It’s been a long wait since the reveal of the super-cool Z Proto concept back in September 2020, but here comes the all-new 2023 Nissan Z, the seventh generation in 50+ years of Datsun/Nissan Z cars.
“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, 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.”
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Twin-Turbo V6, 400 Horsepower
Inspired by the original 240Z, the 2023 Nissan Z drops its numerical prefix in North America for the first time. The 332-horsepower, naturally aspirated V6 of the outgoing 370Z is replaced, as we suspected, by the twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 from the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 in Red Sport trim.
The engine delivers 400 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 350 pound-feet of torque from 1,600 to 5,600 rpm. The latter represents an increase of 30 percent, and Nissan predicts a 15-percent improvement in 0-100 km/h acceleration (it cannot provide an exact time at this point).
More good news: the six-speed close-ratio manual transmission is back, featuring an EXEDY high-performance clutch for effortless shifts. In a first for a rear-wheel drive Nissan vehicle, Z Performance models equipped with a manual transmission include an advanced launch assist control system that helps deliver smooth acceleration from a stopped position. All models equipped with the new, optional nine-speed automatic transmission feature the launch control system.
Improved Driving Dynamics
Getting behind the wheel, the Z feels “new and modern, yet still familiar,” Nissan claims. The engineering team tuned the chassis, cooling, suspension and steering to make the car more responsive and dynamic while remaining predictable at the same time.
Enhanced body rigidity, an electronic power steering with rack assist and wider front tires help increase maximum cornering G up to 13 percent. The dampers use a new monotube shock absorber design with a larger diameter than the outgoing 370Z, resulting in an approximately 20-percent reduction in dampening force to help minimize impact shock over uneven surfaces, enhance road-following performance and improve handling stability, according to the company. That sure sounds good. So does the front double-wishbone aluminum suspension with revised geometry and standard two-point strut tower brace. The independent multi-link rear suspension has also been reconfigured.
Ventilated disc brakes can be found at all four corners. Larger sport brakes with red-painted calipers are standard on Performance models. The base 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are wrapped in Yokohama ADVAN Sport high-performance tires, while the Z Performance gets 19-inch RAYS super-lightweight forged aluminum-alloy wheels mounted on Bridgestone Potenza S007 high-performance tires.
The design theme for the exterior and interior of the new Z was “tradition with modern technology.” It changed very little from the Z Proto and that’s fantastic. The LED headlights have two half-circles that take their inspiration from the Japan market-only 240ZG of the 1970s, while the roofline flows from the nose to the squared-off rear to create a distinctive first-generation Z profile, whose rear edge was slightly lower than the front fender height.
We also love the combination of the retro-looking taillights in 300ZX style with the black lower bumper pierced by dual exhaust tips. The Z Performance adds a rear spoiler.
The new 2023 Nissan Z is available in two monotone exterior colours including Black Diamond Metallic and Gun Metallic. Customers will also have the choice of a two-tone exterior including five colours combined with a Super Black roof: Boulder Grey, new Seiran Blue, new Ikazuchi Yellow, Passion Red TriCoat and Everest White Pearl TriCoat.
Inside, the centre stack takes inspiration from past generations, with three analog pod gauges on the instrument panel, an 8.0-inch touchscreen audio display in the centre and climate control switches near the shifter. A new customizable 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and redesigned steering wheel face the driver.
The base Z features black woven cloth seats with an eight-way manual driver’s seat. The Z Performance adds leather-appointed seating surfaces, four-way power driver’s seat with manual lifter, lumbar and thigh support, plus heated seats.
Coming to Canada Next Year
The 2023 Nissan Z is scheduled to go on sale at Canadian dealers in the first half of 2022. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
A limited edition celebrating the distinctive Z Proto will be available. Called Proto Spec, it stands out with yellow-coloured brake calipers with Z logo, bronze-coloured 19-inch RAYS aluminum-alloy wheels, exclusive shift lever knob, leather-appointed seats with yellow accents, suede/cloth door trim with yellow stitching and special interior stitching.