Designed to empower a new league of drivers (and some long time fans)
You know the car: it drives by and all the guys turn to look; its sound reverberates in the air; it leaves a trail of emotion in its wake. But, you’re stirred, too. While the guys might see the promise of a powerful engine and tight race-car like drive experience, you see a gorgeous silhouette that evokes freedom, independence and style. The Nissan Z promises not just power, but empowerment.
And you want to live like that.
With the introduction of the newest model in the Nissan Z series (the first without a number; it’s just called Z), a heritage that started in 1969 with a design that it still holds up today as one of the most classically designed cars ever, this two door coupé evokes the past and defines the present of classic sports car driving.
Heritage, Passion and Happiness
We love heritage: the details, look, feel and scents that evoke good times and great memories, that return us to the feeling of pure happiness. And we love passion, especially when designers invoke their own passion for the products they design for us. It makes us passionate, too.
And that is where the newest Nissan Z is rooted. The 2023 model is the 7th generation of this sleek, powerful sports car with the talent to take on world class race tracks but the looks to take away the breath of bystanders.
My first brush with the Z series was when as a teen, my boss tossed me the keys to his 280Z and asked me to pick up his dry cleaning and deliver a package to the post office. Errands were not in my job description but the lure of getting behind the wheel of this beautiful car tamped my ire; I was glad to do it.
And I loved it. I loved the ease of the clutch, the view of the hood, walking up to the 280Z in the parking lot and climbing in. It was only for half an hour, but it was mine and I’ve never forgotten the experience.
Simple lines evoke the history and muscle of the Nissan Z
Fast forward a few years (ok, a lot of years) and one of my first test drives for A Girls Guide to Cars was the 370Z. The car had evolved into a Porsche-like silhouette, more race-car like than the 280Z but just as elegant and exciting. As I drove around Texas I had to give rides to everyone I met; they all wanted to know what the experience was like.
Seeing the 2023 Z up close at the Chicago Auto Show recently brought all those feelings back in a flood of goodness. The newest design evokes some of each classic design: a slimmer silhouette but definitely reminiscent of more recent models, and a nod to the original 240Z can be see in car’s rear end.
And then, the Nissan Z is distinctly modern. With slim ‘smiling eyes’ headlights and a rectangle front grille, a departure from the standard Nissan V Motion grille, its lines are simple and smooth. The hood and side panels are minimalist with only the necessary lines and creases; the roof line is low and sleek. The rear end is accented by a subtle flip of the spoiler and a dual exhaust panel. Nothing too over the top, just toned muscle.
Under the hood, maybe the best Nissan Z yet
Journalists and fans assembled in Brooklyn to for a first glimpse of the 2023 Nissan Z cheered—it’s a feat to prompt cheers from a crowd of journalists—when Nissan chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta announced that the Z, with a 400 horsepower twin turbo V6 engine, will be offered in a manual transmission. It’ll also be available in a 9 speed automatic with paddle shifters, and all models will have the tuning and suspension to make the driver feel one with the road. Which for a sports car, is the point.
Advancing the Heritage with Modern Technology
Inside the Z, Nissan has blended modern tech with classic details. A digital driver information screen and the new Z logo greet you as you slide into the driver’s seat. An 8” infotainment screen holds all your entertainment and comfort settings; below it, climate and key driver setting buttons and dials (there is an upgraded 9” option too). The gear shift, as it should, sits squarely at the center of the console, easy to reach or simply to rest your hand as you prepare for the road ahead.
In a nod to the heritage of the original and also, to drivers who closely monitor all their performance specs, three round engine gauges sit atop the dashboard. Even for drivers who don’t watch every detail of their drive, these remind you that this car is built for fast and fun driving.
We can’t wait to drive the Z when it makes its showroom debut in the spring. And while we dream of that day, we’ll have to relish the happy memories of those early 280 and 370Z drives, at least until they are replaced by more modern, current Z memories, that is.