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J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
9/25/23 7:00 a.m.

The new Nissan Z didn’t debut to the most glowing reviews–our own track testing uncovered several faults–but the automaker aimed to correct that with the new Z NISMO.

Did Nissan succeed? Nissan offered us some back-to-back laps at Sonoma Raceway with the Performance and NISMO models to find out.

Read the rest of the story

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
9/25/23 8:43 a.m.

Well, it certainly looks the part.

I'm excited to see how it performs at the FIRM.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/25/23 11:41 a.m.

I'm sure it's more focused. I'm also in the manual-all-the-things camp. But ignoring that for a second, it has to be addressed: $65k starting price?!? 
 

My biggest issue with these sedan-derived "sports cars" is that they're getting dangerously close in price to actual sports cars- namely the Cayman and C8 Corvette. At least the M2 has a back seat, so I suppose it can get a pass... but at this price, I'm going to be looking very hard at a base C8. 

gixxeropa
gixxeropa GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/25/23 11:45 a.m.

I'm not married to a manual transmission, a nice paddle shifted auto can be great, but the value proposition is questionable on the nismo. Especially when you add in the limited production likely leading to large dealer markups

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
9/25/23 11:53 a.m.

I kind of don't care if this car can compete on equal footing with the Supra and M2, I just need it to be better than the base model Z. Thankfully that's a low hurdle to clear, but this nameplate really deserves better treatment than it got with the non-NISMO version. Here's hoping this is truly the upgrade it looks like it is.

SoonToBeDatsun240ZGuy
SoonToBeDatsun240ZGuy MegaDork
9/25/23 1:09 p.m.

Now that I'm back on the Nissan bandwagon, what does the comment in slant below mean?

Are they short key components? Chips? Engine blocks? Transmissions? Rear axle carriers?  Labor issues - finding enough qualified employees?  Too many customers wanting the Aroyo it shares an assembly line with?  

What prohibits the ability to produce cars?

Just curious.

Nissan sold only 1229 units. Nissan said those numbers do not reflect the demand but instead the ability to produce cars. 

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
9/25/23 1:25 p.m.

In reply to roninsoldier83 :

According to Chevrolet's site, a baseline 2024 C8 is $68K for my area. It's not too much higher, indeed.

I have heard automaker execs say that many cars today within a category perform alike and for around the same price. So, what they're trying to sell is the driving experience. That's where they feel they can differentiate themselves.

For example, let's say the M2, Supra and Z NISMO perform alike, for argument's sake. They package that performance in very different ways.

Nevertheless, the C8 Corvette offers a great value for its package. Our track tests have proven that for the Z51 and Z06 packages.

SupraFiend
SupraFiend New Reader
9/25/23 1:27 p.m.

It's just paint issues holding them back. It's a new set of paint robots in that plant and they're having some teething issues. Rushed to production, just like the car. I hope the majority of these revisions make it into the pedestrian 2024 models and bring up the base line. A bit of chassis bracing and better bushings shouldn't require a price bump. Keep the shiny bits for the pricey Nismo, offer a Track pack with the brakes and LSD for like 3 to 5 k and boom, the Z is the car to beat for value, performance and fun. It's already winning in the looks, manual transmission from the get go, and having the right mix of new and old parts to keep dev costs down versus out sourcing your Halo car to the Germans.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
9/25/23 1:28 p.m.

In reply to SoonToBeDatsun240ZGuy :

The Z shares the same production line as the Ariya. I'm under the impression that Ariya gets more time on the line, which limits the capacity to produce more units for the Z.

300zxfreak
300zxfreak Reader
9/25/23 2:53 p.m.

As my nom de plume indicates, I'm a Z32 guy, and from all that I read and see, I'll stick with my current upgraded 300TT for now. I just see don't see a really good reason to go to the latest. Also, the info above kind of indicates why I have never seen a new Z on the road, anywhere, ever.

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
9/25/23 2:57 p.m.

It doesn't help that the VR motor is having Kia/Hyundai levels of failures in Infinti vehicles.  When a lot of those motors are going in customer cars for their other brand, I can see how that would limit what the 400 gets.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/25/23 4:00 p.m.
J.A. Ackley said:

In reply to roninsoldier83 :

According to Chevrolet's site, a baseline 2024 C8 is $68K for my area. It's not too much higher, indeed.

I have heard automaker execs say that many cars today within a category perform alike and for around the same price. So, what they're trying to sell is the driving experience. That's where they feel they can differentiate themselves.

For example, let's say the M2, Supra and Z NISMO perform alike, for argument's sake. They package that performance in very different ways.

Nevertheless, the C8 Corvette offers a great value for its package. Our track tests have proven that for the Z51 and Z06 packages.

