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Opinion: Is driving joy now a thing of the past?

By Andy Enright, 11 Nov 2020 Features

Porsche Taycan

Andy ponders if the concept of driving joy is now something confined to history

Is finding joy in driving something that’s rooted in the past? The reason I ask is that I’ve just had a chat with Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s head of design.

The Cuban’s usually cheery demeanour grew a little wistful when considering what the forthcoming Z-car means to Nissan.

While chewing the fat over the fact that the Z has a foot in the past with such obvious retro touches to its styling, the vibe from him seemed to be that retro was appropriate because enjoying driving is a retro activity in and of itself.

That philosophy earns a hard disagree from me.

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I have absolutely zero doubt that we will grow to adore cars powered by something other than an internal combustion process.

It might take time but we’ll get there. It took me about as long as it takes to get a Porsche Taycan Turbo S sideways on a German test facility last year to start feeling the love, but your mileage may well vary.

For as long as we’ve had any sort of transportation, there’s been a desire to make it faster, more exciting and more desirable.

I reckon that’s what the MOTOR family lives for and it’s not about to change anytime soon.

Nissan Z Proto driving

But if Nissan wants to serve us up a throwback, I’m far from opposed.

Just make it a good one. A 370Z with a little less weight, a more modern interior and a gutsier engine is a formula that still has me more than juiced.

Who wouldn’t be? If Nissan’s product life cycle for the 370Z is anything to go by, we’ll still be featuring the next Z in comparos in 2034. No wonder Albaisa feels a certain weight of responsibility to get the look and feel right.

And while it’s been something of an embarrassment to many that Australia’s lax emission laws have seen this country described as the dumping ground for the world’s least efficient engines,

I’m guessing that more than a few of you can see the minority-interest silver lining here. Nissan has already announced that the Zed’s not going on sale in Europe due to emissions laws. But it’ll come here. There are reasons why guilty pleasures feel so good.

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Talking of guilty pleasures, I’ve been busy getting my feet under the MOTOR editor’s desk this month.

Many of you will know me from Wheels, where I’ve been for the past few years, but since Dylan hopped the aisle to Wheels, I’ve sidled into the big seat here.

Nobody seems to have noticed, and I figure if I shave my head and glue the clippings to my chin, I could get away with this for a while.

In the meantime, it looks like we’re finally starting to emerge from COVID lockdown, so the team will soon get back to making more Aussie-exclusive content.

There will be other changes, some of which are pretty seismic. Firstly, we’re no longer part of the Bauer business so have new owners, with a new vision.

Secondly, I’d like to thank long-time columnists Dave Morley and Tim Keen for their service to the mag for so long, as this month’s will be their final columns before some new voices enter the mag next month.Pretty solid knock by both of ’em.

Thirdly, we’re working on getting our pages back for a bigger, chunkier mag. Most importantly, thank you for your loyalty and patience throughout these trying times.

This column appeared in MOTOR magazine - grab it now by subscribing right here!

MOTOR magazine cover