Preview: 2023 Nissan Z
A legend is reborn.
The 2023 Nissan Z marks a return to its roots as a driver-focused sports coupe. Not that it has been in recent years, but Nissan is making a stand when it comes to the one car that has made the greatest impact on the company’s history.
From the legend that began in the fall of 1969, the Nissan Z evolved into something that has the enthusiast community perking up. Perhaps because it packs a lot of promises that is attracting even the most skeptical among the crowd.
The question remains whether the 2023 Nissan Z does fulfill its promises. We went to Las Vegas on Nissan’s invitation to find out.
One look at the 2023 Z will give you one clue. While the shape emulates the original 240Z, there are plenty of elements from other generations of Zs. However, the front end is clearly from the first one with headlamps giving off the 240Z’s vibe, as well as the squared-off grille and hood line.
The roofline also following the original’s design, with a few modern aerodynamic lines. This leads to a rear end that takes clues from the four-generation Z - the 1990 300ZX. With this mix of heritage and modern elements, the new Z boldly makes a statement of its intentions as its returns to its sports coupe roots.
The mix of past and present elements can be inside the of the Z. Modern elements include a fully digital instrument cluster, infotainment touchscreen, and a shift-by-wire actuator for the automatic transmission. However, there a lot of traditional touches to the Z’s interior, such as the three round gauges on top of the center stack, seat adjustment knobs on the outboard side, along with a couple of toggles for power adjustments on the inboard side of the seat, and a real handbrake.
There’s only seating for two. They’re comfortable, supportive, and fatigue-free. You will find a good position behind the steering wheel with plenty of outward front and side vision, Rear vision is narrow from the driver’s perspective. Cargo space is accessible from the hatchback and offers more than enough space for a weekend getaway.
The main attraction is underneath the hood. The 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 propelled this 3,600-pound sports coupe like no other Z before. It has instant response from the throttle and an exhaust note that befits the new Z’s mission.
You can get it with a six-speed manual transmission. However, our tester has the available nine-speed automatic transmission, which delivered quick shifts and excellent delivery from the throttle. The Z only comes in rear-wheel drive.
There is an expectation that the new Z should drive the way it looks. While that is true, you will find that it offers great roadholding, cornering, and a firm ride overall. In Sport mode, you will definitely find great control overall when tackling the twisty roads we found outside of Las Vegas. On the freeway, the Z commands the road with quick lane changes and great poise while in traffic.
We like the electric steering system in the Z as it does its best to give you a quick response and overall control. On-center feel was fine but improved in Sport mode. The brakes are pretty good with solid pedal feel and response down to the wheels. We found confident stops in normal and panic situations
Pricing for the 2023 Nissan Z starts from $39,995 for a Sport model with a manual transmission. There are two trims, including the Performance model. There will also be a limited edition first-run model, limited to 240 units.
Obviously, the new Z will be compared to no end with all other sports coupes. The first of many contenders will be the Toyota GR Supra. From there, you can add the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, Aston Martin Vantage, Mercedes-AMG GT coupe, and any other two-seat sports coupe costing many thousands of dollars more than the 2023 Z.
On many levels, the Nissan Z has returned to its roots. However, it is also a modern sports coupe that is designed to thrill both then driver and passenger. Add the price point and performance, and you get a great combination that will satisfy you for years on end. That is what we expected from a new Z.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors