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
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined