Nobody would accuse Nissan of not evoking the spirit of the classic 240Z in its newest sports car, simply called the Z. The seventh-generation model is a virtual ode to the original, from its simple rectangular grille to its pointed roof and fastback shape. A few other generations are represented as well, but at merely a glance, the 2023 Z's connection to the original Fairlady is obvious.
But is it retro enough?
Enter famed automotive designer Chip Foose. In his latest video from Hagerty, he takes a deep dive on the new Z and while his critique is positive, he reckons there are some opportunities for improvement. Using the 240Z as a guide, he hones in on the headlights which don't seem to droop enough, sitting above the grille instead of flanking it. He also moved the proportions around a bit, giving his redesign a longer tail with cleaner lines on the side and a swoopier shape.
Gallery: 2023 Nissan Z
Looking at his sketch by itself you might be hard-pressed to see the changes, but with a new Z alongside, the small adjustments do make a difference. One might wonder why Nissan didn't inject these design cues in the real car, but whereas Foose didn't have limitations, Nissan designers did. Sharing a platform with the outgoing 370Z, the new sports car is bound by those dimensions. It's been the source of some criticism among motoring fans, with some viewing the Z as just a facelifted 370.
There's some credibility to that opinion, from the outside anyway. Inside, the Z is properly modern with a mix of digital displays and retro gauges atop the dash. And then there's the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 borrowed from Infiniti, kicking out 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) to the rear wheels through either an automatic or a legit three-pedal manual transmission.
Frankly, 2022 can't get here quick enough so we can put the Z through its paces. It may not be quite as fetching as Foose's take, but behind the wheel, we suspect that so won't matter.