More than a decade after the first Nissan 370Z debuted – an eternity in sports car years – its replacement has finally arrived. Meet the 2023 Nissan Z coupe. The highly anticipated sports car debuted today in New York City on the heels of what would have been the New York Auto Show (thanks, Covid), sporting a new twin-turbocharged V6 engine, an upgraded interior, and styling nearly identical to the Z Proto concept we saw less than a year ago. And it will all cost "around $40,000," according to Nissan.
The Nissan Z comes in two flavors at launch: Sport and Performance, with a special Proto Spec option on the top-end model that draws inspiration from last year's well-received concept. On all models, the Z Proto’s pointed nose, squared-off grille, and retro LED light fixtures carry over, as do the details on the rear end. A black partition extends the length of the bumper, housing the horizontal LED taillights underneath, and a gloss black diffuser surrounds dual exhaust tips. Performance models feature a subtle rear spoiler as well.
The base Sport model wears 18-inch wheels and the Performance trim borrows its 19-inch rims from the Z Proto, while Nissan offers nine exterior color options at launch. Buyers can select from six two-tone paints, each with a contrasting black roof: Brilliant Silver, Boulder Gray, Seiran Blue, Ikazuchi Yellow, Passion Red, and Everest White. Or, Nissan offers three single-tone paint options: Black Diamond, Gun Metallic, and Rosewood Metallic.
The cabin blends modern technology and comfort with classic cues. The bucket seats mimic those found in the GT-R supercar, with standard black cloth or leather available on the Performance trim. The center stack features a dash-mounted cluster of analog gauges inspired by the 240Z, with readouts for turbocharger boost, turbocharger turbine speed, and a voltmeter. And front and center sits a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen display, while a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen with navigation and Wi-Fi is available on the Performance trim.
The Proto Spec, meanwhile, features a few unique elements on the exterior to tie it visually to the concept, like yellow-colored brake calipers and bronze 19-inch RAYS wheels, while the cabin dons a Proto Spec leather with yellow accents and suede inserts. Nissan is limiting the Z Proto Spec to just 240 examples (we see what you did there) in the US, and it's available exclusively as an option on the Performance trim.
Speaking of performance – a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 powers the new Z, and is good for a mighty 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) and 350 pound-feet (475 newton-meters) of torque sent exclusively to the rear wheels. Those numbers represent an improvement of 68 hp (51 kW) and 80 lb-ft (108 nm) over the outgoing 370Z. And while Nissan doesn’t list an exact 0-60 time, the company says this new version should be 15 percent quicker to 60 than the car it replaces. By our math, that puts it in the high four-second mark.
A six-speed manual is the standard transmission, and it pairs with a high-performance clutch, baked-in rev-matching, and even a launch control system on the Performance model. Launch control and rev-matching also carry over to the optional nine-speed automatic transmission, as does a limited-slip differential. The Performance model also gets aluminum paddle shifters inspired by the GT-R.
Gallery: 2023 Nissan Z
Although the new Z’s platform itself is essentially a carryover from the current 370, Nissan improved its structural rigidity, tweaked the suspension, added an electronic power steering with what the company promises is a “strong mechanical feel,” and fitted both trims with wider front tires. The base 18-inch wheel wears Yokohama Advan Sport tires measuring in at 248/45 all around, while the 19-inch wheel on the Performance model features Bridgestone Potenza S007 tires at 255/40 front and 275/35 rear. The increase in grip improves cornering Gs by up to 13 percent.
Along with all that performance, Nissan added some necessary safety equipment to the mix. The Z offers standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a blind-spot warning, a lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Nissan hasn’t announced things like pricing or availability, but we expect the new Z to start somewhere around the $40,000 mark. The new sports car will go on sale sometime early in 2022, and we can’t wait.
2023 Nissan Z