• The Nissan Z Is Special But Because It’s The Definition of Affordable Performance

There’s nothing else quite like a Nissan Z car, and that’s why it works

Given the chance, I’m willing to bet that 90-percent of the car-loving population would be more than happy to drive a Nissan GT-R or, even better yet, the Nissan GT-R Nismo. Of course, 89-percent of that original 90-percent will never get the chance to get behind the wheel, not because the GT-R is hard to find but because it’s hard to afford. If you were to cruise into a Nissan dealership right now, you’d have to pony up at least $113,540 just for a base model GT-R. If you want to go all out and get the Godzilla of Godzilla’s – the GT-R Nismo – you’ll have to spend nearly double that or $210,740. And, that’s where the Nissan Z comes in.

The Z-Car Serves A Real Purpose

The Nissan Z Is Special But Because It's The Definition of Affordable Performance High Resolution Exterior
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In an attempt to avoid digging up too much history, let’s focus on the Nissan 370Z for a moment. It might not have the GT-R’s 565 horsepower and 468 pound-feet of torque or the GT-R Nismo’s 600 horsepower and 481 pound-feet of torque, but it’s no slouch, either. In standard form, the 370Z puts down a respectable 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Move up to the still-affordable-for-most 370Z Nismo, and you’ll enjoy 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. Motor Trend has thoroughly tested the 370Z and found that the coupe model manages to make the sprint to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds while the Nismo can get there in as fast as 4.7 seconds. All this for a car that starts out at $30,090 and tops out at $45,790 for the range-topping 370Z Nismo. This kind of performance is enough for most people, and at the price, you really can’t go wrong. Oh, and by the way, you can have it with a traditional six-speed manual transmission, something that can’t be said for the GT-R in any form

Sorry Folks - The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo Is Here and It's Pretty Much the Same
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And, Nissan knows this. It’s the sole reason the Z-Car exists to begin with.

In a Q&A session posted on Nissan’s official press sit, Scinichiro Irie – on of the design directors behind the Z-Proto and what will become the 2022 Nissan Z, explained this in depth when asked about why the Z is so loved:

” I feel it’s because the Z, which some in Nissan liken to a dance partner, has always been a sports car that excites the senses while still being familiar and within the reach of many people. This has allowed the Z, regardless of model or generation, to be consistently loved.”

And, believe it or not, the Z car has consistently served as inspiration for the entire brand. “Of course, the Z is an icon to car enthusiasts around the world, but I think that one of its main roles has been to awaken the passion in all of us at Nissan. The passion from within makes the Z a one-of-a-kind entity at Nissan, providing inspiration for all of us,” he explained.

The Nissan Z Is Special But Because It's The Definition of Affordable Performance Exterior
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So, that’s what makes the Nisasn Z so special – the affordable performance and it’s ability to excite just about anyone that gets behind the wheel. It won’t get you to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds like the GT-R, but for less than $50,000 you can have yourself one hell of a sports car. You can bet that the new Nissan Z will follow the same formula and might even improve on it in ways we didn’t expect.

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Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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