By on August 17, 2021

BROOKLYN, NY — The 2023 Nissan Z is here. And it’s dropping the numeric nomenclature.

That’s right. Just call it Z.

Nissan says in its press release that the seventh-generation car rides on an “all-new” platform, not the current FM platform, but a PR rep told me the platform is carryover, with the car being 80 percent “all-new.”

Underhood is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that’s rated at 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. That’s 68 more ponies and a 30 percent increase from the previous torque figure (270, for those who’d rather not do the math). Nissan claims a 15-percent improvement in the 0-60 mph time. You might notice those power numbers match up to the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport. In fact, the engines match spec for spec, if you catch my drift.

The turbos themselves are small diameter with a turbo speed sensor to make sure they’re working at max spooling speed. The engine also uses electronic variable valve timing for the intake valves.

Save the manuals types can rejoice and/or rest easy, as a six-speed stick is standard. Hallelujah, indeed.

A launch-control system is available with the stick and standard if you opt for the nine-speed automatic. The manual is also available with a carbon-composite driveshaft and a rev-matching system. The automatic, of course, offers paddle shifters. It also has a Sport mode. Presumably, the manual creates its own Sport mode.

Nissan claims the car has a more-rigid (giggity) body than before, and wider available front tires help improve grip. The steering is electronically-assisted rack and pinion.

Monotube shocks that are larger in diameter than before are mounted to both the front and rear. These are meant to keep the ride from being too stiff while also allowing the car to handle like, well, a sports car. The front suspension is double-wishbone and made from aluminum. It offers up new geometry, including an increased caster angle. There’s also a front strut tower brace. Out back, the independent aluminum multilink setup also has new settings.

The shape is familiar yet modern and includes flush door handles and LED rear taillights. Those taillights are part of a rear lighting setup that is meant to evoke the Z of the mid-’90s. Upfront, the LED headlights are meant to pay homage to the 240ZG from the 1970s.

Two-tone and monotone paint jobs are available, and Performance-trim models add a rear spoiler.

The new-meets-old theme carries over inside, with three analog gauge pods across the top of the center stack, an 8-inch infotainment screen, and small details that imply a sense of sportiness. Details such as the redline on the tach being at the 12 o’clock position. A digital gauge cluster offers three different customization modes, including a Sport mode that prioritizes information like the tachometer or a G meter.

Standard features will include keyless entry and starting, smart cruise control, USB, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, and satellite radio.

There will be two trims — Sport and Performance. Available features on Performance will include navigation, Wi-Fi, and Bose audio. That trim will also offer a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, 19-inch wheels, Bridgestone Potenza high-performance tires, upgraded brakes, dual-exhaust, and heated seats.

A limited-edition (240 units) Proto Spec model will have yellow-painted brake calipers, bronze-painted 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, leather seats with yellow accents, suede and cloth door trim, and unique interior stitching.

As much as we’d love to see the Z be an elemental sports car that goes back to basics, this Nissan will be saddled with all the driver-aid tech we’ve become accustomed to. So that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam assist, and intelligent forward collision warning.

The Z appears to blend modern design with retro touches nicely. That only matters so much, though. What really matters is what happens on the road — and on the track.

If Nissan gets that right, the Z could make a stronger statement about the brand than say, the new Pathfinder. The kind of statement Nissan needs to make.

We’ll see if the car lives up to its looks. For now, we find the update to be worth the (very long) wait.

[Images: Nissan, © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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44 Comments on “2023 Nissan Z is Both New and Not...”


  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Are Canadians required by law to call it the Nissan Zed?

  • avatar

    80 percent all new*

    *platform carryover
    *engine direct from Infiniti, new for -this car model-
    *old switches
    *center gauge pods look very old (2008)
    *door panel entirely unchanged since 2008

    https://img.drivemag.net/jato_car_photos/NISSAN%2F370Z%2Fcoupe%2F3%2F2008%2Finterior-photos%2Fo%2Fnissan-370z-coupe-3-doors-2008-model-interior-photos-14.jpg

    “80 percent”

  • avatar

    Interior looks and feels very gloomy and depressing. And how many Canadians will fit in the back seat anyway? Not my cup of tea. They should better use that money do develop EVs instead.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Save the manuals types can rejoice and/or rest easy, as a six-speed stick is standard.”

    Certainly all the Supra complainers will be buying this then.

