Renault Twizy: A Twizt in Automobile History

Renault took it to new extremes with this one. Or maybe new minimals is the right term. What’s its purpose?*

*Battery Sold Separately

So let’s say that you’re at a French dealership in 2012, looking at the new Renault Twizy. You sign all of the documentation, take the keys, and- what’s this? A subscription service? Not optional, what? That’s right, the battery (an essential part of an electric car mind you), is only available through a subscription service.

If you think that subscriptions are the ways of the future, Renault was eight years ahead of you. No matter what you think of that, at least roadside assistance was included. 2020 is the year to buy however, as the battery comes in the box this time.

Battery rentals aside, the Twizy is a one seater made for getting from point A to B in the cheapest way possible (sorry Fiat 500, you come in second). Having sold the most units of any plug-in electric car in 2012 Europe, you could say a decent number has been sold. And of course, if a car is sold, there must be a Chinese rip-off (see Rayttle E28).

You Get What You Pay For

The exterior is nice as it’s sort of different from anything else, but I would say the design has more functionality than the interior. Bare bones is a good description of the inside, from the mundane, grey plastic covering everything to the small display that tells you the charge, and what gear you’re in.

On a cold winter day in France, those who enjoy cold temperatures will love the Twizy, which has a lack of air conditioning/heating. If you don’t like the freezing weather, that’s okay, just make sure to bring your electric blanket, as the car actually supports those.

Now how does it perform on the track? Well, it doesn’t. Coming with 5.4 or 17 horsepower and a top speed of 50mph, you can forget about a speedy 0-60 (or one in general). Looks like it won’t be beating any Dodge Demons on the quarter mile. But wait! There’s the Twizy F1…

The Performance Model

Does anyone remember the Renault Espace F1 from the 90’s? A minivan, packed full of 800hp. I suppose that this Twizy F1 is a tribute, albeit not having 800 horses. Subtract about 700, keep the slicks, and now we’re talking. It barely hits 0-60 in 7 seconds, and of course, has a big spoiler on the back.

To Conclude…

…the Renault Twizy is great for a niche of people, such as some city dwellers, but if you want a nice car with regular features that will last in the long run, it just won’t be for you. Perhaps if it had more systems inside it could appeal to a larger group, but for now it’s definitely not a good choice for extended use. I will applaud Renault however, for trying something new and interesting, as well as paying homage to the old Espace F1.


Image Credits

All images: Renault, Mad4Wheels

Mitsubishi 3000GT: October’s Car of the Month

Back with our next Car of the Month, a Japanese warrior on the road and track. From the wide selection of modifications to the unique design, this lovable sports car sometimes gets a little less credit than it deserves. Let’s go into some of the reasons why this Mitsubishi is a nice addition to the Car of the Month lineup.

Under the Hood

With the Japanese sports car market booming, there was no better time to release the 3000GT. Bursting out of the Mitsubishi manufacturing line, it set out to compete with popular opponents such as the Supra and 300ZX. Coming complete with 4WD and 222 horses on the base model, and a sub 6 second 0-60 for the high end VR-4 model, the 3000GT posed to be a worthy challenger among the rival Japanese engines.

Speaking of Challengers, the 3000GT was rebadged as the Dodge Stealth. Personally I don’t really like the look of the Stealth, but the 3000GT also goes by the Mitsubishi GTO which seems to be the more popular version, and it doesn’t look too bad. The 3000GT is at the top though, because it pairs the 90s Japanese car styling (most present at the back) with a more subtle yet aggressive looking front.

First generation 3000GT’s also contained something called Active Aero which, um, we don’t talk about. Let’s just say that it was more gimmicky than functional. All cars have their mistakes however, and this is one of the low few that the 3000GT has.

Community

As of today the modding community is still pretty active, and finding parts shouldn’t be a big issue. There are multiple tuning options out there to make your 3000GT a track beast or a drag monster, and there are some reported cases of achieving 1000+hp! The only time I’ve ever seen one with those numbers was back in the first Gran Turismo game, on the original PlayStation. Through multiple parts, you could get the GTO Twin Turbo to some serious speeds, but I never thought it would be possible in real life. Imagine the gas mileage.

