Las Vegas, Navy. – Throughout the 1990s, Japanese sports cars and sports compacts are models that we often look back on with a nostalgic glimpse in our eyes, but right there we hold the red trip just below Nostalgia Lane. Even if we do not fully realize it at the present time, we are living in another golden age of Japanese sports cars. Either for sale or coming to market soon, we have Acura NSX Type S, Nissan GT-R, Toyota GR Supra, Toyota GR86 / Subaru BRZ, Subaru WRX, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Honda Civic Si and Type R, Acura Integra and Toyota GR Corolla.

And now, you can add the new 2023 Nissan Z to the list. For a very long time, the Nissan 370Z has been running without any updates. It wasn’t until 2017 – or nine years after the 370Z debut – that Nissan began to formulate just what the next Z would be. And now finally in 2022, we’ll slide behind the wheels of a new Z car.

Las Vegas is the destination, and even in this supercar-filled area, the new Z – is starting (Drum roll please) $ 41,015 – demands more attention than anything else. The Z’s exterior design is one of the car’s major achievements, and it sets incredibly high expectations for how the two-door Sport Coupe will drive. Just as the GR Supra instantly grabs you by its impossible curve, so does the new Z pull you in with its classic Z shape. There is a proportional resemblance to the outgoing 370Z, but do not mistake the new Z for the old one. From the retro LED taillights to the squared-off grille and the 240Z silhouette, the new Z section shows off. And although we sincerely hope that Nissan does not take 14 model years to update it again, this design will remain favorable for a long time to come.

A big question mark hidden under the sheet metal of the 2023 Z. Arguably, your old 370Z carries a chassis. However, Nissan didn’t just sit on the hands while developing the new Z’s underpinnings and structure, and we saw the first hand of everything new under the glossy bodywork. Improved parts and components added to the structure mean that it has 10.8% more torsional stiffness and 23.9% more physical rigidity than the 370Z. The double-wishbone front suspension was treated with an enhanced positive castor angle (Nissan says it improves straight line stability and steering feel), and the rear suspension was also tweaked. The new passive monotube dampers replace the old twin tube dampers, theoretically allowing a more flexible ride while retaining handling capabilities. Also, the wide front wheels and tires give more grip – Nissan claims 13% better performance on a skidpad.

These changes are really noticeable in the 370Z’s underpinnings, but there’s something else that will catch your attention first: the new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine. The output looks stellar on a spec sheet, as the harmoniously named VR30DDTT engines produce 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Although found on the Infinity Q50 and Q60 Red Sports, Z’s engineers decided that the engine needed a little more “Z” to fit into a focused two-door sports coupe. Most impressive is a new boost recirculation valve that ensures that the turbine is spooled and even when you briefly lift the throttle, the turbo reduces the feeling of “lag”. Additionally, a new turbo speed sensor allows Nissan to more accurately measure and control the speed at which the turbine can rotate, allowing engineers to push the envelope further. Nissan has even included a sweet turbo speed gauge in the dash top as one of the three analog gauges.

Presumably, the large increase in power and torque resulted in a car that felt significantly faster than the outgoing 370Z. Nissan has allowed us to run different accelerations of 2023 Zs vs 370Z on our track, and although no official 0-60 mph time is given by Nissan, we claim that the new car is at least 15% faster. A new launch control mode standard in automatic vehicles certainly helps the cause.

The engine’s response has also improved significantly compared to the Infinity Red Sport model. The Peak Boost initially hits at 1,600 rpm, but then it doesn’t stop quickly because Nissan is able to maintain peak torque at 5,200 rpm. This creates a muscular and strong power band from bottom to top – peak horsepower is generated at 6,400 rpm and redline at 7,000 rpm.

Unlike the 370Z which requires revs, the rear end of the new Z will shrink the rotating rotation with very little effort. You don’t have to try too hard to get healthy tire scratches in second to third shifts and these turbos help keep the car turkey and strong even at high racetrack speeds. In fact, Nissan allows us to test the limits of the new Z on both the six-speed manual and the new nine-speed automatic tracks on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

There’s nothing to bury the lead in here – the manual is the way. You may think this is a clear conclusion to us, but Nissan / Infinity manuals are rarely commendable. The shifter of the 370Z can be described as crude and grooved, but fortunately, it is no longer. Nissan has made some changes to the shifter mechanism and added new conical syncs for first and second gear to improve the feel of the shift. We want to go so far that the new Z is a smooth transfer car.

