The new 2023 Nissan Z may not be expected in dealerships until spring of next year, but we do at least have an idea of pricing and how that lines up with other enthusiast coupes. Revealed yesterday, the new seventh-generation Z drops the numbers in its name but adds the most power yet, with a twin-turbo V6 promising 400 horsepower.
It’s not just the engine which has keen drivers excited, however. Nissan will be offering a 9-speed automatic with paddle-shifters, of course, but there’ll also be a 6-speed manual for those who still prefer to change their own gears themselves.
Will that deliver the most rapid 0-60 time? Probably not – Nissan still hasn’t confirmed exact performance expectations for the 2023 Z – but stick-shifts are a dying breed in the new car world and so any opportunity to still get your hands on one should probably be celebrated.
Top speed and acceleration aren’t the only things yet to be announced, with Nissan still keeping full pricing close to its chest. What we do know is that the entry-level car, the 2023 Z Sport, will be priced around $40,000. There’ll also be a more expensive – and better equipped – Z Performance, plus a very limited edition Z Proto Spec of which only 240 will make it to American shores.
While not quite as affordable, then, as some early leaks indicated, that’s still a highly competitive price given the amount of horsepower on tap. It also puts the new Z car somewhere between Nissan’s outgoing 370Z range. The base 2020 370Z started at just north of $30k, while the 370Z NISMO started at just under $46k with the manual transmission. Both versions of the car are now sold out, Nissan says.
How does the 2023 Nissan Z hold up to the competition?
It’s fair to say that enthusiast drivers don’t have a huge amount of choice when it comes to affordable coupes these days, though that’s not to say the new Z will have the segment to itself when it lands next year.
Perhaps the most obvious rival will be Toyota’s Supra. Co-developed with BMW – and indeed available as a convertible cousin in the shape of the Z4 – the newest Supra starts at just over $43k, though for that you only get the 2.0-liter inline-4 engine. 255 horsepower is a whole lot less than you’ll find in the 2023 Z, therefore, and Toyota doesn’t have a manual option, only an 8-speed automatic.
Toyota does have a manual coupe, if you’re willing to think a little smaller. The new 2022 GR 86 is expected to start at under $30k in base spec form, and has a delectable 6-speed manual option to go with its punchy 2.4-liter boxer 4-cylinder. Again, you get a lot less power – 228 hp in fact – but the diminutive dimensions and light weight still leave the GR 86 excellent value for smiles-per-dollar.
You could say much the same for the GR 86’s clearest competition, the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Officially a convertible, though available in more expensive Miata RF form with a retractable targa top, you can still get Mazda’s wonderful 6-speed gearbox from under $27k before destination. With 181 horses to play with you’re definitely down on power versus the new Z, but then again the Miata’s charm has never been about outright grunt.
In much the same way, the Honda Civic Type R has always balanced performance with epic handling. No, it’s not a coupe, but the $38k hatchback pairs its 306 horsepower with a superb 6-speed manual transmission. Family-friendly cars are seldom this much fun.