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Sports cars with manual transmissions are almost always slower than their automatic equivalents, but the level of involvement usually makes up for it. So, when the 2023 Nissan Z finally arrives, it’s likely quite a few buyers will pick the stick. However, it turns out automatic Nissan Z drivers might have another advantage besides straight-line speed: sound.

The 2023 Nissan Z automatic will be louder than the manual version for a Porsche 911 GT3-like reason

A close-up look of a gray 2023 Nissan Z's exhaust tip
2023 Nissan Z exhaust tip closeup | Nissan

Now, it’s worth noting that some 2023 Zs will likely be louder regardless of whether they have automatics or manuals. That’s because the Z Performance models get different dual-exit exhausts than the base Z Sports. But even so, an automatic 2023 Nissan Z Performance will still be louder than the manual version.

Firstly, automatic Zs have two driving modes: Standard and Sport. In the Z’s case, Sport Mode sharpens the throttle response, tweaks the power steering software, and activates ‘active sound management.’ It’s unclear if Nissan is using artificial noise amplification or a mechanical technique to boost the sports car’s sound. The result is more exhaust noise either way, though.

However, the main reason why an automatic 2023 Nissan Z will be louder is legislation. Remember how Porsche temporarily couldn’t sell manual 911 GT3s in California? It’s because of an outdated exhaust noise testing method that saw manual GT3s rev sky-high but automatic ones trundle along in comparison. And in doing so, the stick-shift cars failed.

Well, the Z must follow those same old testing regulations. And just like the GT3, the manual car fails while the automatic passes. Or rather, the stick-shift car would fail if Nissan didn’t give it a quieter muffler. The difference in volume isn’t vast, but it’s noticeable, The Drive reports.

But that might still be fixable.

Nismo’s stainless-steel exhaust might uncork some Nissan Z sound and fury—and so will the aftermarket

The 2023 Nissan Z Nismo stainless-steel muffler and performance exhaust system
2023 Nissan Z Nismo stainless-steel muffler and performance exhaust | Nismo

Although we don’t know if the 2023 Nissan Z’s Japanese pricing will translate to the U.S., there is something that will. That ‘something’ is a new Nismo stainless-steel performance exhaust specifically for the 2023 Z. According to a Jalopnik report, the exhaust doesn’t add any extra horsepower or torque, The Drive says. However, that same report claims that “it does sound fantastic.”

Furthermore, Nissan is well aware of how popular the 350Z and 370Z are with the tuner community. Hence why it allowed aftermarket exhaust suppliers to measure the 2023 Z’s stock system “months ahead of its release,” The Drive reports. That’s rather unusual in the OEM world, but good on you, Nissan. So, even if you don’t buy the Nismo exhaust, you’ll likely have plenty of other options. Unfortunately, putting the automatic Nissan Z muffler on the manual car won’t work because the models have different exhaust routing.

It’s worth noting that some aftermarket exhausts are too noisy to be street-legal, depending on where you live. Therefore, do your homework if you plan on modifying your 2023 Z. But if you think the stock stick-shift sports car is too silent, don’t worry, fixes are incoming.

It might be quieter stock, but will the stick-shift 2023 Z be fun to drive?

As of this writing, 2023 Nissan Z driving impressions are still embargoed, so it’s impossible to gauge how it handles. But after sitting in one at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show, I came away assured that Nissan was taking its redesigned sports car seriously. And considering the 370Z still serves up smiles, I’d wager its successor is at least as fun.

Still, if you for some reason can’t get the manual, don’t feel bad. The 2023 Nissan Z automatic is the same car, just with more factory goodies and noise. As long as you enjoy the sports car, that’s what matters in the end.

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