The 2023 Nissan Z is finally here.
Welcome to a global debut that’s been years — over a decade, actually — in the making. Meet the new 2023 Nissan Z. That’s right, not the “400Z” or some other number, just the ‘Z’. There is only one, after all, so why not keep things simple? And while that whole 2023 model year designation may have upset you, don’t worry: Nissan says the car will actually be on the streets in Spring 2022.
So what do we have here? If you were following the Z Proto for the last year, then you’ll already be pretty much up to speed on how the production model looks. Normally I’ll leave off actually having an opinion and just talk about the styling details here and couch everything in “styling is subjective”. I have to get it off my chest, though: Nissan did a damn good job designing this car. The front end evokes some of the best elements of the old Z cars, stretching all the way back to 1969 with the original 240Z (as well as its 260Z and 280Z successors). That includes the pattern in the grille, the bulge on the hood, the shape of the headlights and the roofline. Not to mention the Z badge on the rear quarter panel.
In terms of numbers, the 2023 Nissan Z largely retains the same dimensions as the old 370Z. It still has a 100.4-inch wheelbase, and its 72.6-inch width and 51.8 inches in height are the same as well. The new Z’s body has grown from the old car by nearly five inches, coming in at 172.4 inches.
The (on paper) performance
Pretty much since the Z Proto emerged, folks had a solid impression of what the new Nissan Z’s packing under the hood. You get a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged VR40DDTT V-6 engine, putting out 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Coincidentally, that’s 18 more horsepower but 18 fewer lb-ft of torque than the straight-six Toyota Supra. The 2023 Nissan Z sends all its power to the rear wheels through a 6-speed close ratio manual transmission by default. Or, if you’d prefer not to row your own gears, you can get a 9-speed automatic instead.
Nissan did not quote 0-60 times, but did mention that the extra oomph should yield about a 15% improvement in acceleration from the 370Z. Hopefully that means it will land somewhere in the mid-4 second range, though we’ll have to actually test it in the real world to find out. The new model has double-wishbone suspension up front and multi-link suspension in the rear, while you can also get larger, beefier brakes with larger discs 4-piston floating aluminum calipers front and rear. Stock, the Z comes on 18-inch wheels wrapped in Yokohama Advan Sport tires. As an option, though, you can get 19-inch forged alloy wheels with Bridgestone Potenza S007 high-performance tires.
Modern interior touches
It’s definitely no secret that the old 370Z was long in the tooth. Fortunately, the 2023 Nissan Z addresses that issue with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, up to a 9-inch infotainment screen and a host of other modern features. The Nissan Z Base trim offers up manually-adjustable cloth seats and a smaller infotainment system, but you still get modern safety tech including automatic emergency braking, high-beam assist and adaptive cruise control. Spring for the top-end Performance model, and you get heated, power-adjustable leather seats instead, as well as an 8-speaker Bose audio system.
What about a special edition?
For those of you who really want your Z to be special, Nissan’s also bringing the “Proto Spec” edition. That more or less adds in more features from the Proto, like the yellow-painted brake calipers, yellow accents throughout the cabin, the 19-inch forged wheels and exclusive suede and cloth trim on the doors. Only 240 Proto Spec Zs (three guesses how they landed on that number) will be available in the U.S., so you’ll have to act fast if you want to jump on the special edition.
One area of the 2023 Nissan Z we don’t know yet is pricing. Word has it Nissan plans to kick off the range in the mid-$30,000 range, which would really be a shot across Supra’s bow. Update: Nissan spokesman Dan Passe tweeted out that the base “Sport” model would start around $40,000. The Toyota, for its part, starts off at over $50,000 for the six-cylinder model, though a less expensive (less powerful) four-cylinder version is available.
We’ll know more on that in the coming months, but I’d expect the automaker to price its new sports car more in line with, but competitive against the Toyota Supra 3.0. As ever, we’ll have to wait and see.