Sports cars are having a moment—witness the revived Toyota Supra and the splashy mid-engine Corvette that both debuted last year—so it’s perfect timing for Nissan to redesign its aging Z coupe. Perfect, also, because it’s clearly become dated. Historically, Nissan’s sports car has sported an alphanumeric name, such as the outgoing 370Z model and the original 240Z from 1969, but this generation will simply be called Z. The 2023 Z is powered by a 400-hp twin-turbocharged V-6 engine driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic. We’re impressed with the Z’s playful handling and zippy acceleration and we were delighted to find that it’s overall more refined than the car it replaces. Mercifully, the Z also receives a technology update with new touchscreen infotainment, a reconfigurable digital gauge display, and a host of new driver-assistance features. Whereas the last generation 370Z went up against more affordable sports cars such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata and the Toyota 86 in price and performance, this next-generation car moves slightly up-market to put the Supra in its crosshairs.
What’s New for 2023?
Nissan’s iconic Z-car is all-new for 2023. Previewed by the Z Proto concept car, the new Z draws design inspiration from past models but gives us a glimpse into the future with updated technology and a much-needed interior modernization. The new Z goes on sale in summer 2022 as a hardtop coupe but a convertible version could follow later.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Although its base price is higher than the outgoing 370Z’s, the new Z still represents a bargain compared to key rivals such as the Supra and the Audi TT. To justify its higher price tag, the Z ups the ante with more luxury features and more desirable styling. We’d go with the mid-range Z Performance trim, which adds a sportier suspension tune, a limited-slip differential, upgraded brakes, 19-inch wheels with summer tires, and power-adjustable seats with faux-suede upholstery.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Like its beastly brother, the Nissan GT-R, the Z is powered by a twin-turbocharged V-6. But, instead of the fire-breathing 565-hp 3.8-liter that’s under the hood of the GT-R, the Z gets a 400-hp 3.0-liter mill from the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 paired to either a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic. While all-wheel drive is available in the Infiniti, Nissan is sticking with rear-wheel drive exclusively for the Z. The turbo six gives the Z a lot of zip but our manual transmission test car hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, well behind the Supra. Cornering grip is plentiful so long as you’re not driving too close to the Z’s limit. Push it hard, though, and the suspension’s tuning reveals itself to be not quite up to the task. Its compliance provides good comfort when commuting, but rival sports cars offer sharper reflexes.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
According to the EPA, the most efficient Z is the one with the automatic transmission. It’s rated for 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Going with the manual drops those numbers to 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. When we have a chance, we’ll test the Z on our 75-mph highway fuel economy test route and update this story with results. For more information about the Z’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Although it’s new for 2023, Nissan hasn’t changed the layout of the Z’s cabin. It remains a two-seat coupe with no vestigial rear seats à la Porsche 911. What has changed, though, is everything else. The new Z receives a modernized cabin with updated materials—a welcome improvement over the current 370Z’s dated interior. Leather upholstery, power-adjustable seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control are all available. Cargo space remains a mystery, but we aren’t expecting the Z to be a Costco-run champion; we fit three carry-on suitcases in the trunk of the old 370Z, which should be plenty for most sports-car buyers.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Nissan has brought the Z into the twenty-first century with a standard 8.0-inch infotainment display (a 9.0-inch unit with navigation is optional), a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. A six-speaker stereo is standard but audiophiles can upgrade to an optional premium audio arrangement engineered by Bose; an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot is also available.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Nissan offers the Z with several standard driver-assistance features, including automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitoring. For more information about the Z’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Nissan’s basic warranty package is just that: Basic. Rival such as the Supra and the BMW Z4 both augment their standard warranties with lengthy complimentary maintenance plans.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2023 Nissan Z Performance
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door hatchback
Base/As Tested: $51,015/$53,610
Options: Passion Red premium two-tone paint, $1695; Illuminated kick plates, $500; floor mats, $400
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 183 in3, 2997 cm3
Power: 400 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 14.0-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone S007 B-Silent
F: 255/40R-19 96W
R: 275/35R-19 96W
Wheelbase: 100.4 in
Length: 172.4 in
Width: 72.6 in
Height: 51.8 in
Passenger Volume: 52 ft3
Trunk Volume: 7 ft3
Curb Weight: 3507 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.5 sec
100 mph: 10.6 sec
1/4-Mile: 13.0 @ 111 mph
130 mph: 19.0 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 5.3 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 8.0 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 6.0 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 166 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 331 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.93 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 17 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 20/18/24 mpg
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
More Features and Specs