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Exactly the type of car to buy if your concern is looking good, being comfortable and going fast

Dale JohnsonThe Nissan Z – a fast, stylish two-seater coupe – is back, with some retro touches from the original 240Z of more than half a century ago.

Well, almost back; orders will be taken in Spring 2023, with delivery “anticipated” in Spring 2023, according to Nissan Canada.

Car buffs may recall the original Datsun 240Z, introduced for the 1970 model year as a low-priced, two-seater sports car with looks that some compared to the E-Type Jaguar. The Z was an immediate hit and did a lot to improve the image of Datsun (now Nissan) in North America. The 240Z later grew into the 260Z and then 280Z. After a brief hiatus, there was the 350Z and then 370Z, until 2020.

Now the Nissan Z is returning. This time, there is no number; it’s just the Z. As well as styling cues from the original, the newest Z is fast like the first Z-car.

Nissan Z

The fast Nissan Z has great styling, with a few touches from the original Z-car in 1970

Nissan Z

The dashboard includes three gauges in the centre, aimed at the driver

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The standard engine is a twin-turbo 3.0 litre V-6 that produces 400 horsepower. Motor Trend reports a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds. Competitors may be faster ­– but the Z is still fast.

The Z is rated at 12.3 litres per 100 km in the city and 8.6 on the highway. But then, this isn’t the type of car to buy if your concern is good fuel economy.

My bright yellow test vehicle, the top-level Performance model with the 9-speed automatic, is the most expensive Z, starting at $59,998. With the optional $950 two-tone paint job (a black roof) along with freight and PDE, the tester’s price tag is $62,898. The base Sport model with a 6-speed standard starts at $46,498.

The exterior styling is extraordinary, and the Z will not be confused with anything else on the road. It’s well proportioned, with the roofline sharply sloping to the rear edge of the trunk lid. That reduces room in the rear cargo area. But then, this isn’t the type of car to buy if your concern is having lots of room to haul stuff.

The interior is as dramatic and head-turning as the exterior. As a six-footer, I found there was plenty of room behind the wheel, although getting in and out obviously isn’t as easy as, say, a pickup truck or minivan.

One lovely touch from the original 240Z is the three gauges sprouting out of the top of the centre of the dashboard and angled towards the driver. The idea may have originated more than 50 years ago, but it’s refreshingly different in this age of endless pushing and swiping to call up new displays on the dashboards of most vehicles.

I have only two complaints about the interior.

The buttons to move or tilt the seats are hard to find. In most cars, these controls are on the door or the lower side of the seat near the door. On the Z car, the driver’s seat controls are on the other side – down low beside the console. They’re hard to see, but I suppose a person would get used to using their right hand to adjust the seat.

The radio controls are easy to find and use, but the heating and A/C controls, just below the centre-mounted nav screen, have small buttons, and the small matching labelling makes them difficult to read.

It’s a very comfortable ride, nestled in the bucket seats. Steering and handling are outstanding. It was an unexpectedly smooth and quiet ride for a vehicle this small, with a wheelbase of 2,550 mm (100.4 in) and an overall length of 4,380 mm (172.4 in).

The styling inside and out, along with the 400 horses under the hood, combine to make the Z very appealing. But then, this is exactly the type of car to buy if your concern is looking good, being comfortable and going fast.

Dale Johnson is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who has worked in TV, radio, print and online. While the manufacturer provided Dale with a vehicle to test drive, the content of this review was not reviewed or accepted by the manufacturer.

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