By Steve & Tamami Laser
When Nissan unveiled the Z Proto last September at the automaker’s Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, we wondered how much of the prototype’s design would carry over to a future production model. As it turns out, the Z Proto was a remarkably close preview of the Z production sports car, set to go on sale in the U.S. in spring 2022 as a 2023 model.
While the New York Auto Show was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns, Nissan decided to stage the world premiere of the new Z at the Brooklyn Duggal Greenhouse this week, and stream it online to a global audience. The venue is said to be about five miles from the spot where the original Datsun 240Z made its debut more than 50 years ago (in October 1969).
On hand for the 2023 Z reveal (left to right) was Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist for the Z; Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s global head of design; Ashwani Gupta, representative executive officer and chief operating officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.; and emcee, actor Cody Walker.
Watch the world premiere of the all-new 2023 Nissan Z, in this archived video of the livestream presentation in New York, from the Nissan USA YouTube channel. (video: Nissan)
The new Z retains the design theme of the Z Proto, with styling cues inspired by six generations of its legendary predecessors. Design treatments, like the teardrop-shaped LED headlights, as well as the shape of the hood, are inspired by the first generation Z. The rectangular grille brings to mind the current generation Z, with a freshened look.
“Z is the pure expression of thrill,” said Gupta. “It is Nissan’s passion wrapped up on four wheels. The new Z retains its authenticity as a pure sports car to keep you connected to the road while bringing in the latest modern technologies to make sure the car can help keep you connected to your life.”
Like the original, the new Z has a sleek profile with a hatchback body style. The taillights bring to mind the 300ZX from the 1990s, with modernized 3D signature lighting elements. We like the look of the new Z Performance model (above) finished in the attractive hues of Seiran Blue with a Super Black roof and low-profile rear spoiler.
“Inspired by the voices of thousands of Z owners and Z lovers, and ignited by internal conversations around the six generations of Z that have come before, we found ourselves gravitating towards the sketches that touched the high points of certain decades while remaining true to our vision of the future,” said Albaisa, shown above with Satoru Tai, executive design director. “Ultimately, we created a Z that travels between the decades while being completely modern.”
This walkaround video from Nissan USA offers a closer look at the key features of the all-new 2023 Nissan Z. (video: Nissan)
The new Z is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo e-VVT engine rated at a stout 400 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, and 350 lbs.-ft. of torque from 1,600 to 5,600 rpm. It transfers power to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox (with SynchroRev Match® and launch-assist control on Z Performance), or a new 9-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
“Simply put, our goal is to make this the best Z yet, period,” said Tamura. “With each generation, we raise the bar, pushing the limits of Z and continuing to tap into the human instinct for that next thrilling journey. More than just powerful and agile, the 2023 Z is designed to be one with the driver for all kinds of on-road adventures.”
The two-seat cockpit is fitted with future and retro touches, like a trio of hooded gauges on top of the dash, a deep-dish steering wheel, and twin displays. The good-looking bucket seats are trimmed with woven cloth on Z Sport, while Z Performance gains leather-appointed heated power seats.
The Z’s new 12.3-inch TFT cluster display features three driver-selectable modes: Normal, Enhanced, and Sport. The latter (above) places the tachometer in the center and also includes a boost gauge or a G meter. While Enhanced moves the tach and speedo to the edges, leaving space in the middle for a navigation map and other info.
The standard 8.0-inch display audio system includes Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay®, 6 speakers, SiriusXM®, and Siri® Eyes Free. Z Performance gains a 9.0-inch touchscreen navigation system, NissanConnect® Services with Wi-Fi hotspot, and a Bose® Audio system with 8 speakers, Active Noise Cancellation and Sound Enhancement.
In addition to the Z Sport and Z Performance models, the launch lineup includes the Z Proto Spec. Nissan plans to sell just 240 units of this limited edition for the U.S. market, fitted with color and trim inspired by the Z Proto. The roster includes yellow brake calipers with the Z logo, bronze 19-inch RAYS alloys, leather-trimmed seats with yellow accents, and yellow interior stitching.
As a thoroughly modern Z, all 2023 models are equipped with driver-assist features, including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, High Beam Assist, and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning.
During the premiere of the new Z, Nissan displayed some of its beautifully restored Z heritage models at the Brooklyn Duggal Greenhouse (above).
Nissan has not yet announced pricing for the U.S. market 2023 Z. We noticed in a separate press release that details for the new “Fairlady Z” model for Japan (it appears it will retain the name) are planned to be announced by Nisan this winter.
For more product information visit Nissan USA
Note: Pre-production U.S. market models are shown in this story. Features, specifications, model availability, and launch timing for future production models are subject to change without notice
News sources, photos and videos courtesy of Nissan North America, Inc., and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Story (commentary) © 2021 CarNichiWa.com