In 2023, Nissan introduces the Z, an alluring two-seat sports coupe with enduring proportions and a remarkable new outline. Priced at around $41,000, this vehicle steps into the arena, ready to take on American muscle cars and popular models like the Toyota GR Supra, Toyota 86, Subaru BRZ twins, and Hyundai N models.
Embracing its heritage, this rear-wheel-drive coupe comes with a standard 6-speed manual transmission, while also incorporating modern elements like eye-catching aesthetics, improved structural strength, enhanced power, and the latest safety and convenience technologies.
After a brief absence in the 2021 and 2022 model years, the Z makes a comeback under a singular trademark letter, but it remains built on the foundation of its predecessor, the 370Z. Notably, this revamped version showcases advancements in durability, rigidity, noise reduction, acceleration, contemporary features, and overall performance.
To tap into the Z’s full potential, CarFanaticsBlog had the opportunity to test the Performance model, which is available for an additional $10,000.
Nissan takes inspiration from its iconic heritage, channeling the timeless appeal of an earlier era when crafting their latest rear-wheel-drive sports coupe. The car boasts a distinct design, featuring modern elements like oval LED headlights with running lights and sleek LED taillights, evoking memories of a legendary sports car from a bygone time.
The captivating Two-Tone Seiran Blue TriCoat takes the spotlight on our Z test car, offering an alluring aesthetic enhancement that comes at an extra $1,295.
Step into the cabin, and you’ll be greeted by a welcoming interior offering a cozy atmosphere. The upholstery options, available in either red or blue, allow you to personalize your space. Our test car, for instance, boasted a harmonious blue interior that perfectly complemented the exterior. Notably, the cabin design incorporates a classic sports car aesthetic, complete with a thoughtfully angled dashboard that places the driver at the center of attention.
Nissan takes the driver-centric approach to the next level by placing essential gauges right atop the dashboard. These gauges cover crucial aspects like turbo boost, turbo speed, and voltage, ensuring that important information is always within the driver’s line of sight. To add even more depth to the driving experience, the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster can be upgraded to include oil and water temperature gauges, providing valuable insights for those seeking optimal performance.
As for interior customization, the only available options are the $400 floor mat package and the $500 illuminated kick plates in black metallic. For added ambiance, interior accent lighting is also available for an extra $445.
The new Z is equipped with a potent twin-turbo 3.0-liter DOHC V-6 engine featuring an integrated exhaust manifold, which is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission. This dynamic combination delivers an impressive 400 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, available as low as 1,600 RPM.
In the Performance model, a standard limited-slip differential propels the coupe to 60 miles per hour in approximately 4.5 seconds when equipped with the six-speed manual. The engine reaches its peak horsepower at 6,400 RPM, ensuring the Z possesses ample power even at the limit, making high-speed highway passes effortless.
The six-speed transmission harmonizes seamlessly with the potent engine, offering a well-spaced shift pattern, medium throws, and a perfectly balanced clutch. This coordination guarantees a smooth and enjoyable driving experience.
Enhancing driving convenience, the new Z features the “SynchroRev Match” system as standard in its higher “Performance” trim. This system is designed to replicate the technique of “heel-toe-like downshifting.”
When combined with the close-ratio six-speed transmission, achieving seamless and flawless downshifts becomes more accessible, providing a sense of mastery and confidence while driving.
Despite a slight increase in weight compared to its predecessor, the 370 model, the Z remains remarkably responsive, thanks to additional chassis stiffening. The Z confidently tackles corners with refined agility, responding swiftly to steering inputs.
Although the Z may not achieve the same turning speed as certain rivals, its remarkable ease of motion becomes evident during extended, sweeping maneuvers, offering an incredibly satisfying driving encounter. The steering and chassis both stand out in delivering accurate responses, boosting driver confidence as they establish a tactile connection with the road’s surface.
Our Z Performance test car comes with a base MSRP of $49,990. However, when considering all the mentioned options in the review, the total price increases to $53,655. Opting for the Performance trim, akin to the one tested, adds an extra $10,000 to the overall cost.
The higher price proves to be worthwhile due to the added benefits, which include larger wheels, an upgraded touchscreen, a limited-slip differential, and various other enhancements. These features make the Performance trim an appealing choice, justifying the higher investment for an enhanced driving experience.
The introduction of the Nissan Z injects a renewed vigor into the world of budget-friendly sports cars, featuring an authentic rear-wheel-drive coupe. This release might serve as motivation for American muscle car manufacturers to persist with their iconic models like the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger, even amidst the industry’s shift towards a fully electric vehicle lineup.
When assessing the vehicles in this category, the Toyota GR Supra and the new Z emerge as the slight favorites due to their remarkable features, despite the GR Supra being priced higher than others.
Moreover, the BMW M240i holds a certain aspirational appeal and also pays homage to the Bavarian brand’s heritage of rear-wheel-drive vehicles.