More than 50 years ago, an all-new Datsun 240Z arrived in New York City and changed the way America looked at sports cars. Since then the Z-car has evolved over multiple generations and today Nissan introduces an all-new 7th generation of this legendary sports car — the 2023 Nissan Z, now packing 400 horsepower with performance and styling reminiscent of the original model. (Note that the 2023 model will be called Z — no engine designation, simply Z.)
Best Z Yet
“Simply put, our goal is to make this the best Z yet, period. With each generation, we raise the bar, pushing the limits of Z and continuing to tap into the human instinct for that next thrilling journey,” said Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist of the new Z. “More than just powerful and agile, the 2023 Z is designed to be one with the driver for all kinds of on-road adventures,” Tamura noted.
One look at the new Z and it’s clear that designers spent time poring over previous generations — especially the original 240Z. The long hood and roofline that flows smoothly from the top of the windshield to a low-stance rear end is much like the silhouette of the first-generation. And while it pays homage to the original, the new Z features LED lighting with unique half-circles within the headlights inspired by the Japan-market-only 240ZG of the 1970s.
The new Z’s rear hatch is ultrathin and dovetails well with its large rear fenders, emphasizing this rear-drive sports car’s power. Rear combination lights are much like those found on the 300ZX from the early 1990s, only these take advantage of modern technology with a signature 3D look. The Nissan Z Performance trim features a rear spoiler to reduce lift while adding to the car’s overall sporty stature. A standard dual exhaust completes the look.
Past and Future
“Inspired by the voices of thousands of Z owners and Z lovers, and ignited by internal conversations around the six generations of Z that have come before, we found ourselves gravitating towards the sketches that touched the high points of certain decades while remaining true to our vision of the future,” said Alfonso Albaisa, global head of design at Nissan. “Ultimately, we created a Z that travels between the decades while being completely modern,” Albaisa enthused.
Sport and Performance
The new Z will be available in two trim levels: Z Sport and Z Performance. Both come well equipped; however, the Z Performance adds front chin and rear spoilers, a sport-tuned suspension, a limited-slip differential, a performance-grade muffler, larger wheels and tires, and Nissan Sport brakes. Inside, the Performance trims upgrade with aluminum pedals, a larger display and a Bose 8-speaker audio system.
Under the Hood
A 3.0-liter twin turbo V6 engine powers the 2023 Nissan Z, producing 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque — the latter available at a low 1600 rpm. The new engine represents a jump of 68 horsepower over the current 370Z, which should deliver a zero-to-60-mph time of around 4 seconds.
In keeping with proper sports cars, power in the 2023 Nissan Z gets sent to the rear wheels via a close-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox with an EXEDY high performance clutch. Those Z cars equipped with the manual gearbox feature a carbon fiber composite driveshaft as well as available SynchroRev Match, which automatically blips the throttle for perfect shifts every time. And for the first time, Nissan will offer the manual transmission with launch assist to provide smooth acceleration from a standstill. Buyers will also have the option to choose a 9-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
Although we haven’t had a chance to get behind the wheel of the new Z, we anticipate that Nissan engineers stepped up to the task of ensuring that the new Z performs considerably better than the outgoing model. Chassis, steering and suspension systems have been tuned to keep the driver connected to the car. Improved body rigidity, electronic power steering and wider front tires should further enhance overall drivability. We look forward to the day we can provide consumers with firsthand reporting about how this new Z handles in myriad situations.
Wheels and Tires
Speaking of tires, the 2023 Nissan Z Sport will ride on 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels fitted with Yokohama ADVAN Sport high-performance tires, while the Z Performance trim gets 19-inch RAYS super lightweight forged aluminum alloy wheels mounted with Bridgestone Potenza S007 high-performance tires. Vented disc brakes are standard on both variants; however, the Z Performance upgrades to 4-piston front brakes with red calipers.
Expression of Thrill
“Z is the pure expression of Thrill. It is Nissan’s passion wrapped up on four wheels,” said Ashwani Gupta, representative executive officer and chief operating officer at Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “The new Z retains its authenticity as a pure sports car to keep you connected to the road while bringing in the latest modern technologies to make sure the car can help keep you connected to your life,” Gupta observed.
Inside, the new Z contains an appropriate mix of modern technology and features with nods to past Z cars. At the top of the center stack are three classic analog gauges displaying turbo boost, turbo turbine speed and voltage, while directly below sits a modern 8-inch touchscreen display (a 9-inch display on Performance trims). Climate controls are easily accessible ahead of the shifter.
In front of the driver — behind a new deep-dish steering wheel — is a 12.3-inch configurable display designed to provide all pertinent information via three modes. Enhanced mode puts a large navigation map between the gauges, while Sport moves the tachometer to the center and can feature a boost gauge or G meter.
Not only are seats in the new Z stylish, but they should also offer decent support with strong side bolsters and expanded use of suede in the seatback to reduce movement during spirited driving. Sport trims come with black woven cloth seats, while Performance trims upgrade with leather trim, power operation and heat functions.
Nissan will also offer a special Proto Spec package on the Z Performance trim that features yellow brake calipers, bronze 19-inch RAYS aluminum-alloy wheels, unique Proto Spec leather-trimmed seats with yellow accents, special suede and cloth door trim and yellow stitching throughout the cabin. Only 240 Proto Spec Z cars will be made available.
Coming Next Spring
The all-new 2023 Nissan Z will begin arriving in showrooms in spring of 2022. Pricing will be released closer to the on-sale date.