|Trim||Engine||Drive Type||Trans.||0-60||1/4 Mile||Mpg EPA C/H/Observed||Source|
1996 Nissan 300ZX
|Millen SMZ Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||5.4 sec||13.9 sec @ 103.4 mph||----/----/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||5.4 sec||13.9 sec @ 102.6 mph||16/22/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||5.4 sec||13.8 sec @ 105 mph||16/22/---- mpg||Motor Week|
1995 Nissan 300ZX
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||5.5 sec||13.9 sec @ 102 mph||16/22/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
1993 Nissan 300ZX
|Stillen GTZ Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||4.9 sec||13.4 sec @ 110 mph||----/----/---- mpg||Motor Week|
1991 Nissan 300ZX
|Stillen GTZ Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||5.0 sec||13.5 sec @ 109.5 mph||----/----/---- mpg||Road & Track|
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||5.0 sec||13.7 sec @ 102 mph||16/22/16 mpg||Car and Driver|
1990 Nissan 300ZX
|GS Coupe||3.0L V6||RWD||5M||6.7 sec||15.0 sec @ 93 mph||16/22/17 mpg||Car and Driver|
|GS Coupe||3.0L V6||RWD||5M||7.8 sec||15.7 sec @ 90 mph||16/22/19 mpg||Motor Week|
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||5.9 sec||14.6 sec @ 96 mph||16/22/14 mpg||Car and Driver|
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Twin-Turbo V6||RWD||5M||5.7 sec||14.4 sec @ 100 mph||16/22/---- mpg||Motor Week|
1989 Nissan 300ZX
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Turbo V6||RWD||5M||7.43 sec||15.57 sec @ 90.3 mph||15/23/---- mpg||Motor Trend|
1986 Nissan 300ZX
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Turbo V6||RWD||5M||8.9 sec||16.2 sec @ 86 mph||16/23/---- mpg||Motor Week|
1985 Nissan 300ZX
|2+2 Coupe||3.0L V6||RWD||5M||9.2 sec||16.8 sec @ 82 mph||17/23/21 mpg||Car and Driver|
1984 Nissan 300ZX
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Turbo V6||RWD||4A||7.3 sec||15.4 sec @ 90 mph||15/20/15 mpg||Car and Driver|
|Turbo Coupe||3.0L Turbo V6||RWD||4A||8.4 sec||15.5 sec @ 84 mph||15/20/28 mpg||Motor Week|
About Nissan 300ZX
In the 1990s, you had quite a few options when it came to affordable sports cars. Among the best of them was the much-lauded Nissan 300ZX. During its time and especially during the 90s, the 300ZX garnered much praise and a lot of awards, and today it’s still looked upon by car aficionados with nostalgia.
The history of the 300ZX can be a very convoluted story, as it was available in Japan from 1983 to 2000. But they were called the Fairlady Z. In the US, it was sold from 1984 through 1996 as the 300ZX, because it followed the previous Z car known as the 280ZX.
In the US, you could also categorize the car by either the Z31 or Z32 generation. The earlier Z31 was for the 1980s (1983 to 1989) and was marketed as a reasonably-priced sports car. Then the Z32 followed after that, and it came with superb performance to go along with its higher price range.
The Fall of the 300ZX
The fall of the 300ZX can be attributed to several factors. One was the rising popularity of SUVs, which affected the sales of family cars in general. But the relative weakness of the dollar against the yen meant that prices in the US for Japanese imports skyrocketed. In 1985, the dollar was worth 239 yen. In 1992, the dollar was down to 123 yen, and it even reached 80 yen in April of 1995.
Basically, imagine that in Japan they manufactured a car for 2.39 million yen. In 1985, that meant the car in the US was worth $10,000. But a similar car in 1995 would then cost $23,875. The devaluation of the dollar against the yen effectively tripled the prices of Japanese imports. As a result, sales for the 300ZX lagged. Its $50,000 price tag simply did not justify what people could get, especially when that same price could buy much nicer American cars and even German imports. It’s why Nissan pulled the 300ZX from the US in 1996.
Features of the 300ZX
Still, the Nissan 300ZX was undoubtedly impressive for its time, especially when it competed in the US against similarly priced cars. In the Z line, the new 1990 300ZX was the fastest off the bat, had the top cruising speed, and was best in handling.
Even with today’s standards, the specs of the 300ZX were impressive, and this is especially true of the top-of-the-line 300ZX Twin Turbo.
- The twin-turbo V6 engine churned out 300 HP and 280 lb-ft of torque.
- The power was sent to the rear wheels via a standard 5-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential.
- It offered a sophisticated four-wheel independent suspension.
- A Super HICAS rear-wheel steering feature was also available.
- At one time, Car and Driver achieved 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat with the 1991 Nissan 300 ZX Turbo Coupe, with the quarter-mile in just 13.7 seconds at 102 mph.
What this all means is that it could win a race against any of its price-range competitors of the age. Its impressive styling was entirely justified by the remarkable power and deft handling.
It immediately reaped praise and awards left and right. Motor Trend named it the “Import Car of the Year” while Automobile Magazine chose it as the Design of the Year. Automobile Magazine had it on its “All Star” list from 1990 to 1994, while Car and Driver placed it in its list of “10 Best Cars” from 1990 to 1996.
Automobile Magazine would eventually include it among the 100 Greatest Cars of All Time, 20 Greatest Cars of the Past 20 Years (written in 2006), and 25 Most Beautiful Cars in History. Even GQ lauded it in 2010 as one of the most stylish cars of the last 50 years.
Buying One Today
So should you get one today, if you’re on the lookout for a classic sports car? Its current price, as well as its looks and performance all make it a very tempting choice. You can be very sure that you’ll be the envy of motorheads in your neighborhood, and if it’s in tip-top shape it can give modern cars a run for its money.
But then that’s the rub—if it’s in tiptop shape. It’s going to be at least 20 years old by now, so you have to really check out how it weathered through the years. Also, while the Nissan technology of the time was known for its reliability, after 2 decades there’s always a question as to how well they will still function.
And of course, you have to take the mindset of the original owner at the time. There’s a very good chance that it was driven aggressively a lot of the time, and it may have even been wrecked at some point. And some of the modifications that some previous owner may have put in may not exactly be described as genius moves.
So if you’re going to get one, make sure you do a thorough inspection and you get as much history as you can.
Follow Us on Facebook
Straight To Your Inbox
Get the latest Automotive news and performance tests straight to your inbox!