The 2023 Nissan Z Finally Shows What It Can Do Against Its Competitors

We finally see how the manual and automatic Nissan Z perform against each other and their direct competitors

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With the Nissan Z about to go on sale, the Japanese company finally handed out press cars in order for us to find out how it stacks up to its competitors. Hagerty was lucky enough to get two cars – a manual and an automatic - and pit them not just against one another, but against a GR Supra, a Mustang Mach 1, and as a bonus, a 2010 Aston Martin V-8 Vantage. The results are as much surprising as they are not.

Mustang Mach-1 is the most powerful, but also the heaviest

The Ford Mustang Mach-1 comes with the best horsepower-per-dollar ratio. Its 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V-8 packs 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet (5710 Nm). All that goes to the rear axle through a 10-speed automatic. At 3,850 pounds (1,746 kg), the American car is the heaviest. As equipped, it costs $55,000.

There is a reason the GR Supra punches above its weight

On paper, the GR Supra is the least powerful, being rated at 382 horsepower and 368 pound-feet (499 Nm). However, at 3,350 pounds (1,519 kg), it’s the lightest. Moreover, the GR Supra is underrated and makes slightly more power and significantly more torque on the dyno. An eight-speed ZF automatic sends power to the rear. As equipped, the GR Supra costs $56,000.

On paper, the Nissan Z is in the sweet spot

The 2023 Nissan Z Finally Shows What It Can Do Against Its Competitors
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The biggest thing Nissan Z has going for it is the price. As equipped, its costs $51,000. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet (475 Nm). In this case, power goes to the rear through a Mercedes-sourced, nine-speed automatic. At 3,610 pounds (1,637 kg), this is the heaviest Nissan Z you can spec. It also has Bridgestone tires as opposed to the Michelin Pilot Sport rubber on the GR Supra and Mustang Mach-1.

The manual Z is not much slower than the automatic

In modern days, automatics have become a lot more efficient, compared to the old “slush-boxes”. A quick-shifting automatic is usually about 0.5 seconds quicker than the same car with a manual, and the Nissan Z is no exception. While the nine-speed automatic has launch control, the six-speed manual trades it for no-lift shifting, essentially, allowing you to power-shift minus the danger of over-revving. You will be happy to know that even the manual Z is still a 12-second car.

Unexpected competition

The 2023 Nissan Z Finally Shows What It Can Do Against Its Competitors
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The Nissan 370Z may have been a stout performer in its days, but the 2023 Nissan Z goes into a completely new performance category – one saturated with cars made by luxury and high-end manufacturers like Aston Martin. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes the Nissan Z comparable to a 2010 Aston Martin V-8 Vantage.

Equipped with the newer, 4.7-liter V-8 (as opposed to earlier cars with the 4.3-liter), the V-8 Vantage makes 420 horsepower and 346 pound-feet (469 Nm). By coincidence, the Vantage weighs 3,610 pounds (1,637 kg) – exactly the same as the Nissan Z. Since this particular V-8 Vantage has a six-speed manual, it’s the manual Z that is lined up at the drag strip. To see how the new Z stacks up against all these cars, swipe up to watch the video below. Feel free to tell us whether the Nissan Z meets your performance expectations or not.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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