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2021 Nissan 400Z: First Thoughts

Advancing an ancient legend isn’t easy. The Z series for Nissan has been a staple of Japanese performance from decades, with its’ humble beginnings in 1969 when Nissan came out with the Fairlady Z in Japan, and introduced the 240Z in the States shortly after. The Z lineup has been a fan favorite, commonly attributed to the Z’s relative ease-of-tuning, their lightweight frame, and their stellar looks. Fast forward seven generations later and nothing has changed in that department, as there is still plenty of demand for the upcoming Z.

Farewell Old Friend

The outgoing Z had to be replaced. Change my mind. After nearly 11 years on the block, with minor upgrades each time, a NISMO edition, and a lack of modern technology, the 370Z is outdated. Debuting in 2009, and replacing the 350Z, the 370Z is, by today’s standard, an antique. Wait 10 more years and all of a sudden, you can slap an antique license plate on it from the DMV and get some major insurance discounts. Nissan knew this car was treading water, slashing the ever-so popular convertible from the 2020 lineup, leaving only the fixed, hardtop roof for enthusiasts. The 336-horsepower V6 provides adequate power for the frame and body the 370 possesses but is nothing to write home about. It will be a sad farewell, as the 370Z was an icon of tuner culture and gearheads alike, but the writing was on the wall.


First Day Out

The new 400Z however, is a complete shift towards the future, yet still anchors its roots in time paying homage to various Z’s across the previous timeline. The dimensions themselves hang themselves close to the 370Z, the styling is a mixed bags, a 50/50 split of classic and modern. The body lines and contours are directly driven from the old Datsuns and 240Zs, while a modern element is brought in to bring Nissan to the forefront of its class. Nissan has outfitted the 400Z with a brand-new infotainment system, unlike the AOL dialup you got in the outgoing Z. The gauge cluster has also gone full digital giving Mercedes-Benz and other high end brands a run for their money.

Big Brother

The 400Z intends to share some of its components with the Infiniti Q50 and the Q60, which in no way is a bad thing. The 400Z will get itself a huge boost from the previous model with a solid 392-horsepower twin turbo V6. The rumors have it though, that it may render itself in the range of 400 horses, meaning Nissan would slap the Q50/Q60 Red Sport motor in there, which changes the game significantly. The 400Z will come in an automatic and a manual, with a driver oriented focus as all other Z’s. The utilization of a twin turbo in addition to the old, solid chassis, which the 370Z already had, makes for a potent combination of speed and handling, which could be a blockbuster hit for Nissan.


The Everlasting Question

Is it worth it? We don’t know. The 400Z is intended to come out as a 2022 model year product, and rumors are swirling it’ll stick to around the $40,000 price range. This puts it in a solid position to be a good value if the verdict stands, however, it must be noted that all of this is speculation. Is a beefier engine, updated styling, and interior touches enough to put the old man back on top?

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