The Z31 and Z32 feature a 3.0litre, V6 naturally-aspirated and single (z31) or twin (z32) turbocharged engine. Although both motors are from the same VG series and have the same displacement, the output of the Z32's VG30DE and VG 30DETT is greater than the Z31. The VG30DE series is also double overhead cam and variable valve timing variable valve timing.< while the older VG30 is a single overhead cam design. The naturally-aspirated Z32 has 222hp (166kW) and 198lb·ft (268N·m) of torque versus the Z31 with 160-165hp and 174lb·ft (236N·m) of torque. Similarly, the twin-turbo Z32s have 300hp (220kW) and 283lb·ft (384N·m) torque versus the single turbo Z31, which has 200-205hp and 227lb·ft (308N·m) of torque. The Z32's twin turbo motor is also intercooled unlike the z31 turbo.
The Z31 chassis was designed after the previous Z-car, the Nissan 280ZX, and had two special editions based on it. The 50th Anniversary Edition focused on luxury to celebrate the company's semi-centennial in 1984, while the Shiro Special, released 4 years later, boasted performance-oriented upgrades. Styling would be completely redesigned with the release of the Z32, tending toward finer curves and more efficient aerodynamics. The newer chassis also featured hydraulic rear wheel steering called HICAS (in 1994 changed to an electric actuator called SuperHICAS), in its top-of-the-line models. Although it was not a special edition, in 1996 Nissan designated the final 300 American units the Commemorative Edition. Production of the Z32 ceased outside of the home market and continued in Japan until August 2000.
True to its heritage, the race-only 300ZX cars had several notable victories, including the 1986 Trans Am series and the 1994 24 Hours of Daytona. However, auto sports politics and a controversial GTS-1 class win at the 24 Hours of LeMans that same year prompted the International Motor Sports Association to declare the twin turbo engine illegal for future competition. The 300ZX also holds the E/BMS land speed record of 419.84km/h (260.87mph) from the 1991 Bonneville Speed Trial.