2023 Nissan Z vs. 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette: Old School or New?

2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette and 2023 Nissan Z comparison highlights:

  • The 2023 Nissan Z and 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette offer disparate takes on the rear-wheel-drive sports car recipe
  • The Corvette is faster, sharper, and offers more tech than the Z, but the Nissan has a manual, retro-inspired style, lower price, and is easier to live with
  • Get the C8 if you want the more athletic sports car and buy the Z if you’d like the one that feels more vintage

Though their hometowns are continents apart, the Nissan Z and Chevrolet C8 Corvette have similar origin stories. Both of their ancestors drew inspiration from British roadsters of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Today, though, the Z and Corvette offer far different takes on the sports car formula. And the ‘Vette’s mid-engine layout is just the start. So, how do you pick between the 2023 Nissan Z and 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette?

Which is faster, the 2023 Nissan Z or the 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette?

2023 Nissan Z2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Stingray
Engine3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V66.2-liter V8
Horsepower400 hp490 hp (base)
495 hp (Z51 Performance Package)
Torque350 lb-ft465 lb-ft (base)
470 lb-ft (Z51 Performance Package)
TransmissionSix-speed manual
Nine-speed automatic
Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic
Curb weight3486-3602 lbs3366 lbs (dry weight)
0-60 mph time4.0-4.5 seconds2.8-3.3 seconds

Just about the only things the 2023 Nissan Z and 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette have in common is that they’re two-seater rear-wheel-drive sports cars. While the Z still rocks a front-engine layout, the C8, as noted earlier, has a mid-engine one. Also, unlike the Corvette, the 2023 Z still has a manual. The Corvette, though, throws it back better than the Z in one area: the Chevy is naturally-aspirated, not turbocharged. And it’s a good thing for the Z because the performance gap is big enough as it is.

Now, the 2023 Nissan Z isn’t exactly slow. A sub-five-second 0-60 mph time is still respectable these days. And Hagerty managed to record a 4.0-second time with an automatic Z. However, not only do the Z’s tires hold it back, but it’s also heavier and less powerful than the Corvette.

In addition, the C8’s mid-engine layout gives it better traction off the line. Hence why it can beat more powerful RWD cars on the dragstrip. And it’s even shown other mid-engine cars, such as the NSX Type S, its taillights.

Admittedly, the 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette isn’t unbeatable. Also, although MotorTrend recorded a 2.8-second 0-60 run in a C8 Z51, it also got a 3.3-second result in a non-Z51 car due to launch control issues. However, both MT and Car and Driver consistently recorded slower 0-60 and ¼-mile times for the Z than the C8.

Compared to the Nissan Z, the 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette is almost a supercar

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The 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette isn’t just faster than the 2023 Nissan Z in a straight line, though. It also pulls ahead once the road—or track—starts twisting.

As noted earlier, the C8 is lighter and more powerful than the Z. But it also has its supercar-like mid-engine layout to thank for its sharper reflexes. It might understeer at the limit, MT says, but it turns in easily and quickly, with accurate and fast steering. The C8 Corvette’s brakes also hold up better to track use than the Z’s pads. And the Z51’s magnetorheological dampers and grippier tires let it stick better, too.

However, it’s not just in handling where the C8 Corvette feels more supercar-esque than the Nissan Z. The C8’s interior, for example, is far more driver-focused. In addition, while the Z’s rear cargo space is technically part of the cabin, the 2022 Corvette has two actual trunks. And like those low-lying Lambos, the C8 offers an electronic nose lift.

Furthermore, the 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette has a bit more technology than the Z. Sure, the 2023 Z offers Apple CarPlay, various advanced driver-assistance safety features, and a digital gauge cluster. But while the Z Performance has a mechanical limited-slip differential, the Corvette Z51 has an electronic one. Plus, in addition to those magnetic shocks and nose lift, the C8 has more speakers as well as standard WiFi.

In short, compared to the Nissan Z, the 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette is part of a newer school of sports cars. Plus, while there won’t be a convertible 2023 Z, the C8 comes standard with a Targa top—and there is a convertible version.

The 2023 Z does old-school sports car vibes better than the Corvette

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True, the 2023 Nissan Z isn’t as fast or as sharp as the 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette. But it fills the part of a retro sports car better than the C8, especially from an exterior-design perspective. And in some ways, that also makes it more usable.

For one, the Z doesn’t have a mass of buttons that only the driver can comfortably control like the C8. It does, though, have three physical performance-related gauges on its dashboard, something the C8 lacks. Secondly, while the Z’s C-pillar creates a big blind spot, it’s still easier to see out of than the 2022 Corvette. Furthermore, while it doesn’t have two trunks, the Z’s hatchback offers a larger opening. And its rear cargo space is big enough for a suitcase, unlike the C8’s trunk.

Practicality, though, isn’t really a priority for sports car shoppers. The driving experience, though, is. And that’s what matters with the Z, especially in Performance form.

Yes, driving a mid-engine Corvette, with all its sharp edges and intakes, is a special occasion. But so is rowing the gears of a car like the Z, with all its vintage style. And it keeps you involved in the drive whether you’re slowly cruising down the street or exploring a country road. Furthermore, as my colleague experienced, the C8 isn’t really at home in the city. The Z, though, will undoubtedly have an easier time fitting in.

Also, while the 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette is cheap for a ‘supercar,’ it’s not cheaper than the 2023 Z. The Z Performance starts at just under $50K, while a base C8 starts at just over $65K. And $15K buys a lot of tires.

2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette vs. 2023 Nissan Z: Which should you buy?

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In some ways, the 2023 Nissan Z and 2022 Chevrolet C8 Corvette arguably aren’t rivals. The C8 is more of a Porsche Boxster/Cayman alternative, while the Z antagonizes Camaros, Supras, and Mustangs. Still, the somewhat-affordable sports car segment is tight enough these days that some people might cross-shop them.

If that’s you, the choice rides on what you want out of a sports car. Looking for maximum speed, tight reflexes, and exotic style? Get the Corvette. Want something that’s fun but a bit more relaxed, something with a stick and a touch of nostalgia? You’ll likely enjoy the Z and its lower price tag more.

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