TOKYO — This might be the age of the electric, but Nissan just redesigned its iconic Z car with a boost of gasoline-powered horsepower.
With a high-output 3.0-liter V6 powerplant, the new Z is a 400-hp, twin-turbo, retro-styled piece of eye candy, gaining 68 hp and a 30 percent increase in torque. It is also quicker off the line, eking a 15 percent improvement in the car’s 0 to 60 mph time.
It’s the first time the Z has packed 400 or more hp.
Retro-styled on the outside, high-tech on the inside, the redesign is partly homage to the car’s origins and partly a signal for Nissan’s new direction.
With its global sales focused mainly on the U.S. and Japan, the Z is expected to be more of a brand builder than volume player.
Indeed, the Z is a key element in CEO Makoto Uchida’s “Nissan A to Z” product blitz, which aims to rejuvenate an aging lineup with a steady stream of new offerings. The “A” stands for the new Ariya electric crossover, and the “Z” is for the new sports coupe. Other important redesigns include the Rogue and Pathfinder crossovers, Frontier midsize pickup and Sentra compact sedan.
Nissan also is dumping the sports car’s numeric nomenclature.
When the long-awaited redesign — its first since 2009 — lands in U.S. lots next spring, it will be rechristened simply as the “Z.” That squashes speculation that the update might succeed the current 370Z as the 400Z, in a nod to its pumped-up horsepower and performance.