Overview & Reviews
If there's ever been a Nissan worthy of an E! True Hollywood Story, it's the Z. It's all there: instant fame upon its debut, lots of sex (OK, maybe sexy bodywork is more accurate), an unsavory weight gain, a turn to anonymity, a wrongful death and then, finally, miraculous rebirth.
Playing a starring role in all of this is the fourth-generation Nissan 300ZX. Debuting for the 1990 model year, the 300ZX was the quickest, fastest and best-handling Z to date. Even when viewed from a modern-day perspective, the top model, the 300ZX Twin Turbo, still has a dazzling stat sheet. To wit: a twin-turbo V6 engine belting out 300 horsepower, a sophisticated four-wheel independent suspension and available "Super HICAS" rear-wheel steering. Depending on which published road test you look at, the 300ZX Twin Turbo could reach 60 mph between 5 and 6 seconds flat.
The Nissan 300ZX could also outrun just about every competitor at the time. It couldn't, however, outrun fate. The car's costly technological hardware combined with the U.S. dollar's weakness against the yen in the mid-'90s drove the price up, effectively killing this former sports car bargain. Nissan stopped importing the 300ZX to the U.S. after the '96 model year.
For someone interested in a used sports car, this 300ZX and its depreciated pricing are very tempting. But there are caveats. Though the car has a pretty good reputation for reliability, Nissan did pack a lot of technology into it that can go wrong. And since it's a sports car, the odds of finding one that hasn't been wrecked, beat on or modified by a dim-witted previous owner are quite slim. Make sure you do a thorough inspection and obtain as much of the car's history as possible before considering a purchase.
Most recent Nissan 300ZX
There were four models available for the fourth-generation Nissan 300ZX: a coupe, a "2+2" coupe, a convertible (from 1993 and up) and the 300ZX Twin Turbo coupe. The 2+2 had an approximately 5-inch-longer wheelbase to provide room for two vestigial rear seats.
Regular 300ZXs came with a 3.0-liter V6 that produced 222 hp and 198 pound-feet of torque. The Turbo had a modified version of the same engine. Thanks to intercooling and a single turbo for each cylinder bank, it produced 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Power was applied to the rear wheels through a standard five-speed transmission and limited-slip differential. A four-speed automatic was optional. Turbo models fitted with the automatic were rated at 280 hp.
The Z coupe's hatchback body style provided a fair amount of utility, and the roof could be either solid or a T-top design with removable panels. In its first few years, the Nissan 300ZX consistently impressed reviewers with its attractive styling, power and handling performance. If there were complaints, they usually involved the car's curb weight, which hit 3,500 pounds in Twin Turbo form.
Changes to this generation Nissan 300ZX were minimal. In 1992, a driver-side front airbag became standard. The following year was the first year for the convertible. In 1994, Nissan made a passenger-side airbag standard. For the car's final year of 1996, Nissan discontinued the Turbo model's variable camshaft timing. Horsepower was still rated at 300, though some Z enthusiasts claim there was a slight actual power drop because of the change.
For information about the previous-generation 300ZX and a complete history of the Nissan Z, please view our Nissan Z Car history page.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 19.00
Best Damn Car Built. - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By Z-animal - August 22 - 2:00 am
This is the greatest sports machine ever. The smooth looks mixed with the amazing power, i couldn;t ask for more.
Car of my Dreams - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By Wareagle - October 20 - 10:00 am
A great road car, just running through the five speed gear box just makes you think of Le Mans. I hate to sell this car of my dreams, but health conditions will not allow me to drive in the future. Whomever buys this car complete with a bumper to bumper warranty to 84000 miles. It was the car of my dreams!!!!
good - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By jamal - September 21 - 10:00 am
this car is a very nice car andit is very very fast
My Dream Car - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By Kathy S - March 21 - 5:13 pm
I bought my car, never test driven by others, with 3 miles on it. She now has 218K and runs like shes still new. All the power, all the beauty, all orginial parts including engine & transmission! Im finally ready to sell her, and find it so hard as I know Ill never own another car like this (hardwood floors winning out). The power makes this car fast, furious and fun. The handling is beyond perfect, and head turning quota off the charts. As a female owner, I loved being in the league with the mostly male owners of this car and everywhere I go am constantly asked if I will sell it. Sadly, my answer will now be yes. Hardly any expenses aside from normal upkeep. A dream to own!
Baby Car - Still in Love after 16 Years - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By dani300zx - April 16 - 10:58 am
Bought this car new in 1996 and still cannot bear the thought of parting with her (so I probably wont ever). Beautiful inside and out and an absolute blast to drive. Probably the best sports car ever made that cost less than $100K new (and, yes, I have driven, evaluated and photographed cars costing that much).
300 zx power - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By manzella womble - December 20 - 2:00 am
best sports car ever introduced into the market!
this car should be the car of choice - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By elias lujan - September 20 - 10:00 am
it was a great car with outstanding handeling. i coulg almost miss a turn because of another car and then get around them and still make the turn. it was the best car ive ever driven in my life. my dad says the same and he races quarter miles. it was the best car ever no competition from any other. (Ford, Chevy, etc...
Timeless look - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By Fkz32 - August 26 - 10:00 am
I drive a 96 NA 225hp and love the design, solid build, and interior. The handling and suspension is great. Only minus is the braking on this car versus others in its class.
dream come true - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By badger - July 27 - 10:00 am
Hunted a while for one in good shape finally found it. This car is not a turbo, but still has great performance and handling. very fun to drive and will turn heads for many years to come.
Once U Go Z Youll Never Go Back - 1996 Nissan 300ZX
By Mr. Z - June 16 - 2:06 pm
My 1996 Nissan 300ZX 2+2 is amazing. I just got it a couple of weeks ago and I cant stop driving it. Although its not the twin turbo model, it is still got a lot kick to it. The bose sound system and t-tops add to the ultimate driving experience. The original sticker price was way to high when first released, but now that I could afford it, I went for it. No Regrets either!