Is the New 2022 Nissan Z More Nissan 370z Than Z Car?

The 2022 Nissan Z is the hot new sports car. JDM car enthusiasts, no, enthusiasts as a whole, have been waiting for a new Z since the last one debuted in 2002. Now, it’s here, and the people can’t get enough of it. The Z badge is a staple of the enthusiast car segment, and now the new one is here to satiate the Nissan Fairlady fanbase. However, is the new coupe resting on old JDM laurels? Nissan may be hard up for cash, but will that financial strain translate to an all-too-familiar driving experience?

The new Nissan Z has a lot of old Nissan 370z

A blue Nissan 370 Z at the debut of Nissan's new Z car
Nissan’s last Z was a smash hit | Nissan

Let’s talk about the Nissan FM platform. It’s the chassis architecture that underpins everything from the Nissan 370z, to the 350z, to the Infiniti G35. Hell, there’s even some Infiniti QX SUVs that fit on it. In short, the Japanese brand uses it for everything. Moreover, it’s common practice in the automotive industry to use a new car to make an old one. Think Toyota’s 2022 GR 86. VW has also been doing this forever with the MQB platform.

And that’s exactly what the new 2022 Nissan Z rides on; Nissan’s FM platform. Recently, it’s drawn some criticism on the internet for using an old platform on what’s supposed to be the new Nissan halo car. However, publications like MotorTrend have traditionally praised the FM platform for producing some great, fun-to-drive sports cars. Basically, the internet is complaining about the new 2022 Nissan Z taking too much from the Nissan 370z. Go figure.

The stick-shift may be doing some heavy lifting

The interior of Nissan's new Z, complete with Carplay and stick shift
Is a manual transmission enough to sway the public? | Nissan

However, one carryover from the Nissan 370z the internet can’t get enough of is the inclusion of a manual transmission. You’ll no longer have to ask “Will the new Nissan Z have a manual?” It will. I didn’t sit here and Photoshop in a six-speed just for the clicks. However, that stick shift is going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting. The new Z car will influence the brand’s reputation for some time. If the chassis feels old, that had better be one hell of a gearbox to keep customers coming into dealerships.

Then there’s the motor. Nissan has given the 3.0-liter, 400 hp V6 a new name, but it’s still old-school tech. The Nissan 370z had a divisive powerplant, to say the least; some people loved the VQ motor and some hated it. On paper, the new Z car’s powerplant is more of the same, albeit with two turbos slapped on there. Again, if this part of the 2022 Nissan Z is found lacking, that stick shift will have to make up for it.

Can Nissan make the new Nissan Z feel unique?

The 300ZX-inspired rear lights on the new Z
Retro cues abound in the new Z | Stanislav Kogiku via Getty Images

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All this to say the new Z car needs to feel wholly different from the Nissan 370z without altering the formula so much it upsets hardcore devotees. Effectively, Nissan has to walk the automotive tightrope and please everyone. Moreover, the brand needs to do that in the middle of a historic downturn for the auto industry. That said if there’s any car that can endure it’s the Datsun Z car. Wait, no, the Nissan Z car. Or is it Nissan 400Z? Either way, I have faith in Nissan.