2023 Nissan Z Preview

Beverly Braga | Aug 18, 2021
  • 2-door rear-wheel-drive sports car
  • 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine
  • 400 horsepower
  • 350 pound-feet of torque
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission
  • Optional 9-speed automatic transmission
  • Standard 8-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • 12.3-inch driver information display

Introduction - Find the best Nissan deals!

When the Nissan Z Proto concept debuted last year, its design was considered "close to final." Fast forward to the debut of the 2023 Nissan Z, and all speculation regarding the production-ready prototype is confirmed. During the reveal event, Nissan Motors Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta admitted that the Z Proto was 95 percent reflective of the production Z.

2023 Nissan Z Blue Front Quarter View

The Nissan Z has a storied 50-plus-year history of sports car innovation, starting with the 1970 Fairlady 240Z, initially sold under the now-defunct Datsun moniker. What followed was six generations of Z and 1.8 million global sales (of which 1.35 million were in the United States). The 7th-generation Nissan Z is very much a modern interpretation of the automaker's most iconic nameplate. And to keep things as sleek as its shape, the new Z even drops its numerical prefix for the first time in the U.S. market.

Scheduled to arrive in dealerships next spring, the 2023 Nissan Z will be available in two trim levels: Sport and Performance. Buyers can have each with either a manual or automatic transmission. A special-edition model based on the Z Proto concept will also be offered, limited to 240 units in the United States.

Exterior Features - Find the best Nissan deals!

2023 Nissan Z Blue Rear Quarter View

Distinct from the 6th-generation model, which debuted in 2009, the next-generation Nissan Z offers a significant design change in the most subtle ways. Undoubtedly recognized as a Z silhouette thanks to its long hood and short deck, the all-new model is a mixtape of heritage elements coupled with updated design cues.

The new model's profile pays direct homage to the first-generation car. Its low and lean proportions exude sports car finesse. While there is a noticeable lack of stylish character lines, the Nissan Z offers a style of purpose and performance. The door handles are now flush-mounted, and the rear hatch is thinner than ever but built with increased rigidity, Nissan says.

But updating a vintage look with modernized flair is no easy task, yet the new Z seems to do it with ease. Its LED headlights feature a half-circle design inspired by the Japan domestic market (JDM)-only 240ZG. Also, the front fascia is said to harken to the original 240Z thanks to its grille fins. But the black chasm of a grille isn't exactly a stunner. The forward-facing view is larger, wider, and flatter (likely designed to accommodate pedestrian safety regulations).

So, a vehicle from the 1970s dictates one's impression of the front fascia while another model from the 1990s breathes life into the LED taillights.

If the rear combination lamps trigger a bit of deja vu, that's because they're essentially lifted from the Z32 300ZX built from 1990 to 1996. If you cut-and-paste your own work, is it still considered plagiarism? Regardless, the new 3D signature LED taillights make old-school style look like new-age funk.

Other heritage nods include the "Z" logo on the C-pillar and the "Fairlady Z" script on the trunk lid, which are modern takes on the original 240Z's simple badging style.

Yet even with a new outfit, some Z things will always be Z things. Like that iridescent yellow paint color. The 240Z, 300ZX, 35th Anniversary 350Z, and countless other model years and special edition Z cars—including the Z Proto—have had an unmistakably sunny disposition.

For 2023, the Nissan Z will be available in three monotone shades: Black Diamond Metallic, Gun Metallic, and Rosewood Metallic. A two-tone exterior option pairs a Super Black rooftop with six shades. When the new Z appeared on stage, it debuted in two new colors: Ikazuchi Yellow and Seiran Blue. These join the existing attention-grabbing palette of Brilliant Silver, Boulder Gray, Everest White Pearl, and Passion Red.

Interior Features - Find the best Nissan deals!

2023 Nissan Z Interior Dashboard

The Nissan Z interior is fresh, albeit also familiar. The driver-oriented cockpit is considerably digitized. The overall look is almost a carryover of the current model, except the analog instrument panel is now replaced with a 12.3-inch digital meter display. The driver information panel is fully customizable and features three display modes.

"Normal" provides a balanced view of navigation, audio, and vehicle data. "Enhanced" pushes the tachometer and speedometer to the edges of the screen, creating a larger field of view for the navigation map and vehicle information. Sport, of course, brings performance data to the forefront. Tachometer and shift information is prioritized, and drivers can also display the boost gauge or G meter.

The center stack takes a design cue from vintage Z cars and features three analog pod gauges. This retro triplet displays boost pressure, turbo rpm, and battery voltage.

