Tuesday July 1, 2003
Legendary automobiles were once the sole domain of the European and American industries, but as the history of the Japanese automotive industry is now getting some longevity to it, we are seeing a legend reborn with the famous Z series being reintroduced in Australia.
It's 33 years since the original Datsun 240z was launched in Australia, and it achieved cult status as the sports car of a generation of two-seater enthusiasts - the baby boomer generation at that. Variants of the car over the last thirty years have included the 260Z, 280Z and the 300ZX, all six-cylinder rear-wheel drive sports vehicles that delivered the mandatory "Z requirements" of cutting-edge design, true sports car performance and affordable pricing.
The current line-up follows closely in the same vein - powered by Nissan's sensational 3.5-litre 24-valve DOHC engine generating 206kW of power at 6200 rpm and 363 Nm of torque at 4800 rpm. The entry level Touring model 350Z is available from AUD$59,990 for the manual version and the highly specified Track model is AUD$65,990.
In America, those same models sell for US$26,370 and US$30,530 respectively. In Australia, the optional five-speed automatic transmission is available for an additional AUD$2,800.
Standard features include carbon-fibre drive shaft, traction control system, viscous limited-slip rear differential, electronic drive-by-wire throttle, dual outlet exhaust and close-ratio six-speed manual transmission.
The release of pictures of the new drop-top roadster will further reignite interest in the series. In America, the 2004 Z Roadster will be available in two models: the 350Z Roadster Enthusiast Model at US$33,850 (manual) and US$34,820(automatic transmission) and the 350Z Roadster Touring Model at US$36,220 (manual) and US$37,190 (automatic transmission). Given we can expect a similar price regime in Australia, these figures indicate a local starting price for the Z Roadster in the 70K range - real bang-per-buck for a vehicle of this calibre.
An announcement from Nissan Australia on exact pricing and specs is expected later this week. The drop-top model will be arriving in October and pre-sales are expected to be very strong given the experience of recent 350Z releases - 250 coupes sold prior to arrival in February this year after pre-sales began in October 2003.
Stay tuned to www.Gizmo.com.au for further details as they become available.