2023 Nissan Z vs. 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0: Style or Sharpness?

2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium vs. 2022 Nissan Z Performance track and street review highlights:

  • In a straight line, the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 is faster than the 2023 Nissan Z
  • Driving both recently, the Supra was the sharper sports car, especially at higher speeds, but the Z felt more enjoyable at street-legal speeds
  • The Supra is the better choice for performance seekers, but the Z offers more for those chasing experiences

I first heard this sentiment during a Porsche discussion, but it applies to other sports cars just as well. For some customers, ultimate performance is the goal, no compromises. Others, though, are willing to sacrifice some speed as long as they enjoy the ride. This brings us to the question of the 2023 Nissan Z and the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0. Both breathe new life into an iconic nameplate rivalry, though neither is quite the same as its ancestor. And picking a side depends on what you value more in a RWD sports car.

Which is faster, the 2023 Nissan Z or the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0?

2023 Nissan Z Performance2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium
Engine3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V63.0-liter turbocharged inline-six
Horsepower400 hp382 hp
Torque350 lb-ft368 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manualEight-speed automatic
Curb weight3536 lbs3400 lbs
0-60 mph time4.5 seconds3.7 seconds
Price$49,990 (base)
$53,610 (as tested)
$54,690 (base)
$57,915 (as tested)

At first glance, the 2023 Nissan Z and 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 seem relatively evenly matched. Yes, the Z is more powerful, but it’s also heavier and less torquey. And though the tester I recently drove had a manual, the 2023 Z has an optional nine-speed automatic. But even with the automatic, the Z’s tires and weight hold it back.

Regardless of the straight-line performance metrics, the 2023 Nissan Z is slower than the Supra. In addition to the 0.8-second 0-60 advantage, the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium also went 5-60 0.6 seconds faster than the Z, Car and Driver reports. Furthermore, the six-cylinder Supra runs the ¼-mile 0.8 seconds faster, though it’s only 3 mph faster by the end. And at highway speeds in top gear, the Supra will demolish the Z.

This performance gap doesn’t stop when the track or road starts twisting, though.

On a road or track, the Supra 3.0 is sharper than the Z

I recently got a chance to drive both a 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium and a 2023 Nissan Z Performance on and around Road America—but not both. My Supra time was limited to the track itself, as it was last year, while the Z was exclusively for street driving. However, as I’ll explain shortly, that’s likely for the best for both cars.

Although it was raining at Road America this year, the 2022 GR Supra 3.0 felt nearly identical to the one I drove last year. As in it feels like it belongs on the racetrack.

The brakes are reassuringly strong, for one, and the steering is sharp and accurate, though not the most talkative. But it weights up gradually and naturally as you dive into corners, making you plenty confident in the car. And once you start cornering, the active limited-slip differential and well-balanced chassis make tightening your lines a snap. Speaking of snaps, the automatic snaps off blazing-fast shifts in Sport mode. Plus, the inline-six pulls hard no matter the gear or rpm.

Admittedly, the 2023 Nissan Z Performance wouldn’t be totally out of its depth on a track. For example, like the Supra, the 2023 Z has an LSD, albeit a mechanical one. In addition, its V6 has a trick anti-lag feature, and the sports seats are well-bolstered. However, it’s just not as precise as the Supra 3.0.

Besides the tire issue, the 2023 Z has more weight over its nose than the Supra. Also, though the Z is stiffer than the old 370Z and has upgraded shocks and suspension components, its chassis has older roots. As a result, when pushed to the limit, Nissan’s sports car can’t keep up with the Toyota, Car and Driver says. It’s not a bad sports car, but it’s not the scalpel that the Toyota GR Supra 3.0 is.

The 2023 Nissan Z makes stylin’ on the street look easy—and easier than in the Toyota GR Supra 3.0

RELATED: Manual GR86 vs. Manual GR Supra: The Six-Speed GR Showdown

Here’s the thing, though: I rarely drive on a racetrack. And as a Chicagoland resident, I also rarely find myself driving on tight, curving roads, let alone at speed. Hence why I traded an NB Miata for a 500 Abarth. The Abarth isn’t as nuanced as the Miata, but it’s charming and just as fun on city roads. Also, easier to live with daily.

It’s a similar story with the 2023 Nissan Z Performance and the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0. Yes, the Supra is sharper, faster, and better-balanced. But it’s also more cramped and harder to see out of. Furthermore, as capable as it is, the Supra doesn’t feel exciting until you really push it. At sane speeds, the GR86 puts a bigger smile on my face. And so does the 2023 Z, which is exactly what Nissan’s team was aiming for. Nissan wanted a dance partner, not a track weapon.

So, when you’re not auditioning for a Fast and Furious part, the 2023 Nissan Z’s strengths come through. Its V6 isn’t quite as smooth as the Supra’s inline-six, but it’s just as responsive and strong. And it makes a brilliantly gruff noise when you put your foot down. Also, the Z’s steering feels heftier than the Supra’s steering in a good way and delivers more feedback. Plus, not only does its interior feel more spacious, but it’s easier to see out of.

Finally, we must talk about styling. Its appeal is subjective, but it also highlights Nissan’s and Toyota’s different sports car intentions. The 2023 Z is a retro-heavy homage, which fits with its more relaxed air. Meanwhile, the Supra has a more dramatic, edgy look that vibes with its performance. It looks fast even standing still, while the Z feels more chill. Neither is bad, just different.

2023 Nissan Z vs. 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0: Which sports car is worth it?

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Although the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 is more expensive than the 2023 Nissan Z Performance, it does get some extra features. Besides the active LSD, for instance, it has adaptive shocks and 12 speakers instead of eight like the Z. However, unlike the Z, the Supra’s manual will be optional. And you could buy some sweet high-performance tires for less than the cost difference between the Z and Supra.

Regardless, as I said earlier, this choice hinges on what kind of sports car experience you want. Want the fastest, most focused option? Get the Supra. Looking for something reasonably fast that’s a bit more charismatic? Swing your eyes toward the Z.

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