Managing Expectations from this grand tourer: The 2024 Nissan Z

Full disclosure: I wasn’t planning on wringing my brain out to write anything about the 400Z. We have writers on our team who are more experienced to whip up an articulately written review, which I think a lot of you will appreciate better. All I wanted was to do a photoset on the 400Z (RZ34) and feel what the 370Z (Z34) might have grown into. It’s something… personal. But having spent a full day with the Z, I think I want to share my thoughts in hopes that some of you readers might be able to relate with me. This being personal, I have to put on a caveat that this short read is not a review. I’ll leave that to Mikko, Pablo, or Carlos HAHA.

*Note: While it is officially just the Nissan Z (not 400Z), I will still call it the 400Z to avoid confusion as I will be referencing back to the previous model 370Z quite a lot.

“Yes, I know you like the 370Z a whole lot; but you should give the 400 a go. You can actually daily drive it.”

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It all started from that line, a snippet from a creative conversation that was starting to get a bit heated (yes, we actually take our jobs seriously). I’ve written about the 370Z, probably borrowed it a couple of times, and it never failed to put a grin on my face with eyes wide open (like a psycho). And I was willing to use it as my daily driver even if it has the tendency to feel raw and a little hardcore (not that it’s a bad thing). I then started to wonder if there’s anything else they can do to the 370Z that can make that grin extend all the way up to my ears, and this is purely from a biased perspective. The Z34 definitely has its imperfections and shortcomings, but I’m all about reasonable compromise. But what about the RZ34?

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Shoot day: 6:30 AM of Tuesday the following week. I was supposed to meet up with a 400Z fan, Carlos, to accompany me for a drive and shoot. But I overslept, so let’s fast forward to 9:30 AM. As an attempt to justify being late, I explained to the man that I was up all night cramming shoots and edits and that I’m not really a morning person. ANYWAY, I may be tired, but that’s not gonna stop me from trying to snap awesome photos of the 400Z. After a couple of sorries and a pinky digit gone, we then made our merry way to NLEX. All the times I was lent the 370Z, I always took it up north for a drive. Call it tradition, but I thought the 400Z deserved it too.

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Out on the highway, I drove it like my econobox. Steady pace, occasional spirited overtaking, and basically partly losing myself to a great playlist and the awesome view. How anti-climactic, right? Not exactly how one should be treating a sports car. But see, I’m no longer the driver who favors driving a car that’s keeping you on the edge 100% of the time. A lot of us have been there, and chill driving is always a welcome change. At first, I expected the 400Z to not be too far off with the model it replaced. Technically sharing a chassis with its older sibling, it was warranted for me to assume it offered almost identical road manners as the 370Z did. I wanted to see how it does in a relaxed state though, and it was pleasantly surprising.

It was just at 160 kilometers in during a stopover that I found myself declaring to Carlos that the 400Z is quite a comfortable ride, to which he agreed even as a passenger. We all know for a fact our roads are far from perfect, and it took most of the road deformities really well. It was also forgiving, in the sense that I was tired from last night’s work, yet I was still able to drive myself close to 200 kilometers without any complaints.

The seats could be more comfortable, but I think the what-was-hydraulic-and-now-EPS steering played a role as huge as the reworked suspension. Admittedly, I missed the 370Z steering action as it felt much more “emotional”. But the modern take of the 32R steering wheel on the 400Z made up for it. Another thing I put to test, was the fuel economy. What idiot takes that factor into consideration in a sports car? I. I’m that practical idiot.

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It was a mix of 20% bayan, 20% city, and 60% highway, and it pegged itself at 12km/l. Not that it really matters…

As a way of redeeming myself for even computing for the fuel efficiency, here are some shots we did on the twisty roads. And this was the better part of the drive. The 400Z handled everything that was thrown its way without much drama. The traction system was the perfect balance of non-intrusive and helpful. The tires and the transmission though, that’s for another discussion.

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In terms of looks, no doubt it garners a lot of attention. Countless double-takes were made from the sidewalks and even in traffic. The design as a whole exudes heritage; and I cannot stress how much I like the rear half of the car, hence most of my photos feature the rear portion.

