The New Nissan Z Is Plenty Of Retro-inspired Fun - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The New Nissan Z Is Plenty Of Retro-inspired Fun

IT’S WEIRD to long for something that might have killed you, isn’t it? It would be like pining for the return of smallpox, or talking up the good ol’ days of lead paint and asbestos. But performance cars are exactly that kind of weird, in that the more homicidal they felt, the more fun they […]

IT’S WEIRD to long for something that might have killed you, isn’t it? It would be like pining for the return of smallpox, or talking up the good ol’ days of lead paint and asbestos. But performance cars are exactly that kind of weird, in that the more homicidal they felt, the more fun they were. You don’t actually want to crash, of course. It’s too much paperwork for a start. But feeling as though you might, and like it’s only your hairy-chested heroics keeping you from disaster, was pretty damn thrilling.

There were some very crashy downsides, of course. In the days before traction control, supercars would fly off the road so spectacularly it was as though Michael Bay was directing them. As vehicles’ brains got smarter, the drive experience got safer, but also a little more watered-down.

But not this new Nissan Z. It doesn’t just look a bit like Nissan’s iconic performance cars of old; it drives a bit like them, too. And I mean that in a very good way.

NISSAN Z

The seventh-generation car in Nissan’s Z range since the late 1960s is a worthy entrant into one of the world’s most iconic automotive bloodlines, if only for the way it accelerates, particularly with launch control engaged. This one gets the most powerful engine ever fitted to a Z – a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 that fires 298kW and 475Nm to the rear tyres via an equally old-school six-speed manual gearbox. While there’s also an automatic (a nine-speed paddleshift- equipped gearbox), alcohol-free beer is also an option, and Nissan reckons the majority of early adopters have correctly chosen the manual path.

That’s a lot of power for those tyres to wrestle, and, when you really flatten your foot, you can feel them abandoning ship entirely, with the rear of the Nissan Z stepping just far enough sideways to get some panic flooding your system, before the traction systems step in and pull you back into line.

The same thing happens if you get too friendly with the accelerator on the way out of a fast, tight bend. It’s a throwback to performance cars of old, only with the added benefit of not ending up upside down and on fire, and it’s awesome.

Speaking of that manual gearbox, it pairs with a proper Exedy performance clutch, and while it can be a heavy and agricultural in the way it selects a gear — sometimes feeling like it’s arguing with you over what to do — it only adds to the feeling that the Z is a car that needs to be driven, rather than simply sat in.

NISSAN Z

Inside the cabin, the old school meets plenty of new-school tech, with a huge 12.3-inch display in the driver’s binnacle (that includes all sorts of performance screens, including a race-inspired tachometer and shift light) and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

It is, though, very much a $73,300 weekend toy. We’re talking two seats only, and a boot that hasn’t been designed to A+ GARAGE carry much of anything. If you’re looking for a family friendly vehicle, the Z ain’t it.

It’s surprisingly comfortable on longer journeys, though, and that nine-speed automatic will be your friend if you spend plenty of time in stop-start traffic. It’s a smooth-working gearbox, and though it’s not quite as much fun as the manual, it feels

much, much easier to live with. Both variants get launch control, too, so you won’t miss out on the thrills. In short, the Z is plenty of retro-inspired fun – and since when did a little excitement hurt anyone? Actually, don’t answer that.

Fien out more here.

Words: Andrew Chesterton

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