Nissan has finally unveiled the new, seventh-generation version – the Nissan Z – of its venerable Z cars. We go back in time and take a look at the generations of Z…

1969 – Nissan Fairlady Z (Datsun 240Z) (S30)

Nissan 240Z

Sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z and in other markets as the Datsun 240Z, the S30 generation of the Japanese firm’s Z cars was the first to don the venerable “Z” moniker. The Fairlady Z’s 2,0-litre inline-six engine was linked to five-speed manual gearbox, which directed 112 kW exclusively to the rear wheels. As its badge would suggest, 240Z models were endowed with a 2,4-litre engine, which was coupled to a four-speed manual transmission.

1978 – Nissan Fairlady 280Z (Datsun 280ZX) (S130)


Retaining Nissan’s L28 inline-six motor, the second-generation Z coupé was available in two- and four-seater guises. The S130-series Z’s bodywork was designed with aerodynamics in mind, allowing for a drag coefficient of 0,385 and a lift coefficient of 0,14.

1984 – Nissan 300ZX (Z31)

300ZX Z

Designed by Kazumasu Takagi, the 300ZX was the first Z car to feature a V6 engine. Said Nissan, “The new V6 engine was intended to uphold the sporty, six-cylinder spirit of the original Fairlady Z, but in a more compact and efficient package.” The only Z31-generation Z to come with an inline-six motor was the Japan market-only 200ZR, the last Z car to feature a factory installed inline-six. The 300ZX boasted a drag coefficient of 0,30

1990 – Nissan 300ZX (Z32)

300ZX Z

The Z32-generation Z was powered by the Japanese manufacturer’s VG30-badged 3,0-litre V6. Now with DOHC and variable valve timing, the normally aspirated version produced 166 kW and 268 N.m, available from 6 400 r/min and 4 800 r/min respectively. The twin-turbocharged model, meanwhile, was endowed with 224 kW and 384 N.m.

2003 – Nissan 350Z (Z33)

350Z Z

The fifth-generation Z boasted a 3,5-litre V6 engine. In 2004, a roadster variant followed and, in 2005, the Japanese manufacturer introduced the 35th Anniversary edition. Equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the latter model boasted 223 kW and 352 N.m for a claimed zero to 100 km/h acceleration time of 5,3 seconds and electronically governed top speed of 251 km/h.

2008 – Nissan 370Z (Z34)

Nissan 370Z Z

The 370Z was powered by a 3,7-litre engine, producing 243 kW and 366 N.m. The V6 was capable of revving up to 7 000 r/min. Underpinned by the second-generation FM platform, the sixth Z sported a wheelbase nearly 100 mm shorter than its Z33 forebear. Said Pierre Loing, vice president for product planning at Nissan Europe, “The Nissan 370Z builds on the best features of both the first and last generations Z cars – respectful but not retro, simple yet sophisticated, and unmistakeably Z.”

2021 – Nissan Z

Nissan Z

Scheduled to go on sale come 2022, the all-new Z pays tribute to Z cars of the past. The seventh-generation model sports a 3,0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which directs 298 kW and 475 N.m to the rear axle through a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission. A first for a rear-wheel-drive Nissan, the new Z’s manual gearbox includes an advanced launch control system for smooth acceleration.