On the track, it’s easy to switch between cogs, as we’re used to the manual transmission right now. Tap the Rev Match button, and Nissan’s “Syncorev Match” system throws the throttle for you in downshift. Tap one more time, and you can turn it off for your own heel-toe work.

Honestly, we still like the way the 370Z has managed despite the old age and the new Z is a worthy successor. Not surprisingly, it’s even better. The body leans a little, but guesses and controls brilliantly. The movements are checked strictly enough so that quick corner transitions do not disturb the chassis. All the extra rotating force means you have to be smoother and more careful and accelerate out of the corner (it prefers to go sideways), but this is greatly appreciated when you are blasting directly. Throttle sensitivity may have more granularity, as it may be harder to correct when you are trying to feed more and more torque slowly after clipping to a top. Push the grip limit through a long corner, and the Z is rewarded with a balanced chassis, not understeer, but not coming round with the dicey oversteer. Having more tires than what we have now would probably make a racetrack better, but it could be the cost of sports on the road.

Our initial idea of ​​a nine-speed auto was not entirely consistent with the track. The transmission comes from the same family as the Frontier and Titan’s Nine-Speed ​​Auto, so it shares many of those adventures. However, Nissan has changed it for use in a sports car, giving it a weight-saving magnesium case, a new centrifugal pendulum absorber and a completely new tuning. You can control it with the paddle shifters that tear off the GT-R, which is a good thing. Leaving your device in track “sport” mode, it is smart enough to hold the gear and downshift while braking. However, this is not the smoothest of automation, and some unusual changes manage to crash into the middle corner of the car and interrupt your flow. Your best bet is to keep it in manual mode so that you have complete control over each shift.

On the road, this automatic in manual mode is a solid performer. It’s not as fast or crisp as the Supra ZF eight-speed, but you can literally tap into the paddles and have a good time getting a quick response. And you will need. Sport mode is not as efficient as staying away from the track when you are not constantly whipping the accelerator which would be very extra-legal in the real world. Before you do this it often goes out of the happy zone – other performance-based automations work better to avoid it. That being said, you will need manual mode to get the most out of the automatic Z.

Now we can tell you that all our impressions of the new Z are performance models. This is the high-performance model (hence the name) of the two available, because the base model is simply called “Sport”. Along with the “performance”, Nissan adds bigger brakes, a mechanical limited-slip differential, 19-inch beam wheels with wider tires, a synchronous match for the manual, and a rear spoiler that facilitates higher speeds. It adds leather / heated / power seats, a 9-inch touchscreen (upgraded above the 7-inch screen) and other nice things, including a Bose audio system. For all of this, you pay $ 10,000 more than Base Sport, resulting in a performance model of $ 51,015 – the same price as manual and auto – $ 1,025 including destination fees. At that price, the GR Supra 3.0 became a consideration.

Fortunately, the interior of the Z can now back up its price. While the carryover bits are similar to the awkward seat controls, door handles and some air vents, they have been extensively refurbished. The digital gauge cluster has a nice unique two-to-Z display that prioritizes the front and center of the tachometer and provides several gauge displays that are not represented on the desktop’s three analog gauges. Also, the new infotainment system vitally supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto no matter what size screen you get.

Perhaps the most important internal change is the addition of a telescoping steering wheel. Nissan says it expands the height range for people who can drive comfortably, claiming that people up to 6-foot 3-inches can now fit comfortably and naturally into the cabin.

Priced at just $ 41,015, the Z is likely to find a lot of butts, and that’s exactly what it is. Lots of cars for this money. Also, we can conclude that the Nissan Z is a sports car without any major weaknesses or for any other reason without passing it. It even has a wide suite of driver assistance systems available, including manual-equipped cars, so if you want to use it as an everyday driver, you’re not lagging behind other modern cars. That said, the ride is still on the hard side of things – adapted dampers would be a good solution – and the cabin is still far from quiet.

Our advice: Choose the performance trim manual if you can swing it. While the automatic is much more serviceable and fun than before, other cars offer a much more engaging and entertaining driving experience. And finally, do yourself a favor and place your order at Seiran Blue with the blue interior. This is a car that deserves to be a little stylish.

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