2023 Nissan Z

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2023 Nissan Z Review: Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

The new 2023 Nissan Z sports car is back in the USA and succeeds the 370Z after a three-year dry spell. It has no numerical designation in front of its Z this time; it's just called the Z now. And it's not new at all, having been developed off the decades-old FM platform that not only underpinned the 370Z but can trace its origins all the way back to the 2003 350Z. With substantially updated features and specifications, not to mention the striking retro bodywork that harks back to its '70s progenitors, the competitors the Nissan Z is gunning for include the iconic Toyota GR Supra. It's powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 engine in one 400-horsepower state of tune but offered in two configurations - a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic. Nissan is hoping the striking design, new interior, powerful engine, available manual transmission, and updated technology will paper over the flaws inherent in the old bones; developing a new car from scratch wouldn't be financially viable unless undertaking a joint venture like Toyota did with BMW. Has it worked?

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 10 /10
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2023 Nissan Z Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Z?

Enthusiasts will recognize the 370Z in the new 2023 Z's profile, and it shares the basic proportions, high scuttle, and front-mid-engine location that places the engine behind the front axle for optimal weight distribution with the old car. The platform is familiar but updated, and it's been reskinned in bodywork that recalls the 240Z of blessed memory, but the eagle-eyed will spot some carryover parts in the overhauled interior. Still, the digital gauge cluster and infotainment are right up to date, cabin quality has been much improved over the plasticky 370Z, and power is well up on that of the old car, too. It can almost merit being called a new car.

Pros and Cons

  • Retro styling
  • Available manual transmission
  • Excellent ride quality
  • Fun to drive
  • Powerful engine
  • Unrefined manual transmission
  • Based on old bones, and heavier
  • Performance and handling do not match rivals
  • Small trunk

What's the Price of the 2023 Nissan Z?

Developing an old design has an effect on how much you end up paying for the car and the high-value price of the 2023 Nissan Z - starting at less than $40k - reflects this fact. Most rivals will cost you more. The base Sport trim is the cheapest in the range and costs $39,990 in either six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic format. There are two more trim levels - the Performance and the Proto Spec - at $49,990 and $52,990, respectively, whether in manual or automatic. These are the Nissan Zs' MSRPs and exclude the destination fee of $1,095.

Best Deals on 2023 Nissan Z

2023 Nissan Z Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
6-Speed Manual
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
6-Speed Manual
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Proto Spec
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
6-Speed Manual
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
See All 2023 Nissan Z Trims and Specs

2023 Nissan Z Handling and Driving Impressions

The driving experience in the Z is all about context. Upgrade from a 370Z, and you will be delighted with the new turbocharged engine's sense of immediacy, the slick-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission, the much-improved refinement, and the truly excellent ride quality for something so sporty. So far, so good - but the cracks start to show if you hop into the manual or try a rival. The manual transmission is not as precise, refined, or smooth as we'd like it to be, but the rev-matching feature does make you look like a track-day hero. Still, you can switch it off and heel-and-toe on your own because of the favorable pedal placement. Pace is riveting, and the torquey V6 punches you out of corners with disdain, but it turns out the Z is an eight-tenths car. Make swift progress, and it will be a keen dance partner, but right on the ragged edge, it doesn't have the body control, steering feedback, or precision of a GR Supra. An unfortunate oversight is that the stability control is either on - and intrusive - or completely off, with no "fun" setting in between to let you play in safety. The pliant ride makes it a great GT and long-distance cruiser, though.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Nissan Z A Good car?

The new Z is faster, more refined, and a lot more modern than the 370Z, so judged against its predecessor, its mission is accomplished - especially at the high-value price that undercuts its rivals. But said rivals expose the Z's flaws and prove you can only update an old car so many times. It's simply not as lithe and crisp, and that's rather important if we're talking sports cars, isn't it? It comes a little undone in max-attack mode, and the comfortable suspension and considerable weight tend to underscore that you'll get more pleasure out of the Z if you use it as a GT and not a sports car. It's certainly fun to drive within its limits, the modern cabin tech allows you to connect with your life, and there is more than enough power on tap. If you contend that the GR Supra is not a "real" Toyota and an Audi TT's FWD-biased feel doesn't do it for you, the Z might be right up your alley, warts and all, and we love it for its honesty.

What 2023 Nissan Z Model Should I Buy?

For the average person and enthusiast alike, the Performance is by far the best trim to buy. The enthusiast will appreciate serious hardware upgrades like the proper mechanical limited-slip differential and the upgraded Akebono brakes, and the luxury-oriented buyer will love the leather upholstery, heated seats, full-featured infotainment setup, and premium audio system. It also looks smarter on its big wheels that fill out the wheel arches better. All this for a price halfway between the 2.0L and base 3.0L GR Supra makes the Z Performance sound value for money.

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