The News is Out! Nissan Drops the Details on the Production Ready 2023 Z
A blast from the past
In an era of rolling blobs and market-research driven crossovers, some manufacturers are choosing to cut through the generic noise to sing a tune of their own. Enter the new Z. Taking design cues from the iconic 240Z’s front and side profiles and the 300ZX’s rear, the new Z (no, Nissan’s not calling it the 400Z) blends retro design with modern flair.
Fans of the old cars need not fear rusted sheet metal and musty 70’s interior here. The new Z may carry a retro-inspired design, but Nissan’s updated everything to cater to the modern driver.
Much of the interior and exterior remains identical to the aptly named Z Proto revealed last year. Nissan had mentioned the Proto was close to production ready, and we’re hard-pressed to see the differences! The swooping katana-inspired roofline, simple yet elegant body lines, and even flush door-handles have all made it over to the production Z.
The cockpit is layered in a stylish two-tone color scheme, with the top half featuring an anti-glare matte-black finish. The designers took a minimalist approach to the interior – opting for large curved surfaces and familiar knobs and switches for commonly used features like AC and volume control.
The new seats look supportive and comfortable with anti-slip center cushion material, medium-sized side bolsters, and knee bolsters for when you’re carving through high-G corners. They come cloth in the Sport trim and heated leather in the Performance trim.
The iconic center stack 3-gauge setup makes a return – providing on-the-fly analog readings for boost pressure, turbine speed, and battery voltage. The gauge cluster is all digital this time around and is mostly dominated by a large center tach flanked by smaller gauges for oil temp, water temp, and boost pressure.
Nissan touts the leather-wrapped steering wheel as being thicker than the current GTR’s and highlights the groove on top as being similar to that on the R32 GTR. Although Nissan chose to go with a piano-black finish for the steering wheel spokes (read: fingerprint magnet), the inclusion of infotainment and cruise-control buttons (and nothing more) is a welcome touch – steering wheel complexity is for luxury cruisers and Formula 1 cars, not sports cars!
An optional 9-inch touch-screen display comes ready with Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, and available NissanConnect® Services. If you opt for this package, you’ll also gain access to available Wi-Fi hotspots, remote access, navigation, and a booming eight-speaker Bose audio system. Looks like the Z has finally caught up with modern infotainment tech!
Manual, RWD, & Twin-Turbos… need we say more?
The enthusiast favorite 6-speed manual transmission makes a return (unlike a certain competitor… *cough* Supra *cough*). There’s also the option for a 9-speed automatic if you prefer not to have seppuku-urges when stuck in traffic (I’m looking at you Los Angeles).
Although Nissan hasn’t released pictures of the engine bay just yet, we know that the new Z is packing a power-plant carried over from the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. A potent 400hp and 350 lb-ft of torque are pumped out of the tried-and-true 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. A mechanical limited-slip differential in the back makes sure all that power gets to the ground and keeps the car planted through the corners.
The Proto Spec comes in, you guessed it, the same yellow color as seen on the Z Proto. Forged bronze wheels are accented by yellow brake calipers and the interior is adorned in similar yellow treatment.
The Sport trim comes with 18-inch wheels paired to 2-piston front / single-piston rear brakes, while the Performance model upgrades to 19-inch forged wheels wrapped in performance tires with 4-piston front / 2-piston rear calipers. Anyone familiar with modifying turbocharged cars knows that they allow for near-endless tunability. As with all the previous generations, we expect healthy aftermarket support and tuners itching to get their hands on the new Z.
Coming Spring 2022
Although official pricing has yet to be announced, Nissan USA’s Instagram page has commented that the base Sport model will come in at around $40,000. This undercuts the base 3.0 Toyota Supra by about $10,000 – though the Z’s Performance model will likely be the comparable trim to Toyota’s offering. Regardless, it seems that all the ingredients for a driver-focused sports car are here.
It’s clear Nissan has used their extensive racing background and experience building generations of GTR’s and Z’s to create a modern take on a performance icon. As with many enthusiasts, we’ll be anxiously waiting for these gems to hit showrooms – hopefully without those pesky dealer markups.