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Carlos took the driver’s seat for the second half of the trip. To sum up his drive, the reality matched his expectations, but I’m sure he has a lot more to say if he’ll be writing the review. Per my request, we tried to catch the golden hour at Subic. I really think the sunset makes a great backdrop for the Nissan Z. What do you think?

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With my hands off the wheel, I can now show you more of the car in frames. Shooting while on the way home is also a way to get my mind off the fact that I will be returning the car the next day. Yes, I already like it. And don’t want to return it just yet.

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The triple-gauge stack is still the centerpiece. But it is now reading boost, turbo speed, and battery voltage.

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The shif… ter takes some getting used to, but that’s if you’re like me who got used to the more common types of automatic shifters.

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This one made me really happy. They retained the handbrake lever instead of an electronic parking brake switch. #oldsoul

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Now this is something new to the Z. I stuck with standard most of the time cause I’m mellow that way.

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I’m not much for driving aids, but I’m glad to report the Nissan Z comes with Nissan Intelligent Mobility, too. Makes zipping around a whole lot safer.

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No, the modified driver doesn’t come with the car, in case you’re wondering. But I had a hard time prying him off the driver’s seat when the trip was done. Force was used, but no Carlos was harmed during the process.

The night prior to this shoot, before filling up the tank in preparation for the Northern drive, I tried to get some answers to my questions already.

Q. What if I’m taking the Nissan Z for a trip?

Well, it fits 1 small to medium luggage just fine. Still a lot of room left for other (smaller) stuff.

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Q. What if the boys booked a tee time for us on the weekend?

Taking the driver and woods together with the head cover shouldn’t be much of a problem. My tour bag fits on a 370Z better, though. Quite odd.

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Q. How hard is it to maneuver through traffic and narrow streets Manila is known for?

It was quite painless, to be honest. Even with the low ground clearance, potholes and humps weren’t much of a bother for the 400Z.

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Q. Will I have problems going through drive-thrus?

For the most part, not really. But much like parkings, it depends if the structure is being unreasonable in terms of clearances.

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Q. Parking issues?

None, it fits a standard parking slot just fine especially there’s a reverse camera to help you. Wasn’t hard at all navigating the car up the ramp, too.

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Q. Then why the hell did I choose an isolated spot if parking wasn’t a tall order for the car?

Erring on the side of caution, away from scratches and dings. I don’t wanna get on Nissan Philippines’ bad side, they’ve been really great.

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Q. Is this the shoot and edit I was busy with that’s why I was late for the shoot the next day?


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VR30DDTT, the heart of the Nissan Z. If I can sprinkle expletives here like I would inject them on my daily vocabulary, I would. It is THAT good. I want this to be the last bit that I will be showing because it is what (I think) made the car. It got the Z so light on its feet, and there was a very wide torque band. For specs and technicals, you can check that out on their website. One word I would use to describe it: Relentless. For all the 500 kilometers that we did, it never once ran out of breath.

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So, in what color would I want my Nissan Z in? This.

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Maneuverability in traffic and parking? No doubt, check.
Space? Check with reservations.
Efficiency? Check.
Comfort? Huge check.

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Yes, yes… Guilty as charged. I was testing the Nissan Z on things it wasn’t supposed to be excelling in, but the car just doesn’t want to take the L. So I’ll gladly take it. But it’s for a good reason why I tested those points, it’s because those are the things I would now want in my car. Quite contradicting as to why I still put the 370Z in such high regard, no? Short answer: for emotional reasons, it reminds me of my youth. It’s what the younger me would have wanted to drive all day and all night. Like I said, it’s my time capsule. I most definitely am no longer the target market for sports cars having “matured” throughout the years, and I’d like to think the 400Z took people like me into consideration.

The performance part and other strong suits, we already know what it’s capable of as a lot of local and international publications have already put out their thoughts on the car backed with data and thorough testing. Don’t get me wrong, the 370Z still has a special place in my heart. But that doesn’t mean I can’t love the 400Z the same, just in a different way.

About that grin I was talking about earlier, it still is the same grin. But with dreamier eyes.

So, is this a case of “curiosity killed the cat” for me? Surely not, but the satisfaction breathes a new life.

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Kelvin Christian

Kelvin Christian

Cars, watches, cameras, and music. Totally okay being #2, at least there's something more to learn from #1. IG: _djkelvin00

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