In terms of the 3000GT buying market there’s quite the selection, so getting your hands on one shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Oh, and in 2017 there was a 3000GT VR-4 on sale for $500,000! Despite being gone now, it even went up to 1 BILLION in cost. Take a look here if you want to learn more, it’s an absolutely hilarious situation.

Why it’s Car of the Month

The 3000GT deserves the title of Car of the Month because it holds a certain piece of sports car history that can never be replicated, and while it’s not as popular as a Supra, it still displays the same qualities in it’s own way.

Congratulations, 3000GT

The Scoring Board

Performance: 4-8.5 | Luxury: 3.5 | Looks: 8

Performance: Why it gets a 4-8.5

The 3000GT gets a 4-8.5 in Performance because you can easily modify it from stock power to an insane 600 or even 1000hp. Sure, it won’t turn easily with that power, but the drag strip becomes trivial.

Luxury: Why it gets a 3.5

The 3000GT gets a 3.5 in Luxury because let’s be honest, that’s not what it’s built for and it shows. However, the interior works fine since a luxurious ride isn’t the point of buying a 90s Japanese sports car. I’m sure that with enough left over money from that quad turbo you put on the car, you could spruce up the inside.

Looks: Why it gets an 8

The 3000GT gets an 8 in Looks. Reread paragraph 3 if you don’t know why.


Image Credits

All images: Mitsubishi, Mad4Wheels

The Camry Collection, Part 1

I know. Although it’s not really as fast or interesting as some of the other cars I’ve discussed recently, the Toyota Camry plays an important role in many people’s daily lives, with millions upon millions being sold in its lifetime.

Today I’ll be ranking my top 20 favorite models of Camry. I was initially going to rank all of the generations, but upon realizing how many there were in total, (including facelifts, special editions, and the Thailandese models to name a few), I had to settle for top 20. So grab the wheel (and paddle shifters apparently when it comes to the more recent models) and drive through my selection.

Feel free to look up these generation numbers and see how your ranking compares.

The Rankings

20. XV40

Eh. That pretty much sums up what I think when I see this generation. It looked kind of awkward in my opinion, like it didn’t really know what it wanted to be. Some might say “At least there’s still the reliability that comes with the Camry name!”, but in this case, they might be wrong. Certain model years had an engine problem where the car would rapidly accelerate for no apparent reason, which, you know, could be a hazard for traffic and your life. Luckily, there was a recall for this. So if you own an XV40, get your hands on one of the replacement brake systems!

19. V10

While a V10 engine Camry has never come out of the factory, we still have the V10 generation Camry which was the first generation of them all. With a need to globally compete against the Accord, an army of sedan and liftback models spread outwards from Japan. The life of the Camry had begun. In terms of sheetmetal, it followed that 80s boxy look, which was quite unremarkable.

18. V20

With the V20 the Camry took a step forward in minor improvements. Still being pretty bland looking, I think that the late 80s Accord wins the points for design this time around. Also it was rebadged as a Holden, so I guess that counts for something.

17. V30

While the rest of the world got to sit with the V20, Japan exclusively got the V30 models, which completely reworked the outer designing. It had that long back light which sort of fizzled out in the 90s but has been greatly reemerging in recent years.

16. XV10

Have you ever wanted a widebody Camry without messing around the parts market, straight out of the factory? Well, here you go. Except replace widebody with “slightly wider V30 body”, and you get the XV10, a V30 for the rest of the world. It’s not anything too special, but the term “widebody Camry” definitely helps bring it to 16th.

15. V50

If you didn’t know, most of the above models could also be purchased under the name of “Toyota Vista”, a simpler version of the Camry which cost a little less. Despite the V50 being a Camry generation, it was only sold as a Vista. It came in your standard sedan body, and also came in the Ardeo form, which was a wagon. It looks great, but it builds off of the…

14. V40

…which saw significant design changes from the V30 and XV10, placing it higher. It became more blocky, but not in the bland 80s styling. It’s too bad that the Accord looked really close to it at the time, making it less distinct in the midsize sedan segment.

