400 HP for $40K: The 2023 Nissan Z Is Finally Ready to Run

After numerous teasers, speculation, and one last concept showing, the wait is over at last. The seventh-generation Nissan Z, the 370Z’s successor, is finally here. And while it doesn’t bear the name ‘400Z,’ the 2023 Nissan Z is faithful to the concept’s retro-inspired design. But that design is only a small part of what this RWD sports car offers.

The 2023 Nissan Z isn’t a 400Z, but it does have 400 hp and a stick

An overhead view of a blue 2023 Nissan Z on a mountainside road
2023 Nissan Z overhead | Nissan
Spec2023 Nissan Z
Engine3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
Power400 hp
Torque350 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manual
Nine-speed automatic
0-60 mph time4.3 seconds (manual, The Drive estimate)

First things first: the name. While the press and enthusiast community dubbed the next-gen Z the ‘Nissan 400Z,’ that name was never official. Instead, the production version of the Z Proto Concept is called the 2023 Nissan Z.

However, while ‘400Z’ didn’t stick, that number appears elsewhere on the 2023 Nissan Z. Specifically, under its hood, because that’s how much horsepower its Infiniti Q60 Red Sport-sourced V6 makes. That’s also 68 more hp—and 80 more lb-ft of torque—than the outgoing 370Z makes. As a result, Nissan estimates the 2023 Z goes 0-60 mph 15% faster than the 370Z. And, fun fact, it’s the first time a Z has turbochargers since the 300ZX.

But though the 2023 Z is faster and more powerful than the 370Z, it’s still based on the latter’s chassis. Yet don’t think that the new Z is just the old car with some retro looks, MotorTrend says. Nissan fitted new dampers and springs, stiffened the entire chassis, tweaked the suspension geometry, and fitted wider front tires. The 2023 Z also has electric power steering and a standard front strut-tower brace. Plus, the doors, hood, and rear hatch are made out of aluminum. In total, roughly 80% of the car is new, Roadshow reports.

Besides upgrading the engine and chassis, the 2023 Nissan Z also has some transmission upgrades. As in the 370Z, manual 2023 Zs have a carbon-fiber driveshaft. But they also have standard EXEDY performance clutches. And the 2023 Z is the first manual Nissan with launch control, though it’s not standard on the base car. However, it is standard on automatic models, as are two driving modes.

The new Z has two trims and a limited-edition Z Proto Concept lookalike

The blue seats and blue-and-black dashboard of a 2023 Nissan Z
2023 Nissan Z interior | Nissan

For 2023, the Nissan Z comes in two trims: Sport and Performance. Besides the mechanical upgrades, both trims have a 12.3” digital gauge cluster, 8” center touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB and 12V outlets, and two cupholders. Don’t laugh, the 370Z only had one, MT notes. Also, the 2023 Z has keyless start, a six-speaker audio system, and multiple advanced driver-assistance features, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Stepping up to the 2023 Nissan Z Performance, though, adds some extra luxury and, well, performance features. While both trims have ventilated disc brakes, the Z Performance’s brakes are larger. The Performance trim also adds a limited-slip differential, lighter Rays forged-alloy wheels, and grippier tires. Plus, as noted earlier, manual 2023 Nissan Z Performance cars have launch control as well as automatic rev-matching.

The rear 3/4 view of a yellow-and-black 2023 Nissan Z Proto Spec
2023 Nissan Z Proto Spec rear 3/4 | Nissan

In addition, the 2023 Z Performance has aluminum pedals, front and rear spoilers, a retuned suspension setup, and a trim-specific dual-exit exhaust, Hagerty reports. Automatic Performance models also get aluminum shift paddles with GT-R-inspired designs. And while both trims have sport seats, the Z Performance’s seats are leather-appointed, heated, and are more adjustable. Plus, the higher 2023 Nissan Z trim gets an eight-speaker Bose audio system, 9” touchscreen with navigation, heated side mirrors, and WiFi.

For all its modernity, the 2023 Z’s design matches the retro Z Proto Concept “pretty much” exactly, The Drive says. But there’s a way to make it match even more closely: the Proto Spec. Based on the Performance trim, it’s a limited-edition model that adds yellow brake calipers, bronze wheels, yellow seat accents and stitching, and a special shift knob. It’s the closest thing to a road-legal Z Proto.

How much does the 2023 Nissan Z cost?

As of this writing, Nissan hasn’t revealed full pricing details for the 2023 Z. However, the automaker claims the Sport will start “at around $40,000,” Road & Track reports. That’s roughly where the 370Z Sport Touring, the trim right below the NISMO, started.

Nissan says the new Z will hit dealers starting in spring 2022. By that time, more details will likely be released. However, we do know that the Proto Spec models will be a truly limited commodity. In a nod to the original 240Z, Nissan is only making 240 examples for the US.

Still, at long last, the Z is back.

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