I'm with you. I understand the argument behind not necessarily beating your competition with objective performance measurements, but trying to sell customers on the basis of subjective driving experiences. My issue with this Nismo, and the other sedan-derived "sports cars" is mostly based on a lack of perceived value in my eyes. My rationale: 

-I can pay $65k for a tarted up Nissan 350Z (same chassis, 20 years later), or I can spend just a bit more for a mid-engine V8 powered C8 Corvette that looks like a supercar, performs like a supercar, has a variation of an LS (tried and true, relatively reliable design that will take track abuse) and has the road presence (if you care for that sort of thing) that no Z car will ever match. That's a tough experience to beat for the money. 

-I think of the Z as a Japanese pony car. Right, wrong or indifferent that's how I've always seen them. They've bloated the Z up to the 3500-3600 lbs range, which I see as being extremely close to Mustang/Camaro weights (a bit lighter, as the American's seem to run 3600-3800 lbs). But for the extra curb weight, the trade-off with the Ford/Chevy is that you get a ~450-500hp V8 that makes glorious noises for far less money than the Nismo... and if we're comparing apples to apples, in terms of "specialty" products, the new Mustang Dark Horse undercuts the Nismo by around $5000. I'm not sure if it's fair to mention the Camaro's SS 1Le package, which, it's not a specialty vehicle per se, but it's more track oriented (like the Nismo), while undercutting the Nismo's base price by a jaw-dropping $18,000. There's an argument that the Z Performance trim is more applicable, except for one small issue: the pony cars equipped with their respective track packs don't fall apart on track, the Z Performance pack does. I feel like the V8 pony cars also offer a more fun experience, for less money... 

I just can't justify this car's price. I feel the same way about the Supra to a degree- but at least the Supra's base price of $55k (for the 3.0L) undercuts the the C8 by $13k, making an argument for it's performance deficits with substantial savings off of the price of the car. Although when you start throwing options at the Supra, yet again, the C8 starts to make more sense. I don't appear to be the only one that sees this logic, as the market as a whole agrees with this rationale, evidenced by Chevy moving 34,510 C8 Corvettes last year, while the Supra only managed to sell 4952 copies. Granted, there is an argument for the C8 being a more recently launched product, but the Supra has never topped 7000 units. Clearly, the market sees the value in the Corvette to a much greater degree. 

I think the Nismo (and maybe the Z in general) will be a flop. The updated suspension on the Nismo should have been found on the Z Performance for far less money. If I was shopping in that market, I don't think I would give the Z a second look. For the record, I've never owned a pony car or a Corvette (driven quite a few of them, and full disclosure, my wife did own a 2016 Camaro SS 6MT), but I have owned a Z33. I wanted Nissan to knock this one out of the park, but it looks like they missed the mark. 

SupraFiend
SupraFiend New Reader
9/25/23 6:10 p.m.

Well, we're still in the first model year here, the Zs story isn't written yet. The Supra in comparison, basically changed motors in year 2, has had numerous handling tweaks and introduced a manual just yesterday, and that car is a journalists darling now.

Also when comparing to Vettes, Chevy squeaked a 68k base model in on paper sure, but options on that car can double the MSRP if you get into the sub models. I think the average one leaving the lot is more like 80k.

 

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/25/23 9:12 p.m.

In reply to SupraFiend :

Well, my friend, the difference is that the Supra was beloved upon it's initial launch. Yes, they decried the lack of a manual, but the driving experience as a whole, was praised. I present as evidence, Car and Driver's initial reivew of the 2020 Supra after it was launched: 

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a27440454/2020-toyota-supra-by-the-numbers/

^^^^Take a peek at the title of the test: "The 2020 Toyota Supra Is the Proper Sports Car It Needs to Be"

By comparison, same publication's review of the Z: 

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a39969206/2023-nissan-z-drive/

^^^^The title for comparison: "Tested (Twice): 2023 Nissan Z Performance Doesn't Reach Far Enough" 

High praise was given to the Supra, even if it was sprinkled with complaints about the lack of a manual. No such things have been said about the Z since launched. Toyota has sharpened the Supra a few times since then- although I'm not sure if there's been a motor change- I was under the impression that it was the same B58, just with different turbos and tuning? Maybe I'm wrong? Either way, I'm not denying the Supra wasn't improved upon, but I am saying it was generally liked upon launch, whereas the Z has been the opposite. Hopefully they turn that ship around. 

I agree that the Corvette can easily be optioned to well beyond the asking price of the Nismo Z. I don't know what option packages look like for the Nismo (does it come fully loaded?), so I can't say if the Nismo can also be optioned up that high. What I can say, is that me, as a buyer, I would likely take a base C8, close to it's entry level price, over the Nismo at anywhere close to the same price. 

If we're being fair, I felt the same way about the last 370Z. At $30k, I thought the base car was a bargain! I thought the Sport package 370Z was likely the sweet spot, at $33k. For the minor performance increases, I thought the Nismo 370Z at $45k was absurd and overpriced. And that's speaking as someone who LOVED the way the Nismo 370Z drove- I almost bought a used one when they were still reasonable (it's amazing how ~$15k+ in depreciation in a short amount of time can help you see a car in a new light). An extra $15k for the same motor, same poor performing VLSD (as you get on the Sport), etc, seems ludacris, especially when compared to the American pony cars, where you can get the 1LE suspension from Chevy for $2000 and the FULL 1LE package for $7000. 