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    You’d think the extra hp and torque would’ve resulted in a decrease in the 0-60 time. It must have got heavy.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “Nissan claims a 15-percent increase in the 0-60 mph time.”

    Ummmm…..

    …I don’t think that means what you think it means.

    Or–and this is more likely–the idiot marketing people at Nissan have no idea what ANY of it means, and this article is just a rehash of the press release that includes some of the wording verbatim.

    Including the nonsense like “15-percent increase in the 0-60 mph time.”

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “all-new”

    The most abused term in the auto industry.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I like it, but I’m getting tired of retro cars.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Kudos to Nissan for continuing to build the Z. As much as I don’t like most Nissan products I have to give them credit for making a sports car.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Nissan has always had a hard time styling the Z. The original 240Z was famous, but still awkwardly styled, not to mention uncomfortable with a wide transmission tunnel that cramped your feet. I liked the first 300ZX with the first V6, even though softly sprung in most versions and not much of a driver. The 350/370Z’s were just ugly to the bone and I never understood why Nissan would build something so deliberately hideous. This new car, style wise, is just unimaginative and boring. It looks right proportionally and I bet it will be a great car, but it will be too expensive (like $50k), and it won’t sell. They’re planning on it not selling in fact.
    The Miata is a sports car, a pure drivers car. The top goes down and you smile and you’re having fun driving a small and very responsive car. You don’t need 5000 HP, no one does.
    The Z is a power packed gloomy box with a questionable design sense that will be all but invisible to other drivers.
    I guess the only saving grace is that they didn’t over-style it. It looks unfinished but if all you’re able to do is make it worse you might as well just stop.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I predicted lots of whining about the carryover platform and all the shared parts. So be it. But let’s stop for a moment and be thankful. It’s got two seats, it looks great (and better than the Supra to my eyes), and it’s going to be a good tool for going fast.

    There aren’t many cars like this around anymore. Can we be thankful Nissan actually did this, and didn’t make it some coupe-roofline crossover with a turbo four and a CVT?

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      Hear hear.

      I’ll say the same thing I say on every Challenger article where this comes up.

      Someone show me the objective downside to an “old platform” in real life, to a real consumer, not just as a talking point in a review.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Ford’s been doing the same thing with the Mustang. No one complains that car sucks.

        My only beef with the Challenger is that FCA let the interior get stale. Ditto for the Charger and 300.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I really don’t get the shared parts complaint, when a car ages and you start replacing things its quite handy, especially plastic interior parts.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    If I were going on looks and specs on paper I would take the Z in my garage over the Supra.

    It will be interesting to see how the new car rides and drives.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Weight??? That and too stiff suspension was reason I got rid of my ’03 350Z. Hopefully they gave the traction control some settings other then on/off as well. I found on track the Z either understeered or was trying to kill you by swapping ends.

    As noted above there isn’t much “new” about this car other then the styling tweaks. I do think it looks great. However the door panels and hatch configuration are unchanged. The engine is from the Q60 Sport, that is good but what took so long? This is basically a refresh, most of the changes appear to be to the dash.

    I’m glad Nissan is making this and giving it a manual too (JOY!) but the Z has always been an in-between-er. Too heavy to be tossable like a Miata or FRS/BRZ/GT86 yet too underpowered to compete with V8 Mustangs and Camaros. I guess the Supra now occupies this space too but I find the Supra beyond ugly plus its just a BMW wearing a Toyota badge so I’ll pass.

    As I said in the Q60 thread while I loved the size of my Z it had too many compromises (stiff suspension mostly) which caused me to move into Corvette ownership. Now that I’ve upgrade I doubt I could go back. A used C7 is likely around the same cost (once this current used car price madness ends) and represents way better value. Sure I get labeled as some old guy (I am 50) and have to deal with stereotype of owing a Corvette (ugh), but that V8 rumble and mag-ride suspension plus PTM settings make it totally worth it.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “yet too underpowered to compete with V8 Mustangs and Camaros. I guess the Supra now occupies this space too”

      Not sure what the Z will manage but the Supra 3.0 isn’t any slower than the Mustang GT or Camaro SS.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    The last good car?

  • avatar

    I like the exterior. And I’m one that really doesn’t care how old the platform is if it still drives well. But man I do not like most of the recent Nissan interiors. This and the frontier both seem dated on release.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    FYI, C/D reports the base price here will be “around $40,000.” Base price of the Supra four-cylinder is $43,090.

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