In the mid ’90s the Nissan 300ZX was arguably the most loved Japanese sports car in the world. Prior to that, it was an enthusiast’s favorite because of its purist attributes. But the ZX became overweight and expensive, and as a result, sales were very slow. Nissan decided to pull the plug on the ZX, ending its 35-year run. Almost a decade later, Nissan has brought back the much loved ZX, without the faults this time around.
The new Z is a well-balanced mix of the original 240Z, and the subsequent models. The interior layout is simple, sporty and functional, paying tribute to the purists’ sports car it once was. The exterior styling is quite attractive, save for the rear end. The car features an improved version of the V6 in the 300ZX, but here it produces 287 horsepower and 274 pound-foot of torque, quite a lot of power for a mere curb weight of 3,200 pounds. There is nothing special about the new Z, other than the fact that it has a long history and it now has a twin: the Infiniti G35 coupe.
The Z and the G35 coupe are the same car, except that on the Infiniti, Nissan got the rear end right. This is by far the smartest move by Nissan Motors because it instantly gives them access to a larger slice of the sports coupe market. The interior in the G35 coupe comes from the earlier released G35 sedan. While it is plush and luxurious, it is completely different from the Z. The Z comes in five trim levels: base, enthusiast, performance, touring and track. The G35 comes in base, leather and 6MT (manual transmission). Surprisingly, the G35 is supposed to be the luxury version, but there isn’t a great price difference between the twins.
The most expensive Z is $37,600, whereas the most expensive G35 coupe is $37,805, but the Z has the least expensive model available ($27,000 versus $30,000 for the G35). The twins are already a success as they are becoming ubiquitous on the road today. Expect a convertible Z in late 2003.
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