The 2023 Nissan Z is real, and it brings an iconic nameplate – and an enthusiast-favorite – back to the road with striking styling and some old-school grunt. Previewed with the controversial Nissan Z Proto concept, and bringing an unexpected amount of that design to production, the 2023 Z will hit the US in spring 2022.
For the first time, Nissan is dropping the numerical prefix for the car in the US. Instead there’ll be two versions of the coupe, the 2023 Z Sport for the base spec, and the 2023 Z Performance that’s loaded up.
Both get a design that blends retro elements with some familiar shape from the Z cars of old, the Z Proto concept, and a little of the old-generation 370Z. LED lights front and rear are standard, using half-circle designs at the front and 3D signature rear clusters, as are body-colored door handles and a black front grille. The 2023 Z Performance gets a front chin spoiler and rear spoiler, too.
There’ll be three monotone exterior colors – Black Diamond Metallic, Gun Metallic and Rosewood Metallic – and six two-tone versions. That sees a Super Black roof combined with either Brilliant Silver, Boulder Gray, new Seiran Blue, new Ikazuchi Yellow, Passion Red TriCoat, or Everest White Pearl TriCoat.
Under the hood, Nissan is keeping things simple – and familiar. It’s the 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo we’ve seen in several Infiniti models, here tuned for 400 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, and 350 lb-ft of torque between 1,600 and 5,600 rpm. Rear-wheel drive is standard.
Keeping the purists happy – and increasingly a rarity in the sports car segment – there’ll be a choice of transmissions. As well as a 9-speed automatic with shift-by wire and paddle shifters, there’ll be a 6-speed close-ratio manual paired with a high-performance clutch. The automatic will have Standard and Sport drive modes.
Variable speed, variable assistance electric power steering is standard, as is double-wishbone front suspension with monotube shocks, and independent multilink aluminum suspension. The Z Performance gets sport-tuning to the suspension, too, along with a mechanical limited-slip differential.
For wheels, the 2023 Z Sport has dark-painted 18×9 inch alloys front and rear, shod in Yokohama ADVAN Sport rubber. The 2023 Z Performance switches those out for RAYS super-lightweight forged aluminum alloys and Bridgestone Potenza S007 high-performance tires. They’re 19×9.5 inches at the front, and 19×10 inches at the rear. Bronze-colored versions are optional.
For the Z Sport, there’ll be 12.6 inch front vented discs with fixed 2-piston calipers, and 12.1 inch rear vented discs with single piston calipers. The Z Performance will step up to 14-inch front discs with floating 4-piston calipers, and 13.8-inch rear discs with 2-piston calipers.
Inside, there’s seating for two, with black woven manually-adjustable cloth sports seats in the Z Sport and leather-trimmed with synthetic suede inserts in the Z Performance. The latter gets special cushions and side-bolsters, too, plus heating and power adjustment. An 8-inch touchscreen and Nissan 6-speaker audio system is standard in the Sport, while the Performance upgrades to a 9-inch touchscreen with navigation and Bose 8-speaker audio with active noise cancellation and enhancement.
Both support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with SiriusXM. The Performance has WiFi hotspot support. The driver gets a fully-digital meter display, plus a 3-bay gauge cluster showing turbocharge boost, turbo turbine speed, and volts. Manual Z cars get a programmable upshift indicator.
Intelligent cruise control is standard, as are two USB ports – one Type-A, one Type-C – parking sensors front and rear, automatic climate control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision and blind spot warnings, lane departure warnings, and rear cross traffic alerts.
Nissan will offer a Proto Spec package on the 2023 Z performance. That will add yellow brake calipers, bronze aluminum-alloy wheels, a special shift knob on the manual cars, exclusive Proto Spec leather seats with yellow accents and matching suede and cloth door trim with yellow stitching, and special interior contrast stitching. Only 240 Proto Spec will be offered in the US.
Sales of the 2023 Nissan Z will kick off in spring 2022. Pricing will be confirmed closer to launch.