Nissan 300ZX

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Nissan 300ZX

1989 - 1996
V6 DOHC Twin Turbo
2960 cc
124 kW / 166 bhp
5 spd. man / 4 spd. at
Top Speed:
155 mph
Number Built:
2 star
Nissan 300ZX
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2


When the 300ZX hit Australian shores it changed the then current model's overweight boulevardier image around 180 degrees. With wind-tunnel inspired styling (Cd 0.31), a 164.5kW 24-valve, dohc, three-litre V6, all-new multi-link independent suspension, viscous diff, twin caliper anti-lock brakes all round, and a claimed top speed around the 230km/h mark, the 300ZX was a far cry from the obese luxury cruiser it replaced, and Nissan hailed it as a car capable of taking on Porsches and beating them. Wheelbase and track were increased over the current model but overall length was down thanks to minimal overhang.

Weight distribution sat at roughly 55/45 front/rear and with the cockpit moved forward the front-engined, rear-drive sports-car has something of a mid-engined profile. All-up weight was higher than the previous ZX at some 1460kg, but with a power to weight ratio of 8.9kg/kW it easily outclassed the ZX Turbo's 9.8kg/kW and even had an edge over the 9.2kg/kW ratio of the powerful Supra Turbo. Loosely based on the previous model's 60 degree three-litre V6, the VG30DE engine used a cast iron block with alloy heads mounting twin cams operating four valves per cylinder in a pent-roofed combustion chamber.

Induction was handled by electronic fuel injection, and spark came courtesy of a computerised direct ignition system which fired the centrally located plugs via a small coil on top of each one. Displacing 2960cc, the engine had a specific output of 55.6kW per litre, revved to seven grand, and produced its 164.5kW peak at 6400rpm with 264Nm delivered at 4800rpm.

A Much Better Car

In every way the 300ZX caught people by surprise, particularly given the Datsun 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 260Z, and in doing so the third generation 300ZX started a new wave of attack to the high-performance GT segment.

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.
Nissan 300ZX

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Posted Recently
the power listed is completely false.
the naturally aspirated 300zx had 220hp and the twin turbo had 300hp. awesome cars.
Posted Recently
I was angry buying a Porsche 944 Turbo. It in no way compared to the 300zx TwinTurbo. Both cars handle great, but the Z has far more top end and responce.
Keiths comment about a Porsche 924 turbo being a better circuit is a joke. I race that model as well and need to fight to get the power out of a 924. The Z32 on the other hand simply needs a few basic modifications, and upgraded ECU to compete with 911s of the same period!
John Browne
Posted Recently
I bought my 1990 300ZX 2+2 twin Turbo through Prestige Motorsports in May 2005 about the time of changes to the 15 year rule. I had to waiti until early 2006 until it turned 15 so I could import it. Over the 4 years since I've added about 40,000km pretty much trouble free. The secret with these cars and most spe *** t cars is finding the right service people. I'm lucky to have found Wallards in Bullleen after a nightmare experience with the Z Shop in Malvern.
Mine is an automatic but a very responsive one. With Vic roadlaws, speed cameras, the Nissan is a lot of fun at all speed limits and very comfortable. Mileage is probably 12l/100km highway perhaps more like 14l around town. Very little breaks or needs repair.
With a Japanese market car like mine the cooling may be tested in the peak of summer, in winter and when there's some moisture in the air, the twin turbos are very responsive and I've never hankered a manual. Out on a lonely country road or ones with bends these are a very exhilarating car to drive with great response and still looking good at 20 years old.
Posted Recently
i want one of theese cars, there fresh as. im only 15 do you reckon theese cars are worth the money or do your reckon i could get a better car for the same price.
Posted Recently
I have a twin turbo 300ZX and porsche 924 turbo, around a tight circuit the porsche leaves the 300 for dead but on the open road its the fastes car around, XR6s and SS commodores eat my dust.
Posted Recently
I had a 1990 NA 300ZX (and yes those HP figures are way wrong, it was 222BHP for the NA and 300 BHP twinturbo - those are claimed manufacturer figures including in Japan).
Anyway I absolutely spanked everything I came across (that wanted a drag race) for the 5 years I owned it (I mean agianst turbos V8s everyhting). The performance was absolutely amazing. It was the quickest thing around.
Posted Recently
RichardH is right.
On release in 1989 the Z32 300zx was rated at NA 167rwkw and 220rwkw (300hp). Although it is tradition for Japanese car manufacturers to underrate the power of their cars. The 300zx is easily the best of the Z car range stock the 2 seater VG30DETT destroys a stock 350Z in a 1/4 mile and 1/8 mile.
Posted Recently
I have a Z31, and it smacks my mates with El Xr8 and a VS Clubbie. Best Feeling considering i paid $800 for the car and they spent $$$$$$
Posted Recently
IMHO those power figures are incorrect, probably the previous model (Z31): I think its 166kw for the NA and 220kw for the Z32 TT.)
Posted Recently
Has got to be best value sports car around. Paid $10k and have spent $7.5k on new paint and suspension rebuild. Car now looks and feels like new. These vehicles are underated and offer excellent value if you are prepared to look after them.
Posted Recently
Yea That Is So True, Im Buying One Off My Mate, Brand New Motor, (worth $6000) Needs A Bit Of A Paint Job, For $11,000!
Posted Recently
One of the best value for money sports cars. These cars were $80K new in Australia and now you can get a good one for just over $10K!
If you take your time and get a good one the driving and ownership experience will be one you never forget!
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