The cheapest way to get into the 400-hp club is the Nissan Altima, but it is also one of the best. The Nissan Z might have outsmarted us all if the model years had been taken off.

Las Vegas is arguably the best city in America for car enthusiasts and we recently had the chance to drive the new Z on a track and out on the open road. One of Nissan's sports cars can sometimes fly under the radar. With more than 300 sunny days a year and hundreds of miles of winding pavement just miles away from the city limits, maybe we should all head to Sin City.

We discovered five things about the new Z.

1. It’s definitely not ‘all-new,’ but that’s OK

Nissan Trucked its amazing collection of ultra-low-mileage classic Z cars to its Las Vegas launch. The 2003 350Z may not have been the high point in the model's history, but continuous evolution has refined it into quite the car.

I was struck by the similarity of the 20-year-old 350Z to the new car that Nissan had on display.

It's the same length. It isn't all that different. It's ergonomics are very similar inside. The current Z has a touch screen, but its seats feel the same as the 2003 edition. The steering wheel that tilts and telescopes makes the new model feel new.


The Z was the subject of deep research by Nissan designers. Its headlights look like the chrome outline on the original one. Several of its predecessors have the same long hood and sloping roofline.

It pays homage to the 300ZX of the 1990s. The 300ZX was released 33 years ago. It is now vintage.


Nissan runs most of its global products through its proving grounds south of Phoenix, Arizona. Normally, a model such as the Z would visit Phoenix in various prototype stages for testing to make sure it met the automaker's benchmarks.

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Nissan was unable to move prototypes between Japan and Arizona due to the coronaviruses. Engineers were stuck at their bases. Those in charge of steering inputs need to actually drive the car in order for engineering a car from afar to work.

The Arizona engineering team was tasked with developing a halo car.


The base Nissan Z Sport costs over forty grand, so a hundred bucks per horsepower seems like a good deal.

Only that could be the one to purchase. The Z Performance costs more, but it brings essential features to the table for anyone looking to unlock this sports car's track-and-curvy-road abilities When going through a tight corner, a mechanical limited slip rear differential is important. The uprated brakes inspire more confidence when using the power.

19-inch wheels, leather seats, and a few other small bits are added to the Performance. Some of the niceties we expect at this price point include an 8.0-inch screen, adaptive cruise control, and a few other things.

Maybe the big brakes and limited-slip diff will be stand-alone options in the future.

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5. No-lift shift is a hoot

Imagine keeping your right foot on the skinny pedal while you execute upshifts. Nissan Z models with manual transmissions are the first to feature the trick no-lift shift tech.

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It works well with the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and isn't something a typical driver will use often.

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