Nissan 400z – A true modern classic
The dust has settled and the verdict is in, the 400Z, overall it’s rather nice isn’t it? That seems to be the majority opinion, although few among us can argue the front-end looks rather square-ish and the rear-end, well…it does share a resemblance to a rather familiar horse named car by Ford. Either way, petrol heads are delighted at the thought of another classic being brought back to life, along with the Supra, these are well-known cars adored all over, and not just because they appear in Fast and Furious films, but because they scream cool, fast and a built-not-bought aroma.
The design clearly pays homage to the past generation Z cars, and that we love. Nissan should be praised for being brave and really trying to culminate a modern sports car with classic design cues. There is a clear resemblance between the 400Z and the previous Z cars, from the Fairlady badge on the back, to the modern interpretation on the round, embedded headlights, you can clearly tell this car is from the Z family. The rear is in fact where this is arguably the most obvious, gone are the 350/370 taillights and in comes retro styled rectangular headlights, joined together with a black bar with the Nissan logo prime and centre. Critics claim this is similar to the Ford mustang, personally we think it’s more similar to a Dodge Hellcat, although it’s true ancestor is really the 240Z and when you revisit one, you can clearly tell the 400Z rear is a homage to this, other similarities seem more coincidental that purposeful.
The interior is where things really get kicked into the 21st century, incomes a 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster (thats a speedometer with some bells and whistles) accompanied with a touch screen for the infotainment system, hopefully preloaded with Apple CarPlay or Android auto, otherwise a similar phone synchronisation option with a good built-in sat-nav. Although this feels like a refresh to the 370Z more than a total overhaul, it’s nice to see similarities such as the oil pressure gauges remain. The centre console continues to look dated as Nissan have opted to keep the cheaper plastic option than swap it out for a leather/alcantara combination, fanboys will argue Nissan actually built there’s as opposed to Toyota with the Supra, but based on photos alone, overall the interior on the Supra looks a nicer place to be.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
Whats better than one turbo? Two turbos! Okay, okay, we know that isn’t exactly how it works, but that’s exactly what the 400Z is promising! For the first time ever it looks like a Z car will be shipping standing with a twin-turbo 3.0 configuration courtesy of the engine from an Infiniti Q60, expected to be around 400hp that should clearly outperform previous generations, it should also be enough to blow away that Supra driver sitting comfy in their fancy interior, after all, with 400hp under your right foot, you’re probably not going to be sitting in the interior too long anyway. For those focusing purely on the driving experience, they can rest assured that anything detracted by the possible introduction of turbo lag is made up for by Nissans, now unconventional decision, to release the car with a manual gearbox, yes you read that right, the car will ship first with an old school, six speed, manual gearbox.
The manual gearbox is sure to add a couple of milliseconds to the 0-60 time, even those traffic light grand prix champions tend to come unstuck when performing against a DSG transmission, however, out of those that have experienced it, few will argue against knocking off a couple of milliseconds for the feel of a manual gearbox, that sense of being one with the car as you perfectly time that gear change and build up the revs. It’s a feeling that really cant be replicated and why we’re huge fans of the decision.
A NISSAN MASTERSTROKE
By keeping the manual gearbox and classic design, you may be forgiven for wondering what exactly is “new”; especially at the £40,000 price tag. However, and we say this in the politest possible way, you may be missing the point. You see, in a world where technology is combining with the automotive industry to create sustainable transport, where governments are aiming for complete renewable energy by 2050, the internal combustion engine simply ceases to exist, at least for car enthusiasts. That is where the 400Z shines, this may be Nissans final chance to release something prior to introducing an electric drivetrain, the GTR simply wont compete without at least, hybrid capabilities, and nor would it be acceptable for Nissan to release a flagship car and not have the latest technology. The 400Z can, it doesn’t carry the weight of expectation the GTR has, and nor should it, it sits roughly at the level where it’s expected to perform, but not at the expense of affordability or driving experience. That’s why it’s a brilliant decision to release the 400Z with a manual gearstick, with the design cues of past generations, and at a £40,000 entry price. It’s a true homage to Z generations of the past, likely because the next Z car, should Nissan survive, will be a look towards to the future.
BUT THERES A CATCH…
So that’s a six speed, manual transmission, twin turbo, Japanese sports car (we know, when you say it like that, the whole thing becomes obvious) – where do i sign up? Well, thats the kicker, it probably isn’t coming to Europe, for those enthusiasts after one, you’ll need to import it yourself, and whilst that will certainly drive the demand up, it’s not exactly convenient. Baring that in mind, have Nissan done enough to convince you to import one? Does the classic design and manual transmission inspire you? We’re interested to find out, drop a comment below and let us know if you think Nissan made the right call with the 400Z.