Beautiful tragedy: Nissan Z

Nissan unveils its new Z in the U.S., launching an authentic, classic sports car in the form of the crisp transaxle coupe. It's becoming a tragic hero for us - precisely because it's so good. And will probably never be launched here in Europe.
Text Marko Knab
Photo Nissan USA

The fact that a car like the Nissan Z is not coming to Europe is the stuff of classic tragedy. How to make sense of it? Let's start like this: our brand-new protagonist is the latest descendant of a long line of wonderful sports cars - its heritage goes back to 1969, when the first 240Z caused a sensation. With a long hood, crisp rear end and just that classic sports car aesthetic. Distinctive rearview mirrors on the front fenders included. The rapid success story continues with the 280Z, the 300ZX, the familiar 350Z and the 370Z. And a damn good one at that, at least until now. For in Europe, the continuation in the form of the sports car, which is now simply called the »Z«, has not materialized.

Its appearance would have been old school in any case: 400 hp from a twin-turbo V6 meets a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. Well, there is also the option of a nine-speed automatic transmission - but that doesn't really fit into the storyboard, we have to be honest. The young hero also draws on his anything but ancient ancestors for the bodywork: the almond-shaped headlights look familiar from the Z's history, as do the square, linear taillights. Just like the square radiator grille and the already mentioned basic shape of a transaxle sports car. Why the Z still fails (in Europe)? Responsible are a shrinking sports car market and emission guidelines that make sales in the West unprofitable. Says Nissan. »Blamelessly guilty,« we say in the tradition of drama theory.

Its appearance would have been old school in any case: 400 hp from a twin-turbo V6 meets a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive.

All right, the car hits dealerships in the U.S. in spring 2022 - and celebrates the continuation of its own history, at least overseas. From this point of view, there are no reasons for lamentation and horror, but the whole thing is still hard to bear. And to use the classic tragedy again: In the end, we are not one bit cured of our desires, catharsis has failed, the desire has only grown. The only way out is probably the not exactly uncomplicated import from the States to Europe. Or hoping for an inexplicable solution (and a change of mind) from above. So that the impressive machine might still find its way to Europe. By the way, this would be called »Deus ex machina«.

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