Z-Day countdown: Ranking all the best Z cars from Nissan
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Way back in 1961, a small Japanese automaker by the name of Nissan decided to partner with Yamaha to turn the Fairlady into a sports car. This partnership eventually fell through, and Yamaha took its engine over to Toyota to eventually go into the 2000GT.
Fast forward eight years, and Nissan finally whipped the covers off the very first Fairlady Z, which was sold as the 240Z in the American market. If we jump forward another 51 years, we get to present day, where Nissan is set to unveil the latest Z.
To celebrate this monumental day, we decided to rank the best Nissan Z cars from worst to best, and it's going to be controversial.
This is a democratic list, and while this Fairlady means the most to me personally, the DRIVEN team has decided to rank it last.
Released in 2002, this Z lost the turbochargers that the previous model came with, and was powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine that made 214kW and 371Nm of torque. This was enough to get it to 100km/h in just under six seconds, which was impressive performance for the early 2000s.
Throughout its life, the 350Z received two engine updates, and two facelifts. When it finally bowed out of production, the 350Z featured a 'high-revving' version of this same V6, which made 228kW and 363Nm of torque.
These days, you're likely to find a 350Z at a race track as they have become a low-cost, high-powered hit with drifters due to the engine's bullet-proof reputation.
Taking over the Z reigns from the 350Z, this new Fairlady did exactly what it says on the box, and offered a V6 engine that upped the displacement from 3.5 litres to 3.7 litres.
The new V6 powerplant made an impressive 248kW and 365Nm of torque, and the low-weight design helped the 370Z cracked the sub-five second 0-100km/h mark.
As well as this new engine, almost every single aspect of the 370Z was redesigned, and featured a wheelbase that was 69mm shorter than the 350Z.
As the pioneer of the Zs, we can skip the 240Z with its timeless angular styling and the iconic Z432 that shared an engine with the Skyline GT-R.
In Japan, this coupe was powered by a 2.0-litre engine, while America got a larger 2.4-litre six-cylinder (hence the name). This US-spec Z had 113kW from the inline-six that featured twin Hitachi carburetors.
Over the past few decades, 240Z prices have handsomely appreciated, with some clean examples fetching more than $100,000 at auction. Earlier this year, one of the GT-R-powered Z432 models managed to fetch $1.2 million at auction, making it one of the most expensive Nissans ever sold.
While it's biggest claim to fame may have been sharing headlights with the Lamborghini Diablo, the second-generation 300ZX was a another pioneer in the Z family, and brought incredible driving dynamics to the badge.
As the first and last(?) Fairlady to be turbocharged, the 300ZX was an absolute blast to drive when it burst onto the sports car scene back in 1990.
Upon release, this 300ZX scooped up numerous awards including Motor Trend's 'Import Car of the Year' and was added to Road and Track's 'One of the Ten Best Cars in the World'.
The 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 engine beneath the bonnet produced an impressive 220kW and 384Nm of torque, giving it a limited top speed of 249km/h and a sub-six-second 0-100km/h time.
This popularity was proven on the road and the track, with numerous racing teams going with the 300ZX throughout the nineties.