• Auto123 reviews the 2023 Nissan Z.
The Nissan Z has been an icon, a poster-boy for the Affordable Sports Car genre, for nearly 50 years. The Datsun 240Z was introduced in October 1969 and has been charming driving fans ever since. The new generation of the Z carries on this legacy. Powered by a twin-turbo V6 engine, it offers modern-yet-retro styling, solid performance and an engaging driving experience. The spirit of the Z is safe in the hands of this new edition, even if it doesn’t get close to perfection.
2023 Nissan Z: What's new
The new-generation Nissan Z blends retro styling elements with contemporary flourishes as well as modern technological advancements. In response to the growing expectations of sports car enthusiasts, this version features a 400-hp turbo V6 engine, available with a 6-speed manual box or 9-speed automatic transmission. A Nismo version is in the works for 2024.
The interior benefits from a modernization effort that is as welcome as it is… incomplete. The infotainment system has been updated, and a configurable digital display for essential driver information is new. While these are clear improvements, they still fall short of what the competition offers in terms of technology and modernity.
2023 Nissan Z: Models and prices
Regarding the different available versions, the 2023 Z offers a variety of choices:
Z Sport: Starting at $46,498 - This base version comes packing a generous 400-hp engine and a manual gearbox. At this price, you'll have the essentials of the Z, which means power, the sound of the superb exhaust and, most importantly, driving pleasure. It represents an accessible entry into the world of the Z.
Z Performance: Starting at $58,498 - For performance enthusiasts, the Z Performance version adds improved features such as a sport-tuned suspension, limited-slip differential and upgraded brakes. The 19-inch wheels with summer tires enhance ground grip for a sportier driving experience.
Both of these are available with either a manual or automatic transmission, just pick your poison. We had occasion to drive the Z with auto transmission last year, and this year, the manual version. For a change, we actually had a strong preference for the automatic transmission. The manual requires the driver to always take half a second to ensure that the next gear is engaged before disengaging the clutch.
Competitors of the 2023 Nissan Z
The 2023 Nissan Z directly competes with models such as the Toyota Supra, providing an attractive alternative for sports-car enthusiasts. Other potential competitors include the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro, which also share the Z’s commitment to offering a mix of performance and style.
As it happened we test drove the BMW Z4 right after our week with the Z. Both cars, with equivalent power, offer the same driving enjoyment. Both V6 engines, one offering 380 hp and the other 400 (in RWD configuration), allow you to get the rear end dancing as desired. The only real difference is the price. The Z is available for as little as $46,498, while the Z4 with the M40i engine will require you fork over more than $83,000.
Which version to choose
Considering the balance between performance and features, the Z Performance version offers the best value. With its improvements in suspension, brakes, and ground grip, it provides a more dynamic driving experience without sacrificing comfort. This version is aimed at drivers looking for an optimal combination of performance and convenience.
The final word
The 2023 Nissan Z continues the glorious sports tradition of the Z lineup. With its technical improvements, irresistible design, and various versions, it offers a wide range of options for sports driving enthusiasts. Whether you want to experience the legendary world of the Z for the first time or seek thrills behind the wheel, one thing is certain: this car will continue to honor the Z's sporting heritage, and you'll appreciate every moment behind the wheel... We can't wait for next summer to get behind the wheel of the 2024 version.