2023 Nissan Z
Modern Performance, Retro Inspired
Most people would agree that the original Nissan 240Z was the car that legitimized Japanese sports cars here in America. But much has changed over the last 50-years, a small sporty coupe is certainly not as popular they once were, and the Z went from leading that pack to barely remembered. So it’s Time to see what kind of an impact an all-new Z car will have in the modern performance car landscape.
If you’re old enough to remember the original Datsun 240Z, congrats, you’ve lived a full and hopefully rewarding car enthusiast life; as did the last generation Nissan 370Z. It saw a full 12-years before quietly slipping away in 2020. The new 2023 Nissan Z does away with the numbers in the name; fitting, as this car is about much more than just numbers.
The family lineage of this 7th generation Z is obvious, without any further review required; as there’s less of a design theme and more of a greatest hits collection of previous Zs. There’s the long nose of the original, eye-like headlights of the 240ZG, and taillights reminiscent of the 90’s 300ZX; plus, a subtle hood bulge and black roof; though sorry, no T-tops.
Same exact wheelbase as before, but there’s a new chrome roof spear, and either 18 or 19-inch wheels.
Available in Sport and Performance specs, it’s the Performance that gets the 19-inch wheels along with a mechanical limited slip differential, more aggressive suspension tune, sport muffler, front chin spoiler and rear spoiler.
But, the Z launches with this special Proto Spec edition, limited to just 240 units. It sports unique 19-inch wheels, yellow brake calipers, upgraded leather seating, yellow trim, and even a distinctive shift knob.
The really good news is you don’t have to pay any extra to get max power. All Z’s come with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. It’s not the first turbo-charged Z, but it is the first Z to come exclusively with boost; rated at 400-horsepower and 350 lb-ft. of torque. And yes, it’s the same VR30DDTT engine you can get in Red Sport Infiniti’s.
That’s a substantial jump over last gen’s standard 332–horsepower; and with those turbos, torque delivery is noticeably more intense.
The interior is far more modern than retro, with a center multimedia screen that is either an 8 or 9-incher, while the gauge display is more than 12-inches. Though we were glad to see they still incorporate a trio of analog dials on top of the dash, because who doesn’t like to monitor turbo speed?
In the console, is either a short-throw shifter for the 6-speed manual; or an electronic gear selector for the 9-speed automatic transmission.
We manually shifted our Z to the ¼-mile test grounds of Mason Dixon Dragway.
Even with the manual, there is launch assist to help you make a quick getaway; and putting it to use, got us to 60 in 4.5-seconds, 8-tenths quicker than the last NISMO tune 370Z we tested. The clutch is firm and the shifter is solid and works well, provided you don’t try and force it too aggressively.
The engine sounds precise and sewing machine-like more than raw powerful, but is feels hella torquey throughout the 12.9 second ¼-mile, which we finished at 108 miles-per-hour.
All of that torque makes for easy burnouts, but it also powered some quick trips through our handling course.
It understeers early at turn-in, but power is smooth for providing the subtle inputs you need for maintaining a good pace. Compared to the Supra it feels softer but also less twitchy. The stability systems let you have quite a bit of fun before stepping in.
Underneath is the same basic double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension setup from last gen, but tweaked of course, with revised geometry and upgraded monotube shocks.
Brakes were outstanding. Even with a slight bouncing motion, the 3,500-lbs. Z delivered consistent stops from 60 of just 104-feet.
All of this comes with greater comfort than before in both seating and ride quality for the drive home.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the manual transmission are 18-City, 24-Highway, and 20-Combined. We averaged a good 22.3 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
That’s only slightly below average for the Energy Impact Score; 14.9-barrels of annual petroleum consumption, with CO2 emissions of 7.2-tons.
Starting Price is only $41,015 for Z Sport; Performance is 10-grand more; undercutting the Toyota Supra by a significant margin. Limited Proto Specs are still available for $55,310.
While it doesn’t break any new ground, Nissan has done a fantastic job with the 2023 Z. They’ve captured the spirit of the original, while delivering a more than notable dose of modern performance, at a still realistic price. Even if the popularity of true 2-seat sports cars has given way to high-output SUVs and track-worthy compacts, it’s great to see brands like Nissan keep the faith. And, anyone with a little petrol still in their veins prays that they can do that for another fifty years.
- Engine: 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6
- Horsepower: 400
- Torque: 350 lb-ft
- 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 12.9 seconds at 108 mph
- 60-0 Braking: 104 feet (avg)
- EPA: 18 City / 24 Highway / 20 Combined
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph