If the Nissan Z is as good is it sounds, it could be the best Z car that we’ve ever seenby Robert Moore, on LISTEN 09:03
There has been a lot of hype, drama, and rumors surrounding the 2022 Nissan Z with everything ranging from Nissan killing off the Z altogether to how much it will cost and that it could even be offered as an SUV. With so much news and so many rumors over the past couple of years, it’s time we lay it all out on the table. So, this is what you need to know about the Nissan 400Z and what to expect when it debuts on August 17, 2021.
The 2022 Nissan Z Is A Lot More Than A Rebodied 370Z
When word came out that the Nissan Z (or 400Z, as we were calling it then) would ride on the same platform as the current 370Z, the big assumption was that it would just be a rebodied 370Z. Fortunately, for us, that’s not the case. It is a fact that the new 2022 Nissan Z will ride on the same platform as the 370Z, but it has been highly adapted and evolved. And, this isn’t the first time this has happened. The 370Z rides on the same platform that underpinned the 350Z, which was built on Nissan’s FM platform – the same one that was used on the Infiniti G35, and dates all the way back to 2001. When the platform was adapted to the 370Z, it underwent significant changes, including being shorted and widened. As part of that evolution, front torsional rigidity went up 10-percent while rear rigidity was up by 22-percent. This will likely be the same story with the 2022 Z – the platform will evolve significantly. To what end, we’re still not 100-percent sure, but you can bet it will be stronger and the Nissan Z will be sportier and more dynamic on the road than ever before. In the end, the 400Z will be significantly different under the metal, so don’t believe the hype.
The 2022 Nissan Z Will Be Motivated By Infiniti’s Twin-Turbo V-6
For the longest time, we didn’t know if the 2022 Nissan Z would feature an updated version of the Nissan 350Z Nismo’s current engine or something entirely different. There was even word at one point that it could be built in collaboration with Mercedes and the base model could feature Mercedes’ super-powerful inline-four from the AMG A45 S. In early 2021, however, the Nissan Z Proto was shown off at Nissan Crossing in Tokyo, Japan and a single shot with the hood open revealed what looked remarkably similar to the same 3.0-liter V-6 found in the Infiniti Q60. This coincided with rumors that a twin-turbo Infiniti engine would land in the Nissan Z, so it’s not set in stone, but this is most likely the engine we’ll see in August when the Nissan Z makes it’s debut. Base output is expected to be just shy of 400 horsepower while the Nismo model could inch closer to the 475-horsepower range.
The Base Transmission Will Probably Be a Six-Speed Manual
Nissan has yet to confirm if the 2022 Nissan Z will feature a manual transmission or if we’ll be stuck with something like the seven-speed auto found in the Q60. Since the Nissan Z will feature the same 3.0-liter V-6 it makes logical sense that the same automatic transmission will be available in the Z. In the initial teaser video for the Nissan Z proto there was a short clip of what appeared to be the driver’s hand on a manual transmission lever. It wasn’t 100-percent clear, but confirmation came when the Z proto was revealed with a six-speed manual, so it only makes sense the Nissan Z will at least be offered with it. Furthermore, the 370Z has also been sold through its entire lifespan with a manual transmission, so it wouldn’t make sense to kill of the manual now.
Within a Few Years, A Nissan Z Roadster Might Exist
You might not remember it since it’s not as prominent as cars like the Jaguar F-Type Convertible or even the BMW Z4 Roadster, but there was a 370Z Roadster on sale up until just a few years before production of the 370Z was halted. It wasn’t exactly the world’s best seller, but Nissan did move enough to make us think the new Z might eventually be offered as a roadster – at least if there’s any type of demand for it, anyway. As you can seen from the independent rendering above, the Nissan Z proto looks pretty nice without a top, so you definitely won’t hear Nissan say no to a roadster based on appearance. If a Nissan Z Roadster does happen, expect it to come at least a couple of years down the road with the 2024 or 2025 model year being the earliest potential time of arrival.
The 2023 Nissan Z Nismo Could Be A Hybrid
A Nissan Z Nismo isn’t exactly confirmed and will in fact depend almost exclusively on customer demand. At the launch event of the Z Proto, Hiroshi Tamura, the Chief Product Specialist for GT-R and Nismo, explained that the company is open to building a new Z Nismo:
“ This answer is why not … for me, if customers strongly request for the NISMO grade, why not?" he said. “[Right now] I cannot say yes or no, it’s not clear.”
That’s well and good, however, he went even further when discussing the idea of electrification, and later said that if customers want a hybrid then that’s what the company will do: “If customers strong request some kind of hybrid system, we have to do that.” And, such a move would make it relatively easy to improve on the base Z’s 400-pony output, assuming, of course, that Nissan can figure out how to add a small battery and an electric motor into an already tight package. If we had to place a bet, we’d say that there will be Nissan Z Nismo at some point in the fairly near future.
The Nissan Z Won’t Be Sold In Europe
People in Europe hate the Nissan 370Z. Okay, well, that’s a little harsh, and I shouldn’t go that far, but the truth is that the 370Z hasn’t exactly been a popular sports car on that side of the world. In the Nissan 370Z’s best year, Nissan only managed to sell 2,211 examples of the then new sports car. By comparison, The U.S. market account for more than 8,000 examples sold in the same year. In 2019, only 562 Europeans (assuming 1 car per person, of course) purchased a 270Z, and you can bet that 2020 wasn’t any better. For the sake of comparison, Ferrari moved a total of 1,135 Portofinos in 2019, so as you can see, there’s absolutely zero reason for Nissan to put in the effort of establishing the new Nissan Z there. Should there be a huge demand for it, that might change in the future, but I probably wouldn’t count on it. It should also be noted that Nissan claimed “specific regulations mean that the company was unable to build a viable business case.”
$87 Per Horsepower Will Make the 2022 Nissan Z A Serious Bargain
Even if you’re not a fan of the Z’s retro styling, recent reports about its pricing, if true, could sway you to reconsider what you find tasteful. In short, the Nissan Z, in base form, could cost just $87 per horsepower or $34,995 – a far cry from the likes of cars like the GR Supra 2.0, which starts at $42,990 or about $191 per horsepower, and the BMW Z4 sDrive 30i, which commands $47,900 or about $212 per horsepower.
The report of pricing was never confirmed, but was made on the 400Z Club forums, and was reportedly coming from company insiders familiar with Nissan’s plans. The 2020 Nissan Z that is now officially sold out and no longer available to order was selling for an MSRP of $30,090, which will make the new Z just $4,000 more expensive than the model it’s replacing. Not a bad price hike, when you really think about it.
The $5,000 Performance Package Could Make the 2022 Nissan Z Even More Appealing
Along with news of when the 2022 Nissan Z will be revealed in all its glory, Motor 1 also reported that there’s a rumored performance package that will cost a cool $5,000. But, for that cost, you will reportedly get some pretty cool kit like Brembo brakes, thicker sway bars, beefier cooling, and some additional features inside. One would assume that the brake swill be larger, and since the rest of this hints at a track performance package of sorts, the additional features inside could include some track-ready software like lap timers, track GPS, and the like. If this does turn out to be true, then there could be more to the Nissan Z that we realize.