For that reason, Nissan is forgoing its Direct Adaptive Steering.
The Nissan 400Z doesn't have to be the quickest car in the world - not even in its segment. It just has to feel good.
That's the underlying message delivered by Nissan's Senior VP of Global Product Planning, Ivan Espinosa, in a recent roundtable chat with Australian media. Motoring reports that the exec was asked specifically about Nissan's DAS - Direct Adaptive Steering - system, and whether it would make an appearance in the new Z.
It's something of a heated question, DAS being almost universally panned as a numb, lifeless facsimile of a steering system, which uses fully digital drive-by-wire technology rather than maintaining a direct mechanical link between the steering wheel and the front wheels.
It's comforting that Mr. Espinosa reportedly laughed at the question.
"The intention with this car is to give a very pure driving experience," Espinosa explained. "I would describe it as authentic and pure. This is what we are trying to achieve and the proof of that is that we have a manual transmission.
The concept version of the car, dubbed the Z Proto, was revealed earlier this week sporting a manual transmission and a sleek fastback body that takes cues from the styling of Fairlady Zs past. Most notably, the headlights were shaped after those first seen on the original Datsun 240Z, and the taillights took inspiration from the design featured on the 300ZX.
Nissan, it seems, is determined to get back to its roots with the 400Z.
At the same time, the Z "is not about being the fastest," Espinosa says. "Of course, it needs to be a fast car, because it's a sports car, but the reality [is that Z] is about the [driving] experience - [being] blended and connected with the car. This is the line of thought we had when we started to tune the car, decide what sort of hardware we should put in the car - all these things were considered following this line of thought."
The production Nissan 400Z isn't expected to show for another year or two, launching as a 2022 model, or possibly even a 2021. It will be underpinned by a tweaked and massaged version of the "Front Midship," or "FM," platform that underpins cars like the Infiniti Q60 and the current Nissan 370Z. Power is expected to come from a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6.