It’s still at least 12 months away, so don’t get too excited — but Nissan has taken the covers off an all-new Z car.
Nissan says the new Z represents “an approachable sports car for the modern age” with 50-plus year heritage and a global fan base.
The seventh-generation model joins the downsized turbocharged world with a twin turbo 3.0-litre V6 and as such drops the numerical prefix.
So, it won’t be a 300Z, because of course we’ve already had one of them — the 1983 third generation 300ZX.
With turbocharging comes more torque — 30 per cent more in fact — with 298kW of power at 6400rpm (up from 245kW) and 475Nm of torque (up from 363Nm), the latter available from 1600 right through to 5600rpm.
But redline is pegged at 6800rpm — 700 revs lower than before.
The engine is designed to deliver a sharp, yet smooth response to driver input, along with an estimated 15 percent improvement in acceleration from 0 to 100km/h.
The official figure for the current model is 5.1 seconds, so this puts it in the 4.0-second bracket — still slower than Toyota Supra at 4.1 seconds.
To achieve the marked increase in power and torque, and to deliver sharp response, small-diameter turbochargers have been adopted, as well as a turbo speed sensor to ensure maximum spool speed.
The twin turbos balance power output and response time, while the use of an electronic variable valve timing ensures optimum response, adjusting the intake valve timing on-the-fly to achieve excellent response and fuel efficiency in a variety of driving situations.
A close-ratio six-speed manual transmission includes an EXEDY high-performance clutch.
In a first for a rear-wheel drive Nissan, Performance models equipped with a manual transmission include a launch control system.
Manual transmission-equipped models also feature a carbon-fibre composite drive shaft, with SynchroRev Match added to manual Performance models.
An advanced, quick-response nine-speed automatic transmission is also available, which offers a direct, quick response as well as fast acceleration, thanks to its wide gear ratio spread and standard launch control.
Aluminium paddle shifters are standard, with paddle shifters from the GT-R on Performance models.
The engineering team has tuned the chassis, cooling, suspension and steering to ensure the driver always feels connected with the car.
The new Zed is about 11cm longer, but shares the same 2550mm wheelbase with the current 370Z launched in 2009 which suggests they have more in common than you may think.
When it comes to delivering predictable, responsive handling, the engineering team took a multi-prong approach, especially for high-speed driving and cornering.
Enhanced body rigidity, electronic power steering with rack assist and a strong mechanical feel, and wider front tyres deliver a 13 per cent increase in maximum cornering G-force.
Both front and rear dampers use a new monotube shock absorber design with a larger diameter than the outgoing 370Z.
This results in a 20 per cent reduction in damping force to help minimise impact shock over uneven surfaces, enhance road-following performance and improve handling stability.
Front double-wishbone aluminium suspension features new geometry, including increased caster angle, improving straight line stability.
A two-point front strut tower brace is standard.
The rear independent, multi-link aluminium suspension has also been reconfigured with new settings.
Two drive modes are offered on automatic transmission models, standard and sport.
Sport mode unlocks the Z’s performance potential, offering faster acceleration control, a sports-mode steering algorithm, active sound enhancement and sports-mode vehicle dynamic control setting best matched to take on a spirited run through a winding road.
All Z Performance grade models (automatic and manual) are fitted with a mechanical limited-slip diff.
Responsive braking is provided by four-wheel ventilated disc brakes.
Larger sport brakes with red-painted calipers are standard on Performance models.
Sport grade rides on dark-painted 18-inch aluminium-alloys with Yokohama ADVAN Sport high performance tyres.
Z Performance grades feature 19-inch RAYS super lightweight forged aluminium wheels with Bridgestone Potenza S007 high performance rubber.
Designed to fit the driver and passenger like a glove, the 2023 Z cabin seamlessly blends modern technology with vintage Z touches.
The three analog gauges are still there, along with a central 8.0-inch touchscreen and climate control switches near the shifter.
The interior design team sought advice from motorsport legend Tsugio Matsuda, to give the Z an ideal sports car cabin for all driving scenarios.
This can be seen in the instrumentation, with all vital information found in the 12.3-inch customisable digital meter display and arranged so the driver can grasp it at a glance, with the redline shift point at the 12 o’clock position.
The 12.3-inch TFT meter display is all-new, with three display modes to suit driver preference.
Normal mode offers a sporty feel with the centre area for navigation, audio and vehicle information.
Enhanced mode pushes the tachometer and speedometer to the edges of the display, giving more space in the centre for a larger navigation map and information to be displayed.
Sport mode prioritises the tachometer in the centre with shift-up light at the top for shift information in the driver’s field of view.
It also allows for a boost gauge or G meter to be displayed.
The new centre stack uses a three-zone approach, placing three analog pod gauges — boost, turbo speed and volts — on the instrument panel within the driver’s line of vision.
Both manual and automatic shift levers are new, each of them custom-engineered for optimised grip and comfort.
A new, deep-dish steering wheel offers the driver quick access controls without losing its vintage aesthetic.
The design of the seats uses know-how from the GT-R’s development to enhance both hold and fit.
Expanded use of suede on the seatback suppresses initial lateral shake on the body, creating more comfortable drives, as well as reducing body movement during aggressive cornering.
The 2023 Nissan Zed is set for launch in the US before the end of June next year and if we’re lucky we’ll get it before the end of next year.
Hopefully they’ve done something to address the boom box effect in the back.
Can’t wait to put Dr Bobla in one of these . . .
CHECKOUT: New Z. Now you’re talking, Nissan!