Could it the ultimate parts bin sports car?
Previewed by last year's Nissan Z Proto Concept, the much-anticipated 2023 Nissan Z production car made its world debut this week to replace the aging Nissan 370Z. Its predecessor was introduced way back in 2008, so a replacement has been long overdue. However, you may be surprised to learn that its underpinnings are not entirely new. When Motor Trend asked a Nissan executive if the new Z's chassis is internally named with a Z35 chassis code, they replied with a resounding "no".
Yes, that means the new Nissan Z is still underpinned by the same rear-wheel-drive Z34 platform as the 13-year old 370Z, albeit with a host of improvements to modernize it. The 370Z's platform was already an advancement over the 350Z's. Plainly, though, the modifications for the 2023 model were not significant enough to warrant a name change for the chassis code.
Suspicions were already raised when journalists found the Z Proto's axle-to-axle measurement was identical to the 370Z.
Financially, however, basing the Nissan Z on the 370Z makes sense. Considering Nissan's recent financial woes, the Japanese automaker simply couldn't justify the time, resources, and money required to build an all-new platform for a niche sports car. It's the same reason why Toyota partnered with BMW to build a new Supra.
While its underpinnings aren't new, the body has been redesigned, incorporating design cues from older Z cars. The half-circle headlights are a nod to the Japan-only 240ZG and the split taillights hark back to the 300ZX. This blend of old and new continues inside the cabin, where you'll find three analog pod gauges and a central eight- or nine-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system.
Under the hood, the 370Z's 3.7-liter V6 is replaced with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, matching the outputs of the Q50 and Q60 Red Sport. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional nine-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
Performance specifications haven't been released yet, but Nissan claims the new Z car should be 15 percent quicker than the 370Z. As a result, the new Z should sprint from 0-60 mph in around 4.3 seconds. Sales for the 2023 Nissan Z will start next spring, so we'll have to wait and see if the outdated platform holds Nissan's new sports car back from reaching its true potential.