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2021 Nissan Z: What We Know So Far

A redesign is finally coming for Nissan's iconic sports car, and it sounds promising.

© Illustration by Radovan Varicak - Car and Driver   A redesign is finally coming for Nissan's iconic sports car, and it sounds promising.

By Joey Capparella, Car and Driver

  • The next-generation Nissan Z sports car is finally on the horizon, and here's what we know about it.
  • It will be the long-awaited replacement for the ancient 370Z, which has been on sale since 2009 with few updates.
  • We expect the new Z to debut sometime this year as a 2021 model.

The wait for a new Nissan Z sports car is almost over. As we approach the arrival of a replacement for the long-in-the-tooth 370Z—finally!—the rumor mill is running at full capacity, giving us some exciting tidbits about the new two-seater's powertrains, platform, and design. Here is what we expect from the new Z.


Twin-Turbo V-6 Power

The most powerful engine currently in Nissan and Infiniti's lineup is the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes up to 400 horsepower in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60. This is the logical choice for the new Z, then, and sources within Nissan dealerships told Autoblog that this powerful mill will indeed be under the hood. A seven-speed automatic is the only transmission choice for this engine in the Infinitis, but we're hoping and praying that a stick shift will be offered as well; remember, Nissan did hint that this was possible by bolting up a six-speed manual to this engine for its modified 370Z concept for the SEMA tuner show this past year.

This engine's displacement calls into question what the new Z will be called. 300Z would be rational (or 300ZX, for nostalgia's sake), but we'd guess that Nissan will instead choose a number corresponding to the car's output rather than its displacement, like 400Z, to clarify its superiority over its predecessors.


Rear-Wheel Drive, as God Intended

A front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout is the only real way to set up a proper sports car, and the Z will continue on with a newer version of Nissan's FM platform and share many components with the Infiniti Q60 coupe. That's from an earlier report from Autocar, which also said that the new car is code-named Z35.

All-wheel drive is within the realm of possibility, given that it's offered as an option on the Q60. But we don't think Nissan will go this route, as none of the Z's intended competitors—the Toyota Supra, Ford Mustang, and Chevy Camaro—offer the option of four driven wheels.


Retro Styling

Although the Nissan Z test mule we spied testing at the Nürburgring last year wore the old car's bodywork, we're pretty certain that the new model will have completely new styling. Autoblog's sources suggested that the original Datsun 240Z would serve as a styling inspiration for the new Z. We hope that means it will present simple, clean lines rather than the angular, tortured look seen on some Nissan concept and production cars lately. Roundish headlights and 300ZX-style taillights will reportedly serve as the key retro touches, as seen on our illustration above.

We doubt that the old-school theme will extend inside, however—and that's a good thing, because the 370Z's cabin is in need of a modern makeover. The cabin should retain its cozy, two-seat atmosphere, but we feel confident that it'll benefit from the latest Nissan infotainment system and a fresh dashboard design.


Hopefully Still Affordable

The current 370Z starts at just $31,015 and remains a decent performance bargain today despite its age. While there's no doubt in our mind that the new model will see a significant price uptick, we're guessing (and hoping) that the new Z will start somewhere in the $40,000 range, which would undercut the Toyota Supra by a few thousand dollars.

All signs point to the new Nissan Z's arrival being imminent. Our suspicion is that it will make its first appearance sometime later in 2020, going on sale in the U.S. as a 2021 model either at the end of this year or early next year. We can't wait to see it for real.

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Autos Magazine: 2021 Nissan Z: What We Know So Far
2021 Nissan Z: What We Know So Far
A redesign is finally coming for Nissan's iconic sports car, and it sounds promising.
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