Ergonomic improvements include a new 3-spoke steering wheel with intuitive and quick-access controls. Also, the new manual and automatic shift levers were engineered to provide optimal grip and comfort, according to Nissan.

Sport models will feature black woven cloth upholstery with suede inserts. Standard is an 8-way manual driver's seat and 4-way manual passenger seat. The Performance trim upgrades seat surfaces to heated leather seats and 4-way power adjustments for both driver and passenger. Additional creature comforts for the driver include a manual lifter, lumbar support, and thigh support.

Interior color choices are black, red, and blue. The limited-edition Proto Spec will feature prominent yellow accents, including contrast stitching on the instrument panel, as well as layered seat materials to create depth and a gradation effect.

Under the Hood - Find the best Nissan deals!

A new twin-turbocharged V6 engine powers the all-new Nissan Z. Though the Z is no stranger to six cylinders, Nissan has previously said that each new generation of the car will have a more powerful engine. And the next-generation Z will happily follow that status quo.

Currently, the 370Z has a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Nissan confirmed last year that the new Z would feature a modified version of the 3.0-liter engine found in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60. This led to speculation that the 7th-generation car would be dubbed the 400Z. While Nissan dropped "400" from the name, the number holds steady in terms of horsepower.

The 2023 Nissan Z will indeed be equipped with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and have an output of 400 hp and 350 pound-feet of torque. No zero-to-60 mph times were released, but the automaker claims a 15-percent improvement in acceleration versus the current car.

The standard transmission will be a 6-speed close-ratio manual paired with an Exedy high-performance clutch. Stick shift-equipped Performance models will see the added benefits of a carbon-fiber driveshaft and SynchroRev Match.

The optional 9-speed automatic also comes with rev-matching, offers a manual shift mode, and receives aluminum paddle shifters that are similar in design to those found on the GT-R.

Those behind the wheel of an automatic also get a choice of two drive modes. Standard mode is suitable for everyday driving and commuting. Sport mode gets algorithm happy and unlocks performance-oriented vehicle settings, including active sound enhancement.

An advanced launch assist control system will make its Z debut and be standard on Performance models, regardless of transmission.

The new Z is nearly identical in size to the Z Proto. The production car sits on a 100.4-inch wheelbase and has an overall length of 172.4 inches. The next-gen Z measures 72.6 inches wide, 59.8 inches tall, and with 4.8-inch ground clearance. This means you'll still have to mind those speed bumps.

Nissan says that the 2023 Z has been engineered to be more rigid, features wider front tires, and will see up to a 13-percent increase in maximum cornering G. This isn't to say the Nissan Z will have a stiff ride. In actuality, new front and rear dampers result in a 20-percent decrease in impact shocks when traveling on uneven road surfaces, the automaker says. The suspension is also tuned for improved handling.

As for those tires, the Z Sport will wear 18-inch Yokohama ADVAN Sport rubbers wrapped around dark-painted aluminum alloy wheels. Braking will come courtesy of 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes. Performance models get 19-inch Bridgestone Potenza S007 tires matched to RAYS super-lightweight forged aluminum alloys. More performance also means larger brakes with red-painted calipers, because why not?

Safety Systems - Find the best Nissan deals!

The 2023 Nissan Z will be equipped with a number of safety features. The automaker did not state whether the technologies would include all or some from the Nissan Safety Shield 360 system. Adaptive cruise control, as suggested on the Z Proto, will be standard as well as front and rear parking sensors.

Other included safety equipment for all Z cars will be a rearview monitor, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warninglane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam assist, and intelligent forward-collision warning.

Infotainment and Technology - Find the best Nissan deals!

Nissan was more forthcoming regarding infotainment and convenience technologies. Standard on the new Z is an 8-inch touchscreen display with six speakers. This system includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio, and hands-free messaging.

Available on Performance trim will be a 9-inch touchscreen featuring navigation, an 8-speaker Bose sound system, active noise cancellation, active sound enhancement, heated outside mirrors, HomeLink, and a Nissan Connect Wi-Fi hotspot.

Standard for all new Z cars is Nissan Intelligent Key with push-button start, automatic temperature control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and voice recognition. There is no wireless device charging, but there are two 12-volt power outlets and two USB ports—one Type-A and one Type-C.

2023 Nissan Z Competitors - Find the best Nissan deals!

At launch, the 2023 Nissan Z faces only the Toyota Supra in any head-to-head comparison tests. While the BMW Z4 and Supra are fraternal twins, the Z will only come as a hardtop. At least for now.

As of this writing, pricing hasn't been officially announced, but Nissan insiders have provided "around $40,000" as the estimated starting tag for the next-gen Z.

Nissan is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of August 17, 2021, but it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker's website or your local dealership.

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