13. XV50

There’s a pretty visible difference between this and the XV40, so I guess that’s nice. It just doesn’t really look too good to me. It was the first Camry to feature paddle shifters on the SE models and above, which seems a little unnecessary on a Camry, but it’s a cheap way to practice your shifts when you’re off the track for those trackdayers out there (not really). Overall it still looks better than the XV40, but I won’t mention the facelift, as there’s a higher place on the list for that…

12. XV40 Prestige

Congratulations Toyota, you made the XV40 look good, even if that meant making it resemble nothing like an American XV40. Prestige model Camrys are completely redesigned to fit a luxury market, because in Asia, the Camry is a luxury fullsize sedan! Talk about changes. Gone are the days of compact Celica-Camry! Anyways, it looks good, and it’s too bad that it isn’t offered in America.

11. XV30

Where I live, this thing is everywhere. It looks nice enough, runs reliably for a very long time, and had a complete redesign from the XV20. The new platform it was on is the K Platform, which was used on the Highlander and Sienna as well. It may have placed higher on my list, but you’ll see.

10. Celica Camry

Here it is: the car that started it all. In 1979, the Celica gained a four door model on its lineup, with the Camry name attached. While it doesn’t look like much, I appreciate it for starting the popular Camry lineup, even if that comes in the form of a car 1/3 longer (Prestige). And with that, I put the list to a close until the next part, happy driving everyone!

Image Credits

All Images: Toyota, Mad4Wheels

Koenigsegg Quant: An Abandoned Project

Only three of these sun-fueled concept Koenigseggs exist, which is too bad.

Time to talk Koenigsegg, however, today isn’t about the upcoming Gemera or the insane top speed of the Jesko Absolut, but rather a step back to 2009. A new, creative model was in the development stage, and concepts were already being shown to the public. So…

…What Happened?

As I’m sure many of you know, Koenigsegg is a Swedish car manufacturer known for producing some of the fastest hypercars on the planet. In 2009, with the Agera’s debut on the horizon, another project was at hand.

The Koenigsegg Quant, a four seater solar powered sports car, was being created in the development stage. Koenigsegg partnered up with NLV Solar to make the car, a company whose technology would allow it to harness solar energy as a source of power. With a suggested top speed of 170mph and a claimed range of 300 miles, the Quant was in theory, amazing.

Design wise, the car is… interesting? I haven’t really formed an opinion yet on the design, but I think it’s been growing on me. The only thing that really indicates that it’s a Koenigsegg is the front bumper. Also, Hyundai apparently wasn’t the only manufacturer to provide an intriguing door setup a decade ago, as the Quant had two gullwing doors, providing access to both front and back seats.

It’s sad to say that the Quant never left concept form, as NLV abandoned the project. In 2014-15, the Quant F and Quant E hit the show floor as concepts, but that didn’t seem to revive the project. Seeing as NLV is out of business now, I doubt we’ll see another Quant anytime soon, if ever.

If the project had actually been produced, I think it would have been a nice success. Does the bankruptcy of NLV mean the end of solar power for Koenigsegg? I hope not. Maybe applying solar power to future hypercars could generate unheard of top speeds? If anyone could figure out how to boost performance of their cars through solar energy, I couldn’t see Koenigsegg stepping away from the challenge.

Image Credits

All Images: Koenigsegg, Mad4Wheels

Porsche Panamera: September’s Car of the Month

Let’s say you have a Porsche 911 in one hand. It’s a sports car (or arguably a supercar if you have the GT2 RS) that is built for performance and the track. In the other hand you have an IKEA Store, which is large, and filled with expensive items and furniture. Two very separate things that have their own goals and purposes. Now, put the two together and you get the Panamera. Plenty of space on the inside, fast, and “well furnished”. Can’t you see already why it’s Car of the Month?

The Panamera Purpose

The Porsche Panamera is a sports luxury executive car that provides the performance that Porsche fans know and love as well as space and luxury that rival the flagship BMW 7 Series. Upon its release to the public in 2009, it received plenty of praise for what it did best, which was provide the ultimate four seat comfort and luxury experience, along with ample trunk space.

