Features

Just looking – Nissan 200SX (S14)

Tired of the relentless march of technology-assisted performance? 1990s Nissan is here to help...

Navigate the front page of evo.co.uk this week and you’ll be bombarded by the technologically advanced – electric record-breaking Corvettes, V12 hypercars, Bugatti’s new showroom and the Porsche Mission E.

Each meriting coverage, of course, but it does make you pine for simpler times, of sweet front-engined, rear drive balance, of manual gearboxes and brawny engines.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Just Looking delivered all that last week in the form of a tidy E34-generation BMW M5 but this week we’ve gone even more down-to-earth with a Nissan 200SX.

Like the BMW, it’s best-known among enthusiasts by its internal model designation, here S14. That distances it from the S15 that followed (and was never officially imported to the UK) and the appealing early 90s curves and pop-up headlights of the S13.

This particular example, on sale with Tom Harvey in London and spotted via Classic and Performance Car, is a 1997 example and as such boasts a facelift that brought welcome aggression to the otherwise indistinct visage of the pre-facelift cars.

They were never rated for their styling back in the day (evo’s predecessors at Performance Car deplored its ‘Japanese blandness’ in December 1995) but today it’s an attractively simple and well-balanced shape. Made nicer still by seeing it in pure, standard form – drifters (of the tyre-smoking rather than vagrant kind) have all but decimated original S14 numbers.

The 200SX has always been great to drive, too. While Performance Car wasn’t keen on the styling, it finished third in a ten-car coupe test in that issue on handling and performance merit. The Nissan tailed an E36 BMW 323i, but was described as ‘right on the BMW’s tail in the desirability stakes.’

Thank the 200bhp, turbocharged four-cylinder for that (the BMW's inline-six made only 170bhp, and 181lb ft of torque to the Nissan's 195lb ft), and its ‘ripping mid-range acceleration’. Its ‘very entertaining’ rear-drive chassis also received commendation. A 6.8-second 0-60mph time is still respectably brisk by modern standards, and the appeal of a small coupe body and manual ‘box is, if anything, stronger than ever.

That’s something Nissan still offers of course, in the form of the 370Z. Given the rising appeal of clean 200SXs the price of this 1997 example, at £8995, would almost get you a tidy, used 370Z (and comfortably get you its 350Z predecessor).

Which raises an interesting conundrum: What exactly would you do with this seemingly pristine, black-on-black, 34,000-mile S14?

We’re not fans of storing cars away never to be used, but at which point does one choose preservation – even of a car with driving pleasure so plainly at its core – over hard use? Answers on a nice, old-tech postcard.

> Find Nissan 200SXs for sale on Classic and Performance Car

Recommended

Visit/subaru/wrx-sti/202994/new-subaru-wrx-wrx-sti-and-brz-confirmed-in-leaked-plan
Subaru WRX STi

New Subaru WRX, WRX STI and BRZ confirmed in leaked plan

14 Aug 2020
Visit/porsche/911-gt3-rs/202983/porsche-911-gt3-rs-receives-the-manthey-racing-treatment
Porsche 911 GT3 RS coupe

Porsche 911 GT3 RS receives the Manthey Racing treatment

11 Aug 2020
Visit/porsche/911-targa/202979/porsche-911-targa-4s-2020-review-the-oddball-911-thats-a-refreshing
Porsche 911 Targa

Porsche 911 Targa 4S 2020 review - the oddball 911 that’s a refreshing alternative

10 Aug 2020
Visit/porsche/cayman/202238/porsche-718-cayman-gts-40-2020-review-a-cut-priced-gt4
Porsche Cayman

Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 2020 review - a cut-priced GT4?

8 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/m3/202991/new-bmw-m3-touring-confirmed-yes-we-said-m3-touring
BMW M3

New BMW M3 Touring confirmed - yes, we said M3 Touring

Sixth generation M3 to offer Touring body for the first time to rival RS4 and C63 estate
12 Aug 2020
Visit/advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
Features

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
13 Aug 2020
Visit/subaru/wrx-sti/202994/new-subaru-wrx-wrx-sti-and-brz-confirmed-in-leaked-plan
Subaru WRX STi

New Subaru WRX, WRX STI and BRZ confirmed in leaked plan

Subaru is developing new WRX, WRX STI and BRZ models in sports car offensive, but UK sales remain unconfirmed.
14 Aug 2020
Visit/mercedes/s-class/22543/new-mercedes-benz-s-class-interior-revealed
Mercedes S-Class

New Mercedes-Benz S-class interior revealed

The new S-class is the most important new Mercedes-Benz coming this year​, here’s an early look at its tech-filled interior
13 Aug 2020