THE 2023 NISSAN Z IS NOSTALGIA THAT WORKS

2023 Nissan Z Performance

Price: $58,498 CAD

Colour: Ikazuchi Yellow

Nostalgia is all the rage at the moment. Whether it be TV shows, movies or cars everything that was old is new again. At 42 I’m the perfect age for Nissans latest Nostalgia driven offering, the 2023 Z. Whenever I’m offered the chance to drive a 6 speed manual, rear wheel drive sports car I’m going to take it. They’re most certainly a dying breed and but the Z proves they’re not dead yet. Nostalgia offerings can sometimes evoke images and feelings that we love but leave us disappointed with the final product. The Z is a bit of a unicorn in that it delivers most of what it promises and doesn’t crush my childlike need to relive the 90’s. This is a proper sports car from the past.

Power & Performance

The 2023 Nissan Z comes with a 3.0L twin turbo V6 engine. It produces 400hp and 350lb/ft of torque. This is a personal thing, but I find the power output of the Z nearly perfect. It’s a very quiet driving experience but that could be fixed with a set of aftermarket pipes. The stock rig suits me fine as I’m an old man. While I want to shift gears, kick out the ass end and have some fun I don’t want anything too reckless that will come back to bite me. This is a great setup for someone like myself.

Exterior

The 2023 Nissan Z is beautiful. It’s beautiful in a conventional sense, nothing quirky about this thing. The lines are fabulous. That long hood stretching toward the headlights, the compact drivers compartment and the squat rear end – all perfect. This reminds me of many of the Nissan sports cars I spent time in as a kid and young adult. My best friend had several Nissan sports cars and I learned what I know from him and his passion. His 240SX in particular left a mark. You can see some of that cars design elements here. I am firmly in love with the way this car looks.

Interior

As soon as I climbed inside the Z I had a strange sort of time-warp sensation. So much of the details of this car speak to the models that came before it. The switches, buttons and dials could all have been commonplace in the 90’s lineup of sports cars. It’s a little thing but it made me feel at home. The heated seat buttons on the centre console in particular brought me back.

Another item that took me on a stroll down memory lane is the proper, old school hand operated emergency brake. You don’t see these anymore. Everything is electric in modern cars. I really loved seeing this thing on the side of the center console. It also aides you in your pursuit of a power slide should you make such a decision. 

Visibility is pretty good. It’s not as good as a van or pickup because you sit very low and sports cars are not renowned for their visibility so the Z gets it right.

The seating position is quite low and it cups you like a lover should. The drivers seat is well cushioned and the bolsters will keep you in place. This brings us to the fact that the Z is a proper two-seater. They didn’t cram seats in the back that nobody could use or want. Purpose built machine.  Such a great choice.

The dash cluster has several display options but the sport option is the best and only one you’ll use. It tells you everything you want to know while complying with all speed limits and other road rules in your powerful sports car. Complementing the display are three old school dials mounted on the dash and pointed only at the driver. They tell you your turbo speed and boost as well as your battery levels. I miss these little gauges. We used to see them all the time. This is a wonderful touch.

One disappointment in the Z, and most other Nissans, is the infotainment system. It’s a standard, low res piece of crap that’s very similar to what you’ll find on a litany of other Nissan offerings. One blemish a horrible vehicle does not make, but I would have loved to see something better than this.

The Z is not the most practical car in the world but you could daily drive it should you feel compelled. There is just enough cargo space under the hatch in the back to accommodate your thrice weekly trip to the grocery store. If you have children, it better not be more than one or their respective sports had best be scheduled in sequence as you won’t be transporting more than one passenger at a time. Most importantly the Z will put a smile on the face of every driver forced to live their lives in a soulless SUV box that’s slowly consuming their zest for life. Driving this car is good for the world.

Quality

The 2023 Nissan Z feels well made. There is a minimal amount of cheap plastics. The common touch surfaces are either padded or have a gentle feel to them. I looked hard for signs of corner cutting and couldn’t find too many. I won’t mention the infotainment system again, I’ve said my piece. Most of the savings on this vehicle are associated with the 20 year old chasis and engine borrowed from Infiniti.  Nissan has a decent reputation for quality. The Z doesn’t utilize one of their horrible CVT’s so I have faith that this will hold up well.

CQI – 8. Good quality carpet. Pleasant surprise.

Value

At 60k the Z isn’t cheap. It is however, cheaper than it’s closest competitor, the GR Supra. If you want a similar level of power with a manual transmission that will cost you over 70K. You could look at the Mustang or Camaro and you would save a few bucks but you don’t get the Japanese sports car experience. Cults develop around characteristics. In this case the way the Z looks, sounds, feels and drives is specific to the way the Japanese make their sports cars. The American experience, which I love, is very different and the direct comparison isn’t fair. Of course, the German sports car experience is very much it’s own thing as well so the GR Supra isn’t a real competitor either because it’s a rebadged BMW.

Final Thoughts

It’s so great to see the Nissan Z sports car back yet again. Of course, it’s sold out forever which means I can’t buy one even if I could afford it. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic thing to have had the chance to buy. The classic combination of front engine, rear wheel drive paired to a manual transmission is a much lamented dying breed. Nothing will change the fact that eventually they’ll be gone forever. It’s not just because of the EV revolution but because we spoke with our dollars and bought nothing but sloppy autos for generations. Enthusiasts, myself among them, exist, but there aren’t enough to sustain this niche. So before it’s gone, we must revel in and celebrate one of the last, great examples of the Japanese sports car. Drive ‘em if you got ‘em.

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