2011 Nissan 370Z vs. 1990 Nissan 300ZX: Past Meets Present Page 2

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When it comes to Z design I am a huge fan of the classic lines on the 240Z, but truly love the wide stance of the Z32 300ZX. The curvy 370Z took some getting used to for me, but I've come to like it.

In 1990, the Z32 300ZX was one of the most advanced car designs on the market. It was one of the first production cars to be developed with CAD software which led to many innovations ranging from tight panel gaps to four-wheel steering. The car won multiple awards throughout its 6 years in the marketplace.

The 300ZX has a low, wide, no nonsense stance accentuated by long horizontal taillights and headlights. In contrast, the 370Z is narrower by approximately 2 inches while wearing its curves like Beyoncé on the red carpet. When analyzing the 300ZX design, you get the sense it was purpose-built with coefficient of drag (Cd) numbers in mind rather than pure style, where as the 370Z feels like a mix of style and function wrapped into a curvy package.

Nissan wanted the 370Z to hark back to the 240Z, with a long hood and rearward cabin. The 300ZX differed from this design philosophy with the fluid cabin and jelly-bean like shape. The main similarity in the two designs is the hood proportion. I'd like to think the sculpting on the hood of the 370Z is a nod back to the slight bulge sculpted into the center of the 300ZX hood, but I could just be dreaming.

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Comments (9)
  1. Last paragraph was well put.... the 370Z is an awesome car but seems as if its just another nissan. I Wouldnt turn my head the same way to notice a 370z. but on the other hand I would break my neck to turn and see a 300zx...

  2. The new Z's are just hideous ... I'm a big Z car fan and love the body lines and styling of the original 240Z, but this modern "remake" is a modern art masterpiece; and not in a good way mind you.

    Why can't the Japanese take a cue from Germany and design cars that don't look like they are going to don armor and do battle with Godzilla? I don't need a kung fu fighter, I need a car that looks timeless and redefines the Fairlady moniker. THAT's why the Z car was heralded and accepted in the US.

  3. As an owner of a 2010 NISMO 370, I personally love the looks of the 370. I cannot tell you how many times I am stopped to talk about the car.

    Could Nissan give it more power? Of course. But at less than 50% of the cost of the GT-R, why take the attention away from the machine that the US has drooled over for years?

    The Z of the early '90s drew attention, just like the 350 did when it burst on the scene and now the 370 carries the torch. In 2004 I drove a 350 and loved it but ended up buying a G35 coupe and then another in '06.

    I finally have my Z and it makes me smile every time I see it in the garage.


  4. To compare a 20 year old sports car to a 2011 model is folly and simply an exercise in journalism. The new model has more power, better performance, better mpg, and better safety systems than a 1990 model.
    For those that question the new 370Z's styling, I would suggest you view the new Porsche 911 and the Jaguar XE. Given the cost of the 370Z, it's an everyday sports car at a reasonable price.
    I like both vehicles. I drive a 2011 370Z Touring coupe with the sports package and six speed. I've driven manual transmissions for more years than I care to admit and the rev match feature is truly a joy to use. Finally, I've received more positive remarks about this car than any other car I've owned which includes a '65 396 Vette and '90 ZR

  5. Agreed 100%, Daniel. I can't help but like the current 370Z, but because it's a 370Z, not from any real love of the design. Not bad, either, but just many better options out there. Not all at the same price or with the same specs, of course, but still... Give it an Audi TT/Maserati look and I'll put one back in the driveway, promise.
    At least Nissan tries... Toyota, nothing. Lexus IS 250/350, nice, but badly overpriced. Honda... Prelude comeback, anyone? S2000 for the young, but c'mon, Honda! Not Acura, either, just not that sporty at all.

  6. Makes me proud to own my JDM Z32 TT. Loved the review too, definitely raised some relevant issues with Nissan's values today. Can tell you're a Z lover...maybe they need to learn to love their Z's as much as they used to...

  7. I own a 94 2+2 and love it. I still get people turning their heads and people asking me to sell it to them. Although the new Z isnt as unique, it is a powerful car and has its followers. Love is love :-) .

  8. I don't know if it's much of a bargain anymore.

    Consider that for 22k one can have a Chevy Camaro with a 321hp V6, 6 speed manual, and 'Ring slaying chassis with IRS. The Z is likely better sorted from the factory, but for 8k more it should be, and many people think the Camaro is a more special and attention grabbing car than the 370Z is. The NISMO Z is great - but it's also priced like a base model Corvette or any other number of greater cars.

    Ford Mustang V6, Genesis Coupe V6, all cheaper. Similar.

    430hp Camaro SS, 410hp Mustang 5.0, same price as base model Z. Sports package? 1LE or Boss territory, and there's no denying the 'specialness' of those cars. They also don't sound like your grandma's Altima V6 with a sport exhaust.

  9. Personally I have always had a preference for the Nissan 300ZX (Z32) spors cars relative to the Nissan 350Z and 370Z models. The design and styling of the 300ZX model is a winner all the way.

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