For more than 50 years, it has been Z was Nissan Charming, albeit a little under the radar, answer to American muscle: a two-seater, V6, rear-wheel drive sports car with a sticker price targeting the Everyman. It is definitely a suitable place. When the letter Z is mentioned in a car-shopping scenario, it’s often “Oh yeah,” like, “Oh yeah, I forgot about the Z.”
Spend some time in the seat on this highly revised 2023 model and you won’t have this problem. It’s faster, more everyday driveable, and better looking than the outgoing 370Z. Recently, a $53,610’23 Performance model appeared on my driveway. Within minutes, I had Bridgestone tires barking, inadvertently, jogging to pick up pies. Although the Nissan designed the Z to be used on the everyday track, snatching the fun out of a regular game of pizza seems more common.
Turns out Tony C. was hiring delivery drivers. I briefly considered a career change when I returned to the discontinued Z’s two-tone, passion red and super black, impressed by its cool redesign. Nissan manages to get the retro charm without turning the Z into a cartoon, with smooth motions like lengthening the hood by five inches and creating an open, square grille, both of which recall the Datsun Z’s from the 1970s.
These design elements aren’t just a gimmick. Both serve a new engine with more cooling and intercooling requirements. The Z’s outgoing 3.7-liter V6 was replaced by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 shared with a few fast Infinitis cars. It is modified here for the high temperature requirements of track use. The new engine delivers more juice: It boosts the Z’s output to 400 horsepower, 68 more than the outgoing Z engine. More power is available at the bottom of the range – maximum torque comes from 1,600 rpm – hence the bark tires. My test model came with a nine-speed automatic. Choose a six-speed manual if you want to roll a manual yourself.