Combining styling cues from its ancestors with updated technology, the 2023 Nissan Z features a new powertrain and interior, but uses a transmission platform from the previous 370Z. The result is a modern and fun sports car that pays homage to its past without relying too heavily on retro elements and nostalgia to make it appealing.
Related: 2023 Nissan Z Review: Relatively Affordable, Lots of Fun
With a strong and enjoyable powertrain, sharp handling and an available six-speed manual gearbox, the new Z checks all the boxes for a proper sports car. And it’s relatively affordable to boot, undercutting the base price of the six-cylinder Toyota Supra, arguably its closest competitor, by more than $10,000.
We recently had the opportunity to test drive a 2023 Z and were impressed. We prefer it to the Supra in a few key areas beyond price: the Z impressed us as being more engaging behind the wheel, with a more comfortable cabin that better accommodates 6-foot drivers. The availability of a manual only adds to the appeal.
As usual, however, we’re not just here to sing the praises of the latest sports car to arrive on the block. For a deeper dive click the link above for Mike Hanley’s review. For a quicker look, read on – here are six things we like about the 2023 Nissan Z and two we don’t like.
things we like
1. Pleasant engine
The new Z is powered by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 shared with the Infiniti Red Sport Performance models. Good for 400 horsepower, it’s more than up to the task of revving the roughly 3,500-pound Z in a hurry. With maximum torque ranging from 1,600 to 5,200 rpm, low- and mid-range response is vastly improved over the naturally aspirated V6 of the old 370Z.
2. Transfer Options
To Nissan’s credit, the new Z is available with a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission. That said, the nine-speed automatic is the way to go if you want to squeeze the most power out of it. The automatic simply shifts faster than a human. But nothing beats a good manual transmission when it comes to engagement and driving pleasure.
3. Nimble performance
A double wishbone front suspension and rear multi-link design with mono-tube shocks provide nimble handling, and the Z holds its line into corners without fuss. The electrically assisted power steering replaces the hydraulic setup on the last 370Z and gives a light but direct and precise feel. The Z has firm suspension, although that wasn’t much of an issue on the slick Nevada roads where we had a chance to try it. On dual carriageways, the Z engages in a relaxed drive without the jitters of some performance cars.
4. Retro, but not
The styling of the new Z pays homage to previous Z cars without relying solely on fond memories when selling it. Various design cues of the new car are reminiscent of parts from previous generations, but the overall look is clean, cohesive, modern and stylish and likely won’t look like a caricature after a few seasons of sales.
5. Well designed cockpit
The all-new cabin inherits some design cues and includes more technical features. The three-piece instrument cluster on the dash will look familiar to Z fans, and an 8- or 9-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay enhances the Z’s connectivity. Seats with suede-style inserts are supportive and keep the driver in place , and a tilting and telescoping steering wheel helps even 6-foot drivers find a comfortable driving position.
- Reasonable base price
A starting price of around $41,000 (including Target) makes the Z a reasonable proposition compared to its competition, particularly the Supra. However, it’s a big jump from the base Z to the performance trim that adds $10,000. But even at around $51,000, it’s still less than a six-cylinder Supra.
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things we don’t like
1. Stiff ride
One downside to the new Z’s sporty handling is a ride that can only be described as stiff. Some buyers might be ok with that, or live in places where slick roads make it less of an issue, but we’ve yet to ride a Z on the punishing roads in and around our Chicago area. Even on the relatively good roads around Las Vegas, the suspension was adept at finding fault.
2. Street noise
Both Z-cars we drove were Performance trim models with larger 19-inch forged alloy wheels and more aggressive rubber than the base Sport trim. We noticed quite a bit of road noise, especially on rough pavement. This might be less of a problem with the base fairing, but we won’t know for sure until we can test it more thoroughly.
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