Unfortunately, its power side didn’t provide a Porsche performance experience, and that made up the majority of its criticism. Luckily for those craving some extra horses, there is a wide selection of models to choose from here in 2020, ranging from the 325hp Panamera 4 to the 620hp Turbo S model. It would be hard to say a 2.9 second 0-60 doesn’t live up to the 911.

Past Panameras

Despite the first generation model being released in 2009, the Panamera’s roots go all the way back to the 80’s. It began with the development of the Porsche 989, which was set to be released in the early 90’s. Just like the Panamera its goal was to provide Porsche performance while having more space in the interior, and if you look up images of it there are some striking similarities to the Panamera’s design. The 989 was all set up to be officially produced but the head of the project left Porsche, leaving it a dead project…

…until the debut Panamera came along in 2009, wearing a title referencing the old Carrera Panamericana race. It certainly provided a sense of luxury, and the sheetmetal had a familiar “Bangle” look to it. From there it went on the road that the BMW 6 Series traveled by refining its looks (2013 Facelift). Unlike the 6 Series, instead of looking like a different model entirely today, it followed the Porsche design present in all of the other models. In my opinion, the current second generation of Panamera achieved the original goals of performance plus practicality.

Why it’s the Car of the Month

The Porsche Panamera deserves the title of Car of the Month for not only accomplishing its goal a hell of a lot faster than the Fisker Karma from last month, but for also showing Porsche’s ability to adapt to the current changing times, where SUVs and other practical vehicles are on the rise.

Congratulations, Panamera

The Scoring Board

Performance: 7.5 | Luxury: 9 | Looks: 7.5

Performance: Why it gets a 7.5

The Panamera gets a 7.5 in Performance for hitting 0-60 in 2.9 seconds with the high end model, despite it being on the heavier side of vehicles. Impressive, in my opinion.

Luxury: Why it gets a 9

The Panamera gets a 9 in Luxury because sometimes it’s praised to be one of the most comfortable cars in it’s segment, and it also packs in more luxury interior bits than Porsche’s coupe and cabriolet models.

Looks: Why it gets a 7.5

The Panamera gets a 7.5 in Looks because I enjoy the Bangle BMW cars and it strongly reminds me of them. The second generation also looks great since it uses the Porsche styling seen on the 911 and Cayman.


Image Credits

Panamera: Porsche, Mad4Wheels

Panamera GTS (First two images): Porsche, Mad4Wheels

Hyundai Veloster: A Tale of Four Doors

A Grey Veloster Turbo drives into the spotlight

So, let’s inspect the Hyundai Veloster. An affordable hatchback? Check. Unique sheetmetal? Check. Four doors? Check. Read over those again. Did you notice something wrong about that last one? If not, time to be surprised.

What is it?

The Hyundai Veloster is one of many entries into the hatchback list, but for some reason it’s classified as a coupe to some? I’m not sure why but for the sake of the article I’m calling it a hatchback because that’s primarily what it is. Now earlier I mentioned that it was a 4 door hatchback. I’m sure you’ve seen 3 or 5 door hatches, but 4? That’s because the Veloster has one door on the driver’s side, and two on the passenger’s side. Add the hatchback part and that’s 4 doors.

Now for the big question, why? Well, Coastal Hyundai says that there are three doors for the convenience of the driver. The door on the driver’s side is actually larger, so the driver can get in easier. The extra passenger side door is made for easy accessibility, where in normal 2 door cars, you’d have to climb into the back seat from the front door. To sum it up, having 4 doors total helps everyone out, while maintaining the lower price of a small hatchback.

Performance

Until the second generation of Veloster, it was disappointing that it didn’t really have an engine to match its looks. Now we have the optional Theta 2.0 liter engine that packs 271 horsepower into it, effectively providing the above criteria. The car also has its rally and track versions participating in races, and both look great.

To Conclude…

…the Hyundai Veloster is a small sporty hatchback that’s accessible for both driver and passenger, while also offering performance variants that provide a long awaited “fast engine”. The asymmetric styling certainly makes it stand out from other cars if one is observant enough to notice, and it conveys its asymmetry well. It reminds me of the Murcielago days (hopefully you understand). Thanks for a great hatchback, Hyundai.