The Nismo brand is overpriced. 

Dootz
Dootz Reader
9/25/23 10:16 p.m.

The car is based on 20-year-old bones, the least they could've done was make the Nismo tuning standard of they weren't going to be a performance value in comparison to more fresh platforms like the Alpha/S550/Supra.

 

At north of $60k, this is DOA

Driven5
Driven5 UberDork
9/26/23 1:20 p.m.

It is entirely common and predictable that the top spec of a 'lower' class car approaches or exceeds the base price of the next class 'higher' of cars, especially limited production and special edition variants. See 45th Anniversary Supra with same $65k price tag as Z NISMO.

The real problem I see here is that for the price range one would expect from starting with a class competitor and making it a class leader, it sounds like Nissan took a class follower and merely made it a class competitor. I would have been more impressed with them fixing the shortcomings in the rest of the Z lineup.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/26/23 11:42 p.m.

As a long-time Z fan (up until the 350), I was looking forward to the new one. Style-wise, I actually like it. Understated and adult, not like the boy-racer Supra. But at this point I have almost no interest because of

- lack of confidence in the engine

- lack of confidence in Nissan quality these days in general

- lack of a manual (nope, not buying a sportscar with an auto until there are no manuals left, no matter if they perform better. That's not the point).

- doesn't seem to have much cargo room for a fastback, but maybe I'm wrong on that? My old Porsche 924 easily fits a set of track wheels/tires in the hatch, does the new Z? That seems like a good GRM test.

- price. there are several options in that range (as mentioned) that seem like better cars, to say nothing of the Mustang. And then take into account what much-less expensive cars could do with $5k-$10k of modifications that would probably make them faster on the track than the Z. Hell, that's around the price of a base Cayman - which has less power but seems like a much better package for the money. 

- 19" wheels. I know big wheels are some kind of ego thing these days, but 19" seems excessive for a car this size. And they look silly IMO .... and I have 18s on my GTI so I'm not against large-ish wheels. 

Again, I actually like the looks of it. But most of the rest of it seems like a whiff to me, which is too bad. 

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
9/27/23 9:04 a.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Rear cargo space isn't huge. Here's a photo.  We'll see how many ducks J.G. can fit in it when it arrives to our test track.

One more thing to note. The NISMO is heavier. It weighs 3704. The Performance with a manual goes over the scales at 3536. The base model with a manual is 3486. With the latest cars, weight doesn't seem to adversely affect on-track performance as much as in the past, but it is a consideration.

RaabTheSaab
RaabTheSaab Reader
9/27/23 10:39 a.m.

I think my issue is that I just don't see the point of it with that price tag. Nissan is like that friend who peaked in highschool. Yeah, they were cool at one point, but now their attempts to hang out with the adults is just kinda lame and sad. 

SoonToBeDatsun240ZGuy
SoonToBeDatsun240ZGuy MegaDork
9/27/23 11:48 a.m.
J.A. Ackley said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

The base model with a manual is 3486.

Come on, we all know there really isn't a base model.  It's a leader only.

Seriously, out of the 1,229 sold how many were base models?

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
9/27/23 12:58 p.m.

In reply to SoonToBeDatsun240ZGuy :

That's a great question. The public quarterly reports just list model, not trim.

Driven5
Driven5 UberDork
9/27/23 1:33 p.m.

In reply to J.A. Ackley :

Performance trim with automatic is supposedly 3599, so the NISMO basically adds just over 100 pounds of brakes and structural bracing... Sure that's not great, but also doesn't sound entirely unreasonable. The most disappointing part is that it even needed it all that badly in the first place.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/27/23 10:07 p.m.
J.A. Ackley said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Rear cargo space isn't huge. Here's a photo.  We'll see how many ducks J.G. can fit in it when it arrives to our test track.

One more thing to note. The NISMO is heavier. It weighs 3704. The Performance with a manual goes over the scales at 3536. The base model with a manual is 3486. With the latest cars, weight doesn't seem to adversely affect on-track performance as much as in the past, but it is a consideration.

Man, those towers are really intrusive. But thanks for the pic. Yeah, not very impressive for a fastback. 

STM317
STM317 PowerDork
9/28/23 5:13 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:
J.A. Ackley said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Rear cargo space isn't huge. Here's a photo.  We'll see how many ducks J.G. can fit in it when it arrives to our test track.

 

Man, those towers are really intrusive. But thanks for the pic. Yeah, not very impressive for a fastback. 

It's a refreshed 370Z:

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
9/28/23 6:53 a.m.
STM317 said:
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:
J.A. Ackley said:

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

Rear cargo space isn't huge. Here's a photo.  We'll see how many ducks J.G. can fit in it when it arrives to our test track.

 

Man, those towers are really intrusive. But thanks for the pic. Yeah, not very impressive for a fastback. 

It's a refreshed 350Z:

FIFY

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