The Nissan 300ZX and it's turbo brother were a much-needed breath of fresh air. By 1989, Nissan’s proud Z-car felt like a disco-age holdover, and the competition wasn’t much better. Mazda’s RX-7 Turbo had 200 hp and an identity crisis. The 232-hp Toyota Supra Turbo weighed more than a Cadillac Eldorado. Porsche charged $42,000 for a 944 S2 with a 208-hp four-cylinder, and only big discounts could move the 250-hp Corvette.
Into this fricassee blew the 1990 Nissan 300ZX, quickly recognized as the benchmark it was. When the 222-hp base model was followed in a few months by the 300-hp Turbo, the birth of the modern, affordable, high-tech sports car was complete.
“A near flawless mix of form, function, and class,” raved Car and Driver. A one-year evaluation led David E. Davis Jr. of Automobile to call the Turbo “as good a high-performance coupe as any company has ever built in any country at any price.”