Image Credits

2011 Hyundai Veloster: Hyundai, Mad4Wheels

2012 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: Hyundai, Mad4Wheels

Cars Around Town, Part 2

A 2000 M Coupe that is well maintained

Does the driveway look familiar? Welcome to part two of the Cars Around Town mini series. As mentioned in the conclusion of part one, here is the second car.

Who and What

Today’s car is the BMW M Coupe. Being from the year 2000, it’s around the mid cycle area for the model, and it’s owned by the same guy who had the Ferrari I wrote about. It represented an alternative to the Z3 M Roadster, and it was rarer. It’s funky looks have been a primary target for jokes, but I honestly think it doesn’t look bad.

History

Since the M Coupe was the first of its kind, the closest history would be the predecessors to the Z3 M, since they’re almost the same car. This ranges as far back as the BMW 303 from the 1930s, but its more famous relative, the Z1, is when the general shape began.

As far as performance goes, the Z3 M and M Coupe went through three engines in their lifetimes, the S50, S52, and S54, the latter being used in the M3 at the time. The horsepower ranged from the 200s and 300s depending on the engine, and under 5,000 total M Coupes were produced, making it pretty rare. I think I’ve only seen one or two out on the road excluding this one, which further proves my point.

Conclusion

Thanks once again to the man who let me photograph his cars. The M Coupe was a great sports car that was perfect for you if you wanted a smaller car in the “M” category. It’s lifespan was short but led on to the next generation by being a coupe model of the Z4 M. Unfortunately since last year’s Z4 redesign, there hasn’t been much mention of a coupe, only renderings. Since BMW could make more money by releasing a coupe model, I certainly see one coming soon.

Image Credits

All photos: Aaron M. Rodgers

Karma/Revero: August’s Car of the Month

Even though it was founded by a former Aston Martin employee, Fisker Automotive lived a rather short and unpleasant life. It was focused around making hybrid and electric cars, the most well known being the Karma. How did a short lived company make a Car of the Month entry? Buckle your seat belts everybody, it’s time to dive into Karma/Revero chaos.

Side note, this article is for you if you’re tired of the “Will it take down Tesla?!” articles that seem to plague every new electric or hybrid car released these days. (Lets be honest, Tesla is too far ahead in the electric market for any new release to rival its sales)

The Fisker Karma

Our car begins its journey in 2011. Fisker had been around for a few years creating the Karma, a hybrid complete with two electric motors and a 4-cylinder engine. The body was created by Henrik Fisker, who designed famous cars like the BMW Z8 and Aston DB9, and obviously, founded Fisker.

It takes about one look at the car to tell that it’s definitely something different, with its divided grille and diamond shaped exhaust port, but the individuality doesn’t stop there. The interior can be leather, or for a more environment friendly feel, repurposed lumber. A solar panel sits within the roof of the car, primarily to help interior climate control, but secondarily for giving the battery a slight charge while driving.

Coming out with a decently high price, sales were pretty slow, and a couple of recalls were issued due to battery risks. There were around three events where a Karma was suspected to start a fire, one of them setting a house alight and another during hurricane Sandy, where 16 burning Karmas took a poor Toyota Prius down with them. Fisker was also sued by Tesla, and some reviewers said it was a poor drive. I’d say this was a rough start. Oh, and I forgot to mention, two years into the car’s lifespan is when Fisker went bankrupt.

The In-between

If you didn’t know what happened next, you might be wondering why this is the Car of the Month. Things weren’t looking too good. Well, when Fisker filed for bankruptcy, the Chinese company Wanxiang Group decided to purchase certain assets, like the sheetmetal design, engine and hybrid motors, and even a Karma manufacturing facility. Add in three years of preparation and it’s not hard to figure out what happened next.

The Karma Revero

In 2016 out came the Revero, from the new company called Karma Automotive. It features almost all of the original Karma features, with slight changes in bodywork. Unfortunately, the 2016 Revero wasn’t much of a step up from the Karma, presenting bad reliability, however, each year since Karma has given it their all to make it a great car.

The new 2020 model seems to be the result of their hard work. It has less problems and provides some nice performance to the driver. It strips away the old looks for a sleek body that flows into itself while still remaining unique. I think that it represents a much clearer image of the goal that Henrik had, to make a luxurious hybrid production car.

