In every way the 300ZX caught people by surprise, particularly given the 260 2+2 and 280ZX were little more than tarted boulevard tourers, offering little of the spectacular performance and handling which established the Zed car both in Australia and around the world.
Thankfully, the Nissan engineers instead chose to follow in the tradition of the hugely successful Datsun 240Z
, and in doing so the third generation 300ZX
started a new wave of attack to the high-performance
Boasting a powerful light-weight 60° twin-turbo 24-valve V6 engine,
it was capable of 155 mph (limited by electronic control)
and 0-100 km/h in around 5.6 seconds, previously times
only attainable in the likes of a Ferrari 328GTB.
The engine was fitted with Nissan's ECCS (Electronic Concentrated Control System) fuel injection which monitored not only the fuel flow, but also other critical engine functions such as temperature, mixture, spark and load to ensure the best possible fuel mixture for both performance and economy.
The new exterior styling, with its integrated bumpers, partially retractable headlights and smooth "droop snoot" bonnet line also improved the aerodynamics for better handling, and a quiet, almost silent ride.
Apart from its good looks and blistering performance, the 300ZX had
many other good things going for it, from styling that
is both handsome and imaginative, to a highly ergonomic
and comfortable cabin. The luxury appointments not normally found in a sports car were plentiful, resulting in a cockpit environment which was superbly comfortable around town and made long, fast drives a fatigue free delight.
For example, the new seven-way adjustable bucket seats featured adjustable thigh and lumbar support, and for the open air enthusiasts the lift out T-bar roof panels were removable for stoage in the boot via a simple and easy to use clip mechanism.
Enthusiasts would always choose the five speed manual, which offered fast positive short throws between gears, however you could option a four-speed (three-speed plus overdrive) automatic with torque converter. The brakes were up to the task too, being discs all round with dual master vacuum boost, and the speed sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering was well weighted, light and gave plenty of feedback to the driver.
The 215/60VR low profile's gave a firm ride, falling just shy of being described as harsh. In many ways the handling was only second to Porsche, which is a pretty big statement. The looks and enthusiasm were back in bucket loads.