New Nissan Z Will Be a "Dance Partner," Says Chief Engineer

"I want to see the customers smile," chief engineer Hiroshi Tamura tells Road & Track.

2023 nissan z
Nissan

Yes, the new 2023 Nissan Z has more power and torque than the car it replaces. The 370Z offered up 332 hp and 276 lb-ft from its naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6, while the 2023 Z's 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. So the new car should be quite a bit quicker than the old.

But Nissan wasn't just chasing numbers here.

At the New York City reveal of the 2023 Z, we had a few minutes to chat with Hiroshi Tamura, the car's chief engineer and one of the most animated, delightful people in the auto industry. Tamura is also head of Nissan's GT-R program, and he's quick to draw a distinction between these two cars. The GT-R is the track star, a tool to generate immense speed and grip, whereas Tamura likens the Z to a "dance partner." It's more about the interaction you have with the thing.

"It's not chasing number or power or zero to 60," he tells Road & Track. "You can go to the track, but the more important thing [is to] enjoy a conversation with the car."

Tamura also confirmed to us what we suspected when Nissan first showed the Z Proto concept last year: The new coupe shares underpinnings with the outgoing 370Z, which itself was based heavily on the 350Z, which debuted for the 2002 model year. Nissan's "Front Midship" platform is old, making its first appearance in 2001 with the Infiniti G35. Tamura tells us the chassis was strengthened extensively to deal with the increased power and torque. The geometry of the front double wishbone suspension was reworked, and the Z now has electric power steering and wider front tires. Additionally, Zs ordered in Performance trim will come standard with some very handsome 19-inch forged RAYS wheels and Bridgestone S007 tires.

Notably, the new Z will be offered as standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Tamura said this was essential, as customers were clamoring for a stick. "I want to see the customers smile," he told R&T. "This is always my goal, so why not protect the manual transmission?"

While this will be the most powerful Z in the history of the badge, Tamura is quick to stress that mere speed is not this car's only goal. He wants to capture the feeling of getting behind the wheel of a car for the very first time. It's a tough task, but in just a few minutes chatting with Tamura, it became clear he takes the job seriously.

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