I do believe that if Wanxiang can keep going the way that they are without disruptions, Henrik’s goal will be reached eventually. There’s one problem though. Fisker has started up again, and they plan to debut with the Fisker Emotion sedan this year, as well as a mass production SUV in 2022. This leaves me with a big question. Can it stand up to Tesla?

Just kidding. What I’m wondering is if Fisker will want to take the rights of the Revero back. If they do, will it devolve into what it originally was? Or become something better? I guess we’ll have to wait on that. Below you’ll find a dramatic bolded cliffhanger, which is supposed to hint to a future article or something like that.

To be continued…

Why it’s the Car of the Month

The Fisker Karma/Karma Revero deserves the title of Car of the Month for the journey that it is embarking upon to reach its initial goal from a decade ago. To go through bankruptcy, recalls, and poor reception, yet to be revived and experience similar problems but still be selling cars today is a marvel on its own. While the greatly improved 2020 Karma Revero is not the end of the journey, it’s safe to say that it’s on the latter half.

Congratulations, Karma and Revero

The Scoring Board

Performance: 4 | Luxury: 6 | Looks: 9.5

Performance: Why it gets a 4

The Karma/Revero gets a 4 in Performance because while it has about 400hp, it can only hit a 125mph top speed, despite a 4.5 second 0-60. It would be nice to see better engines in future models, which could be a real possibility if it keeps getting better.

Luxury: Why it gets a 6

The Karma/Revero gets a 6 in Luxury because its interior looks sort of minimal when compared to a BMW but it’s shaped more like a supercar’s.

Looks: Why it gets a 9.5

Karma/Revero gets a 9.5 in Looks because I really enjoy the exotic styling. There’s not really any other car that looks like it on the road.


Image Credits

Fisker Karma: Fisker, Mad4Wheels

Fisker Karma ES White Knight: SR Auto, Mad4Wheels

Karma Revero GTS (2020): Karma, Mad4Wheels

Cars Around Town, Part 1

Let this 308 Quattrovalvole welcome you into the “Cars Around Town Mini Series”

To get right down to the point, I’m going to be sprinkling a few short articles here and there about the cars in town that I photograph with permission from their owners.

Who and What

Today’s car is a beautiful Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole from 1985. It’s owned by a guy that I’ve met before, who has a nice garage complete with a lift and space for five cars. Being made in ’85, it was the last year of production for the 308. While only producing around 230 horsepower, the V8 inside lets out a loud growl that only a Ferrari could possess.

History

The 308 was the successor of the Dino, a legendary Ferrari, one of the first to be easily accessible to the public. It was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti, the man who was responsible for the styling of multiple famous Ferraris, like the Berlinetta Boxer. Some of you readers might recognize it from the original Magnum, p.i. show, as it was featured throughout its lifetime.

It wasn’t too cheap of a car, so if you didn’t want to pay the full price you could opt for the slower 208 models, which had a very similar look. Something interesting to see are the visual and internal differences between the US and European versions, and a keen eye can point them out. Since the Euro spec performs better, it will usually be priced higher on the market. I find it pretty surprising that the 308 actually had Rally Group 4 and B class models made, since “Ferrari” and “Rally” aren’t used in the same sentence often.

Conclusion

I want to thank the person who let me take photos of their car (you know who you are), which served as one of Ferrari’s first mass produced vehicles, and helped start the road to where the brand is today. I will be doing another article soon of a second car at the photo shoot.

Image Credits

All Photos: Aaron M. Rodgers

Nissan Z: From ’69 to Now and Rankings

While I’m not particularly a Nissan know it all, I still like their “Z” cars that have served as solid sports cars for half a century. Known to be fast yet affordable, today we’re diving into the history of what has brought us our modern 370z.

The Olden Days

On a crisp fall day in 1969, the first of many Nissan “Z” badged cars were released to the public. Named the Fairlady Z in Japan and the 240z in the US, it was a large success in both countries. Minor engine and part changes were applied to the car throughout its life cycle. In recent years there has been an uptake of people trying to get a hold of the car, as less and less are being found on the market. This article from Automobile goes more into the subject. If I had to rank the different generations of Z cars, this would get a respective second place, for starting a long lasting group of sports cars, and for its unique looks.

