solid dynamics that provided great body control and terrific bang-for-buck but in contrast, the Q60 had a brittle ride quality and was devoid of any driver engagement.
While the FM Platform is certainly on the older side, it has seen changes over the years including an increased in rigidity when the 350Z grew into the 370Z and was even evolved into the Premium Midship Platform underpinning the ballistic Nissan GT-R.
Car manufacturers have been known to reuse and improve vehicle platforms where appropriate, such as with the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ twins in their first and second-generation or even the Nissan S-Platform underpinning the Silvia family in the 90s.
While often resulting in vehicles that are more evolution than revolution, this tried and tested method keeps outright development costs down and ultimately makes them cheaper to buy.
The Q60 may not have been spectacular to drive but the VR30DDTT under the bonnet was quite something and thankfully Nissan has dropped this donk into the Z in its ultimate form, producing 298kW of power and 475Nm of torque.
For context, that’s a 45kW and 104Nm boost over the only naturally aspirated 3.7 V6 setup in the 370Z Nismo, and while we don’t know the weight or 0-100km/h figures of the Z just yet, its safe it say it will be quite a bit more brisk.
And while the platform is getting on in years the VR30DDTT engine was first announced in 2016, making it slightly younger than the BMW-sourced B58 turbocharged straight-six engine found in the Toyota Supra.
As turbocharged six-cylinder engines of a similar age the pair are quite comparable with the Supra putting out 285kW/500Nm – though these figures are said to be understated.
This is all to say that the Z has potential along with high expectations. For now, we can only hope Nissan succeeds and builds what could very well be the last great combustion car from the iconic Japanese brand.
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