Is the 2023 Nissan Z a Good Sports Car? 6 Things We Like, 2 We Don’t

nissan-z-2023-04-exterior-blue-front 2023 Nissan Z | photo by Jonathan Earley

Combining styling cues from its forebears with updated technology, the 2023 Nissan Z has a new powertrain and interior but uses a carryover platform from the previous 370Z. The result is a modern and enjoyable sports car that gives credit to its past without over-relying on retro cues and nostalgia to make it appealing.

Related: 2023 Nissan Z Review: Relatively Affordable, Lots of Fun

With a potent and agreeable powertrain, sharp handling and an available six-speed manual transmission, the new Z checks all the boxes for a proper sports car. And on top of that, it’s relatively affordable, undercutting the base price of the six-cylinder Toyota Supra, arguably its most direct competitor, by more than $10,000.

We recently had the opportunity to sample a 2023 Z and came away impressed. In some key areas beyond price, we prefer it to the Supra: The Z impressed us as being more engaging from behind the wheel, with a more comfortable cabin that’s better able to accommodate 6-footers. The availability of a manual only adds to the appeal.

As usual, however, we’re not here just to sing the praises of the newest sports car to arrive on the block. For a deeper dive, hit the link above for Mike Hanley’s review. For a quicker look, read on — here are six things we like about the 2023 Nissan Z and two we don’t.

Things We Like

1. Agreeable Engine

The new Z is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that’s shared with the Infiniti Red Sport performance models. Good for 400 horsepower, it’s more than up to the task of getting the roughly 3,500-pound Z up to speed in a hurry. With peak torque available from 1,600 to 5,200 rpm, low and mid-range response is much improved over the old 370Z’s naturally aspirated V-6.

nissan-z-2023-13-coupe-engine 2023 Nissan Z | photo by Christian Lantry

2. Transmission Choices

To Nissan’s credit, the new Z is available with a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission. That said, the nine-speed automatic is the way to go if you’re looking to extract the most performance; the automatic simply shifts gears faster than a human can. But nothing beats a good manual transmission for driving engagement and fun.

3. Nimble Performance

A double-wishbone front suspension and rear multilink design with monotube shocks help make for nimble handling, and the Z holds its line in corners without fuss. Electrically assisted power steering replaces the hydraulic setup in the last 370Z, lending a light but direct and precise feel. The Z is firmly sprung, although that wasn’t much of an issue on the smooth Nevada roads where we had a chance to try it. On rural two-lane roads, the Z settles into a relaxed cruise without the twitchiness of some performance cars.

4. Retro, But Not

Styling of the new Z pays homage to earlier Z cars without relying entirely on fond memories to make sales. Various design elements of the new car evoke bits from several earlier generations, but the overall look is clean, cohesive, modern and stylish, and not likely to look like a caricature after a couple of selling seasons.   

5. Well-Designed Cockpit

The all-new cabin carries over some design cues while incorporating more tech features. The three-pod gauge cluster atop the dash will look familiar to Z fans, and an 8- or 9-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay enhances the Z’s connectivity. Seats with suede-style inserts are supportive and hold the driver in place, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel helps even 6-footers find a comfortable driving position.

nissan-z-2023-19-interior-front-row 2023 Nissan Z | photo by Jonathan Earley
  1. Reasonable Base Price

A starting price of about $41,000 (including destination) makes the Z a reasonable deal compared to its competition, most notably the Supra. However, it’s a big jump from the base Z to the Performance trim, which adds $10,000. But even at around $51,000, it’s still less than a six-cylinder Supra.

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Things We Don’t Like

1. Stiff Ride

One downside of the new Z’s athletic handling is a ride that can only be described as stiff. Some buyers may be OK with that, or live in places where smooth roads make it less of an issue, but we have yet to drive a Z on the punishing streets in and around our Chicago environs. Even on the relatively good roads around Las Vegas, the suspension was adept at finding flaws.

2. Road Noise

Both Z cars we drove were Performance trim models, with larger 19-inch forged-alloy wheels and more aggressive rubber than the base Sport trim. We noticed quite a bit of road noise, particularly on coarse pavement. This may be less of an issue with the base trim, but we won’t know for sure until we can more thoroughly test it.

nissan-z-2023-10-exterior-blue-rear-angle 2023 Nissan Z | photo by Jonathan Earley’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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