2023 Nissan Z

2023 Nissan Z

Modern Performance, Retro Inspired

Episode 4210
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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 Mazda CX-90 Front Quarter 1

2024 Mazda CX-90

A Force To Be Reckoned With

Episode 4238
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.

Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.

Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.

There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.

2024 Mazda CX-90 3
2024 Mazda CX-90 Side Profile
2024 Mazda CX-90 Quarter Rear
2024 Mazda CX-90 Twin-Turbo I-6 Engine Cover
2024 Mazda CX-90 Twin-Turbo I-6 Engine
2024 Mazda CX-90 32024 Mazda CX-90 Side Profile2024 Mazda CX-90 Quarter Rear2024 Mazda CX-90 Twin-Turbo I-6 Engine Cover2024 Mazda CX-90 Twin-Turbo I-6 Engine

It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.

At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.

Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.

There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.

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Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.

As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.

Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.

Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.


  • Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
  • Horsepower: 340
  • 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
  • EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
  • Starting Price: $40,970