By on September 10, 2020

Nissan has issued another teaser for the impending 400Z with clear intent to alleviate any confusion created by the previous marketing materials. We said it looked like the company planned on offering the sports coupe with a manual transmission and are required to revise our claim. It’s now blatantly obvious that Nissan is planning on producing be-clutched examples. We can only assume that Nissan’s marketing department noticed that everyone had started to catch onto the possibility of there being a manual option in its last posting and simply decided to remove all doubt.

One can even imagine the video conference where management tells the person editing the clips to throw in a bare shot of the gear selector this time. Nissan knows few customers will actually buy one but that the automotive press can’t help but mention the last of a dying breed. Some of us wake up in a cold sweat nightly, haunted by the knowledge that carefully using two appendages to change gears isn’t something future generations are going to put up with.

Until then, it remains the more engaging option on sporting vehicles. It’s just not particularly practical in an era where less than 20 percent of Americans can actually drive stick. The rest of Nissan’s teaser was devoted to playing a guessing game where listeners attempted to determine which V6 would be used. Will it be the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 sourced from the company’s luxury arm? Maybe the 3.8-liter that’s in the GT-R will come into play.

We can’t really say and aren’t planning to use another shadowy teaser to make assertions of items that aren’t spelled out for us. Besides, the manufacturer will be showing us the prototype on September 16th. After living for months in relative isolation to avoid getting coughed on, waiting another week to see a car is going to be a breeze.

[Image: Nissan]

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28 Comments on “Confirmed: Nissan Shows Upcoming Z-Car With Manual Transmission...”

  • avatar

    Sounds hearty enough to be a 6 cyl, if that’s real audio.

    • 0 avatar

      Not sure why this whole time I wrote this off as another 2.0L 4-cyl snoozer. So the V6 is already a sure thing, and almost def it’s the 3.0TT for cost and weight savings. With the stick confirmed I’m in if they make it look good and it ditches brake by wire and steer by wire from the Infiniti.

      • 0 avatar

        Likely they’d save those options for the almost inevitable Q60 version.

        In which case the Z will be a far better car to drive.

        Normally I’d say offer a 2-liter as well like Supra and F-Type, but their 2.0 is a trash engine by Mercedes, so skip it.

    • 0 avatar

      It has a nice snarl. I miss that sound.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Great. 370Z sales have fallen 90% in 15 years. Even if the 400Z miraculously doubled 2019’s sales volume, and 10% of the buyers took the stick, they’d move maybe 500 sticks in the US.

    This is a come-hither ploy that will end in discontinuation of the stick after a couple model years, with the predictable internet outcry.

    Actually, the Z-car itself isn’t worth producing any more.

    Year * Sold
    2005 = 27,278
    2006 = 24,635
    2007 = 18,957
    2008 = 10,337
    2009 = 13,117
    2010 = 10,215
    2011 = 7,328
    2012 = 7,891
    2013 = 6,561
    2014 = 7,199
    2015 = 7,391
    2016 = 5,913
    2017 = 4,614
    2018 = 3,468
    2019 = 2,384

    *Thanks to GCBC for the data.

    • 0 avatar

      Just be thankfully they are producing this car at all. Manual, RWD, sporty 2 seat hatchback? Guaranteed not to move many units. I’m sure they are well aware of this. They are just leveraging the Q60 as much as possible to extend the pay off on its engineering. The internet screams for cars like this, but then goes off and buys some boring, shade of grey, CUV to make the trip between home, Starbucks and the office.

    • 0 avatar

      That depends on how expensive it is to produce the 400Z. If they’re able to repurpose a lot of tooling from the 370Z factory then amortizing factory production costs over the 350Z-370Z-400Z multiple lifecycles might not be bad.

      It’s not going to change Nissan’s bottom line one bit, but it could help boost their image. Adding a stick is a cheap way to knock on the Supra, and the inevitable comparo tests will get them plenty of free and valuable PR.

      Also they’ll sell more than double the 2019 sales volume of the 370… the model has been dead in the water for years, but like the Ram Classic it eventually prints pure profit or breaks even if you produce it long enough. Better to look at 2011/2012 numbers when the 370Z launched (it was a total flop but great to drive). Armchair analysis says 15k+ units in year one of the new car. There are people out there that want a sub $50k 400hp stick shift that’s not a Mustang or Camaro. Currently that niche doesn’t exist.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d say there is a very high chance the 2022 Supra will offer a manual. I just don’t know if it would be available across all trims/engines or if will just be on some fully loaded $65K special edition.

    • 0 avatar

      Not worth producing? I’m not sure. Basically, Nissan let this model wither and die on the vine with practically zero updates in the last 15 years. If they’d at least made a half-a**ed effort to keep it fresh, maybe the sales figures wouldn’t be so grim.

      The “Z-car” still has some cachet among enthusiasts, and the market for cars like this isn’t dead, so if this new model is good, and sells for the right price, maybe they’ll have something. Who knows?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Well, I did praise it in the last posting about the teaser video.

        But to me, the 400Z doesn’t fit into Nissan’s survival mode of operation. Perhaps the development and tooling were already paid for by the time Nissan announced its belt tightening.

        I get the theory behind halo cars, but I think the theory is false. Most car buyers aren’t enthusiasts, and would be hard-pressed to name more than a couple nameplates in the brand they bought. And, it’s not as though someone buys a Rogue because the 400Z exists.

        IMO, the Z-cars, Ford GT, VW Arteon, GT-R, Viper, K900, Supra, NSX, 3000GT, etc are/were of dubious benefit to their respective brands from a business perspective. (I almost included Corvette, but that’s really its own brand despite life as a Chevy.) They – to me – are the equivalent of the auto shows – lots of expense with little ROI.

        On the other hand, Dodge’s approach is more useful – offering cars like the Charger and Challenger in trims that range from pedestrian to ferocious. From a business perspective, it’s genius. The incremental costs to develop and build a Redeye Charger aren’t a lot more than the V6.

        But I digress. I wish Nissan well with the 400Z.

        • 0 avatar

          The Z is Nissan’s Mustang, not Nissan’s “halo car” which is the GT-R.

          Plus, Nissan got a ton of mileage out of the 350Z and 370Z because there was a lot of overlap between it and the Infiniti lineup of the past 17 years. They basically did do with their FM platform what Dodge did with their LX platform (and the FM platform is actually even older). I don’t think the Z is a money loser at all and that’s why it has survived so long even at recent low volume.

          I can’t say for certain, but I’d be quite surprised if this 400Z is a bespoke vehicle. It’ll be more like a Q60 with some added lightness and the interior out of a Maxima.

          • 0 avatar

            I agree.

            And also, what other choice do they have? They’re not going to beat Toyota at being Toyota. Nor Hyundai/Kia and being Hyundai/Kia. And between those two, the appliance market is covered (Not saying their cars are appliances, as both are actively moving away from that as well. But buyers looking for objectively superior transportation and nothing but, have precious little reason to look elsewhere, as Uber drivers have discovered)

            So, like Dodge, the only USP left for the rest, is selling some sort of subjective value. The Z has that in spades. It’s a Japanese ‘Vette. And one with appeal to the generation(s) that came after the “Harleys and V8s” generations Dodge is overtly targeting.

            As for an “impractical 2 seater” helping sell more mainstream skus, since the Z is fundamentally non-exotic, there are plenty of directions in which facets of it can cheaply be infused into higher volume product lines. Dodge may be masters of the “same chassis, smaller engine”, but there is nothing stopping Nissan from doing “same engine and “tuning”, 2 more seats and a few inches taller” etc….

            Doing so is unlikely to beat a Rav4 in the objective measures of longevity and fuel miserliness, nor a Palisade in objective value for money. But at least it may be distinct enough from those to not be directly cross shopped with them by everyone. And being cross shopped with Toyota and/or Hyundai, on their terms, is a surefire way to lose, for anyone.

    • 0 avatar

      Damn you’re a buzzkill.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      Have we decided as a society to stop being automotive enthusiasts? If so, what are we enthusiastic about instead?

  • avatar

    Also see the production car here:

  • avatar

    If they put the VR30DDTT, it’ll be an interesting car.

    Given its low volume, I don’t expect them to maintain two trim levels with a turbo-4 alongside a turbo-6. But the turbo-6 gives them the flexibility to have two levels of horsepower with minimum difference between them.

    • 0 avatar

      The image I found above confirms the VR30TT.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      It’s almost like I have seen this somewhere before…A Twin Turbo 3.0 and a non turbo version. Can’t for the life of me remember what car that was.

      on a totally unrelated note, I really wish they had used the Z32 car as the source of inspiration for the “retroness” of this car. I don’t hate it, but I’d be writing preorder checks for something that looked like that but was as least as reliable as a modern Nissan, which for all of my love of my time with a Z32 would be a step up.

  • avatar

    “Maybe the 3.8-liter that’s in the GT-R will come into play.”

    No. Hand maid engine in this??

    I am thinking. Should I succumb to another Nissan? Remembering 240sx, all that car was missing is more power

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