Sports cars are having a moment—witness the revived Toyota Supra and the splashy mid-engined Corvette that both debuted last year—so it’s perfect timing for Nissan to redesign its aging Z coupe, which we expect will bear the name 400Z. Nissan has been secretive with details about the 400Z, but we now know that the updated sports car will come with a twin-turbo V-6—likely borrowed from the Infiniti Q60 coupe—and a six-speed manual transmission. Mercifully, the Z will receive a technology update with new touchscreen infotainment, a digital gauge display, and likely a host of new driver-assistance features. Whereas the last generation 370Z went up against more affordable sports cars such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Toyota 86 in price and performance, this next-generation car is expected to move slightly up-market to put the Supra in its crosshairs.
What’s New for 2021?
Nissan’s iconic Z-car will be all-new for 2021. Previewed by the Z Proto concept car, the new 400Z draws design inspiration from past Z cars but gives us a glimpse into the future with updated technology and a much-needed interior modernization. We expect the 400Z to debut next year as a hardtop coupe but a convertible version could follow later.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We expect a price hike over the current 370Z to somewhere in the mid-$40,000 range for a starting price. To justify its higher price tag, we expect that the 400Z up the ante with more luxury features, improved performance, and more desirable styling, all of which will also help it move up from the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Subaru BRZ playing field to compete with the likes of the Supra, the BMW Z4, and the Audi TT.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Like its beastly brother, the Nissan GT-R, the 400Z is expected to be powered by a twin-turbocharged V-6. But, instead of the fire-breathing 565-hp 3.8-liter that’s under the hood of the GT-R, the 400Z will likely get the 300-hp 3.0-liter mill from the Infiniti Q60. It’s also possible that high-performance NISMO variant could get the 400-hp version of that engine that’s currently exclusive to the Q60 Red Sport 400. While all-wheel drive is available in the Infiniti, we expect Nissan will stick with rear-wheel drive exclusively for the 400Z. Nissan has promised a six-speed manual transmission as standard, but we expect that a seven-speed automatic will also be offered as an option.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t released any estimates for fuel economy for the new Z, but if the Q60 is anything to on, we can expect highway fuel economy ratings as high as 28 mpg or so, with city ratings falling just south of the 20-mpg line. We’ll know more closer to the car’s on-sale date and we’re hoping to test the 400Z’s highway fuel economy on our 200-mile test route.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Although it’s new for 2021, Nissan hasn’t changed the layout of the Z’s cabin. It remains a two-seat coupe with no vestigial rear seats à la Porsche 911. What has changed, though, is everything else. Seen in images of the Z Proto concept vehicle, the new Z will receive a modernized cabin with updated materials—a welcome improvement over the current 370Z’s dated interior. To justify its expected price-hike, we’d expect Nissan to throw in genuine leather upholstery, power-adjustable seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Cargo space remains a mystery, but we aren’t hopeful that the 400Z will turn into a Costco-run champion; we fit three carry-on suitcases in the trunk of the 370Z, which should be plenty for buyers of such a vehicle.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Perhaps one of the categories that the Z has the most room for improvement is in its infotainment offerings. The current car is one of the few new cars on the road today that doesn’t have a touchscreen infotainment system as standard, something that Nissan will undoubtedly address with the new 400Z. We expect an 8.0-inch touchscreen display (or larger) with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Nissan’s latest NissanConnect user interface. The Z Proto concept vehicle even featured a fully-digital gauge display. Navigation will undoubtedly be an option and premium audio will likely be engineered by Bose.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash tested the 400Z and they likely won’t as neither one regularly tests sports cars. The 400Z will likely showcase Nissan’s latest driver-assistance features, but high-tech party pieces are expected to remain optional. Key safety features are likely to include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Nissan’s basic warranty package is just that: Basic. Rival such as the Supra and the Z4 both augment their standard warranties with lengthy complimentary maintenance plans.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance