2023 Nissan Z Is a Tire Swap Away From Supra-Beating Speed

2023 Nissan Z tires and acceleration tests article highlights:

  • Hagerty drag-raced the 2023 Nissan Z against the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 and Ford Mustang Mach 1
  • Although the new Nissan Z is faster than the old one, it could be even faster with grippier tires
  • The stock tires still make it a fun, easy-to-drive sports car, though

Horsepower and weight are crucial sports car ingredients, but tires can make or break performance. Sure, burnouts are fun—and occasionally functional—but they’re also visual proof that your car isn’t putting all its power down. However, that also means that unlocking extra speed could be just a tire change away. And that adds a new wrinkle to a recent 2023 Nissan Z vs. 2022 Toyota Supra drag race.

On stock tires, the 2023 Nissan Z isn’t as fast as the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0

2023 Nissan Z Performance2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0
Engine3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V63.0-liter turbocharged inline-six
Horsepower400 hp382 hp
Torque350 lb-ft368 lb-ft
TransmissionsSix-speed manual
Nine-speed automatic
Eight-speed automatic
Curb weightManual: 3536 lbs
Automatic: 3602 lbs
3400 lbs
0-60 mph timeManual: 4.3 seconds (Hagerty)
Automatic: 4.0 seconds (Hagerty)
Claimed: 3.9 seconds
Tested: 3.8 seconds (Hagerty)
1/4-mile time and trap speedManual: 12.8 seconds @ 112 mph (Hagerty)
Automatic: 12.3 seconds @ 116 mph (Hagerty)
12.1 seconds @ 117 mph (Hagerty)

The 2023 Nissan Z has only been officially out a few days, and already people are racing it. In Hagerty’s case, it’s racing it against a 2022 Ford Mustang Mach 1 and 2022 Toyota Supra 3.0. And as the numbers in the table above show, the 2023 Z is slower than the Supra. However, that’s not quite the whole story.

Firstly, as Nissan claimed, the 2023 Z is faster than the old 370Z. It might be heavier, but the new Z is significantly more powerful and torquier. Also, it has a different automatic and a re-worked manual. As a result, the new Z hits 60 mph 0.7 seconds faster than the old one—and that’s with the stick.

Secondly, Hagerty also lined the 2023 Nissan Z up against a sports car with near-identical specs: a 4.7-liter Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The Aston makes 20 more horsepower, though it’s slightly less torquey. But though the stick-shift V8 Vantage runs the ¼-mile in 12.7 seconds, it has the same 128-mph trap speed as the Z. Furthermore, the stick-shift sports cars have the same 0-60 time. And keep in mind that the Aston cost roughly $110,000 when it was new.

Yet the 2023 Nissan Z might be faster still if it got some different tires.

The key to more speed could be stickier tires

RELATED: The Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4 Tires Get Sticky When it’s Warm

Although it’s not surprising that the 2023 Nissan Z is faster with an automatic than a manual, the speed difference isn’t purely down to the transmission. The automatic Nissan Z has standard launch control, which, among other things, prevents the tires from slipping. Or rather, it should prevent the tires from slipping. As you can see in the video above, even with launch control active, the Nissan Z’s tires slip through first, second, and even third gear.

Now, the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 also comes standard with launch control. But it zooms off the line with only a brief chirp from its rear tires. Add in more torque, less weight, and almost as much power, and you have the reason why the Supra is faster than the Z. However, it might not be the launch control’s fault.

See, the Toyota Supra 3.0 comes standard with Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires. This is basically one step down from the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, one of the best performance tires on sale today. The Mach 1 also wears these tires, though its optional Handling Package gives it the even more extreme Pilot Sport Cup 2s. However, the 2023 Nissan Z Sport is shod in Yokohama Advan Sport tires while the Z Performance gets Bridgestone Potenza S007 rubber.

Although the Bridgestone and Yokohama tires are solid performance options, they’re not quite on the Michelins’ level. When Car and Driver tested earlier versions of these tires, the PSS ones finished first, while the Potenzas and Advans came second and third, respectively. In addition, Car and Driver found that swapping from the track-oriented Cup 2s to the Sport 4S tires on the Shelby GT500 shaved 0.2 seconds off the 0-60 time.

Interestingly, that’s the same delta between the 2023 Nissan Z’s and 2022 Toyota Supra’s 0-60 times.

The 2023 Nissan Z doesn’t need maximum speed to be fun on the street

The rear 3/4 view of a red 2023 Nissan Z in front of the Las Vegas city lights
2023 Nissan Z rear 3/4 | Nissan

RELATED: Can You Turn a 2022 Nissan Sentra Into a Real SE-R?

As Hagerty didn’t have extra Michelin PSS tires laying around, it couldn’t test its 2023 Nissan Z hypothesis. But in short, if you want a faster Z, stickier tires are likely an easy way to get one.

However, even on the stock tires, the new Nissan Z “grips tenaciously on the track,” Car and Driver reports. It’s also easy to control, with approachable limits and a communicative well-balanced chassis. Still, if more speed is your thing, the price difference between the Nissan Z and Toyota Supra should buy a lot of tires.

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