023 Nissan Z Looks Like Exactly What it Needs to Be.
We all have expectations of certain cars. We require that a Jeep Wrangler be a boxy off-road expert with removable pretty much everything.
We require that a Ford Mustang be a rear-wheel-drive muscle car that can flirt with having curves but never be truly curvaceous.
And since 1969, we’ve all understood that a Nissan Z must be a quick sports car that holds a clean line in a hard turn without breaking the bank.
We all require that it be sexy and fast but fairly low-tech, keeping sharp performance within reach of working people. We expect it to make a Porsche 911 just a little nervous.
The Porsche may take the Z in a track face-off, but it should be privately insecure about its price tag afterward.
An All-New Z
Last night, Nissan dropped the curtain on the next Z car, the 2023 Nissan Z. And yeah, that looks about right.
Nissan could still mess up the pricing. It hasn’t been revealed.
But everything else about the new Z seems to be what it should be.
In a press release, Nissan said, “The Z has always been an accessible sports car – always placed at the intersection of aspiration and attainability – of dreams and reality.
” That suggests that they understand the Z’s place in the enthusiast’s imagination and will keep the entry price within striking distance of the $40,000 mark.
The Z will likely slide in with a price slightly above what Toyota and Subaru ask for their GR 86/BRZ twins, which start under $30,000. But expect it to be still below luxury car prices. The Z reaches dealer lots next spring.
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A Lot of Power, a Short-Throw Stick.
First things first: Yes, it’s just called the Nissan Z this time. The earlier 300Z had a 3.0-liter engine. The 350Z had a 3.5-liter engine. The outgoing 370Z has a 3.7-liter engine. There was a pattern at work.
But automakers have spent the past decade squeezing more and more power out of smaller engines. The next Z carries a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, putting out more horsepower than any previous Z at 400.
They can’t very well go back to call it the 300Z, so they’ve just lost the numbering altogether.
It comes mated to a simple, short-throw 6-speed manual transmission, as it dang well should. A 9-speed automatic with paddle shifters is also available.
Evolutionary Good Looks.
In sheet metal, the new Z looks like a natural evolution of its predecessors. Its nose is sharper and thinner than the last generation, but otherwise, it looks similarly muscled.
A long hood and rakish roofline that peaks almost dead in the car’s visual center make it look like it’s rearing back on its bulging rear haunches, ready for a sprint.
Inside, cloth or leather upholstery comes in black, blue, or red – no subtle luxury here. An 8-inch central touchscreen controls climate and entertainment functions. It seems almost spartan at that size, but even that is purposeful – your entertainment in a Z comes from the road. The driver can customize a 12.3-inch digital display to show everything from navigation to a g-meter.
The 2023 Z will come in Sport and Performance grade levels and a special “Proto Spec” edition, which is limited to 240 units.