Following the success of the 240z, the early 70’s held the same gen successors, starting with the 260z. The power had to be lowered by US regulations, but other countries received a better engine within. Shortly after rolled out the 280z, making minor improvements.

Building off of the sales from the first three cars, the second generation 280zx arrived. While it appeared very similar on the outside, almost every feature of the car was made to feel more luxurious, and a T top model released alongside it. There were multiple engine configurations, one including a new turbocharger. I rank this car sixth, for looking nice on the inside but ultimately for not changing performance or looks too drastically.

End of Century Zs

The year ’84 yielded the new 300zx with its completely redesigned sheetmetal and bigger, better engine. I’ll say that I personally do not enjoy the look of this car. It looks a little too much like the 70’s Rx7, and its front just juts out like the ’91 Camaro. While it was greatly praised by its performance and even became the fastest Japanese car at the time, I can’t get over its looks. It gets fourth because the sale and performance numbers don’t lie; it was a truly amazing car in its time, despite looks.

Nissan transitioned into the 90’s with a completely remade 300zx, with a slightly better engine and smoothed out body. I give it first place because the looks this time around are my favorite by a mile. New engines made it stronger in performance later in its life cycle as well. Out of all the car people I’ve asked, no one really likes the fourth gen 300zx. I’m not sure why it appeals to me so much, it just does. It was highly praised like its predecessor, but inflation in price at the end of its life cycle substantially dropped sales.

The “Out of it” Z

While the Z series is known to have six generations as of now, I’m adding this car to the rankings as it stood out as a sort of sore thumb, and didn’t exactly belong to a specific generation. There was a short period in the late 90’s where Nissan stopped sending Z cars to the US, as their focuses lied elsewhere. As a drastic measure to have some sort of resemblance of a sports car at their dealerships, Nissan took many old 240zs and restored them to what I believe to be an unremarkable vehicle.

It’s almost as if Nissan took a 240z and softened its looks, muted its engine, and made it appear as a regular coupe. It was cast aside after a couple of years and never sold from dealers again. I give it seventh place, because of everything in this paragraph.

The Zs of Recent

After the 240z restorations, a new concept came out, the “Z Concept”. Renault had taken leadership of most Z related things, and this concept was definitely a step in a new direction, as far as design. In 2002 the Nissan 350z debuted, priced at a lower point than the late cycle 300zxs, using the engine within the current Skyline. This generation greatly improved everything from the 300zx, and multiple variations were released, including a powerful Nismo edition and a 35th anniversary model. This car gets third place from me, for not only improving the aspects of the 300zx, but for also being my favorite car at one point.

In 2008 the first 370z was released, becoming the fastest unmodified Z car Nissan has ever produced. It brought minor improvements and sharper looks to the table. It’s a great car and looks good, but the problem here is that it has overstayed its welcome. While the other generations of Zs lasted for a little under a decade, the 370z is approaching 13 years on the market, with little visual change. It gets fifth for being a decent improvement, but for not seeing any major changes throughout its extended lifetime. There is, however, a teaser for the new Z car, which looks promising enough.

Results

The Nissan Z generations have always been some of the most successful Japanese cars on the market and most likely will continue that way, as long as they move to a new generation soon. Also if you didn’t read the article here’s the final results of my ranking lined up.

1st: 300zx: Looks amazing in my opinion, performs exceptionally.

2nd: 240z: The one that started it all.

3rd: 350z: A new look and better driver.

4th: Initial 300zx: A very popular sports car, blowing all of the competition away.

5th: 370z: A refined 350z, starting to overstay its welcome.

6th: 280zx: Basically a luxury 240z, little additions in other areas.

7th: 1999 Nissan 240z Concept: An under powered 240z with unremarkable looks.


Image Credits

350z GT-S Concept: Nissan, Mad4Wheels

280z: Mason B., on Unsplash

300zx: Nissan, Mad4Wheels

370z: Nissan, Mad4Wheels