Talking about the new Nissan Z brings to mind the phrase ‘an inconvenient truth’. The
sports car’s low stance, two wide doors and swoopy back bring rise to problems of
getting in and out, and carting anything in an otherwise expansive boot deeper than a
briefcase, or small piece of flat-pack furniture. Convenience takes a back seat, or it
would if there was one.

The truth of the matter is the strict two-seater (not even a 2+2) doesn’t pretend to be
anything more than a high-performance teeth rattler on rutted Aussie roads; a smooth
sprinter on race circuits that are more its leger. Zero to a hundred in low single figures
is the go.

The sports coupe is true to its long sporting heritage dating back to 1969 – with the
Datsun / Nissan 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, 350Z, 370Z – to today’s Nissan Z. A blend of old
and new, says the maker, gone are the numerals relating to engine size, just a stand-
alone Z.

The MY23 Z comes to Australia in two versions, the Coupe and Proto limited edition,
both in manual and automatic forms for the same price. The Coupe sets back buyers
$73,300, plus on-road costs. The Proto $80,700, without ORCs.

What do you get for the money? The Coupe includes 19-inch dark metallic forged alloy
wheels by RAYS, 8-inch display audio touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android
Auto, 12.3-inch digital TFT meter display with multiple modes, heated seats with a
leather-accented trim, active noise cancellation and active sound enhancement, plus
rear camera and front / rear parking sensors.

The Proto adds 19-inch bronze forged alloy wheels by RAYS, unique yellow brake
calipers and black interior with unique yellow accents and stitching. However, if you’re
after the latter, forget it. Like pandemic toilet paper, it quickly sold out its initial

Like all Nissans, the new Z comes with the industry standard five-year, unlimited kilometre
warranty with roadside assistance over the same period. Capped price servicing comes up
at 12 months / 10,000 km.

Designers thumbed through traditional rear-wheel drive sports car designs for a long
hood, lower rear stance and a silhouette that pays homage to the first-generation Z.

This was streamlined with modern technology such as LED headlamps, incorporating
LED lighting to cut out unnecessary elements. The headlights have two half-circles that
take their inspiration from the Japan market-only 240ZG of the 1970s, which, they say,
fit naturally with the new Z’s identity.

The link to the original Z comes to the fore on the MY23 Z in profile. The roofline flows
from the nose to the squared-off rear to create a distinctive first-generation Z profile,
whose rear edge was slightly lower than the front fender height giving the Z its unique

The signature transition from the rear quarter glass to the low-slung position of the rear
tail adds to the effect. Door handles are a flush mounted and the rear hatch is ultra-thin,
yet with increased rigidity over the previous 370Z. In the rear, the blister fenders
smoothly direct flow air past the horizontal rear panel. The rear combination lamps
incorporate modern technology reminiscent of the Z32 (1990-1996) 300ZX, including
new 3-D signature LED tail lights.

The centre stack takes inspiration from previous generations, with three analogue
gauges perched on the instrument panel. The 8-inch touchscreen audio display is
positioned in the centre and climate control switches near the gearshift.

The interior design team also sought advice from professional motorsports legends,
such as Nissan Super GT500 driver Tsugio Matsuda, to give the Z an ideal sports car
cabin for all driving situations. This can be seen in the 12.3-inch customisable digital
meter, with all vital information, such as the redline shift point in the 12 o’clock position,
found in the 12.3-inch customisable digital meter display.

The 12.3-inch TFT meter display is all-new three display modes. Normal 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.

‘Sport’ prioritises the tachometer in the centre with shift-up light at the top in the driver’s
field of view. The Sport mode also allows for a boost gauge or G meter to be displayed.

In a first for a rear-wheel drive Nissan vehicle, Z manual models include an advanced
launch assist control system that helps deliver smooth acceleration from a standing
start. All automatics feature launch control. Manual transmission models also feature a
carbon-fibre composite drive shaft with a rev matching system.

While the 2023 Nissan Z misses out on Euro NCAP and ANCAP safety ratings, it does
carry an array of the latest active and passive safety systems such as autonomous
emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, traffic sign
recognition, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert and tyre pressure
monitoring. There are front, side and curtain airbags.

Getting in and out of the Z, wide doors, low seating position and high bolsters are made
worse by height power knobs on the seat side and forward / backward switches
‘hidden’ between seat bucket and centre console. Steering wheel reach and height
adjustment save the day.

Size and positioning of the two exterior rear-view mirrors expose wide blind spots, while
reflection on the in-dash 8.0-inch touchscreen audio display in bright sunlight wipes out
the info. However, the 12.3-inch TFT meter display is as clear as day.

An advanced nine-speed automatic transmission has a direct feeling, with sharp
responses and quick acceleration, thanks to wide ratios and standard launch control.

All models utilise a mechanical clutch-type limited-slip differential.

Z power is satisfyingly synchronised with the driver. However, leave the aluminium
paddle shifters alone – too many gears make connection between driver and car a less-
than-exhilarating experience, even in Sport mode.

Nissan puts the Z Coupe automatic fuel consumption at 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres on
the combined urban / highway cycle. On test the Z used 12.1 litres per 100 kilometres
in the city and 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres on a motorway run. These results are with
the recommended 98 RON premium unleaded.

Engine notes served up from behind the dash are more of a chamber orchestral
intensity than on the full symphony orchestra scale. The engineering instrumentalists’
augmented the chassis, cooling, suspension and steering to ensure the driver always
feels connected with the car’s theme, especially on high-speed cornering.

Responsive braking is provided by ventilated disc brakes all round. Larger sport brakes
with red-painted calipers are standard on 19-inch RAYS super lightweight forged alloy
wrapped with Bridgestone Potenza S007 high performance tyres.

Looking down the sports car menu, many of the Zed’s inconveniences (cost effective,
no doubt) could be forgiven by sheer spice of the dish. So, the number’s not quite up
for the Nissan Z yet.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 8/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 6/10
Practicality: 4/10
Comfort: 5/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 6/10


Nissan Z Coupe 6sp manual $73,300
Nissan Z Coupe 9sp automatic $73,300
Nissan Z Proto 6sp manual $80,700
Nissan Proto 9sp automatic $80,700
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Nissan dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Nissan Z 3.0L V6 twin turbo petrol, 9sp automatic, rear-wheel
drive, 2dr Coupe

Capacity: 2.997 litres
Configuration: Six cylinders in ‘V’
Maximum Power: 298 kW @ 6400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 475 Nm @ 1600-5600 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 98 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.8 L/100km

DRIVELINE: Nine-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive

Length: 4380 mm
Wheelbase: 2550 mm
Width: 1845 mm
Height: 1315 mm
Turning Circle: 11.0 metres
Kerb Mass: 1633 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 62 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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