2023 Nissan Z Performance vs 2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium

Mustang vs Camaro. Evo vs STI. Accord vs Camry. These are all great automotive rivalries that have made each contender better for the experience. Now we can finally pit the 2022 Toyota Supra against the 2023 Nissan Z, a battle that has dragged on for three decades. Type of.

In a way, this is Nissan’s proxy war with BMW instead of Toyota, as the Supra is based on the BMW Z4 Roadster (maybe we should call it the Zupra). Meanwhile, the Nissan Z isn’t really an all-new sports coupe, sharing much of its chassis with the sixth-generation 370Z from 2009. If you think of this price war as “wrestlers vs. retirees,” it doesn’t seem entirely fair. And it’s not. But this is the matchup people want to see and who are we to deny them that?

Markus Urbanocar and driver

To continue with the boxing lingo, let’s run down the history of the tape. From nose to tail, the 2023 Nissan Z is just 0.1 inches shorter than the Supra. The Z is 0.4 inches narrower but 0.9 inches taller. A bigger difference is found in the wheelbase, where the Nissan measures 100.4 inches versus the Toyota’s 97.2 inches. The Z’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 is rated at 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The Supra’s (BMW-supplied) turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six has 382 horses and 368 pound-feet.

Now comes the all-important weigh-in. No emaciated championship contenders, these two-seaters came with premium unleaded. The Z packed nearly 200 pounds in its three-year retirement and tips the scales at 3507 pounds. The Supra is lighter, weighing just 3382 pounds – but it’s not just the mass, it’s where it’s placed. The Z has 56.4 percent of its weight on the front tires, compared to the Supra’s more affordable 51.7 percent. It’s clear that the Supra has a range advantage as we head into the ring.

Markus Urbanocar and driver

The Nissan Z in its base Sport trim starts at $41,015, while the entry-level Supra 2.0 is $44,565. That price difference is particularly worrying considering the latter is the rider for the 255hp four-cylinder Supra. An upgrade to the six-cylinder Supra 3.0 costs $52,915. That compares to the Z’s top-performing trim, which arrived at a tested price of $53,610 with Passion Red paint, illuminated treadplates, and some floor mats. The Supra in 3.0 Premium trim with driver assistance package cost $57,260.


2nd place:
Nissan Z performance

Heights: Engaging the manual transmission, the twin-turbo V-6 is ready and able, less cash outlay.
lows:
Tires are slightly overwhelmed, outdated interior with disappointing materials, shallow trunk.

1st place:
Toyota GR Supra 3.0 premium

Heights: Outstanding chassis tuning, pleasant driving characteristics, powerful in-line six-cylinder.
lows:
A flinching exterior design, small cargo space, infotainment could be more intuitive.


Markus Urbanocar and driver

Markus Urbanocar and driver

In testing, the Z with a six-speed manual hits 60 mph in a respectable 4.5 seconds. The Supra and its eight-speed automatic get there in 3.7 seconds. The gap remains constant at the end of the quarter-mile, where the Z hits 111 mph after 13.0 seconds, compared to the Supra’s 12.2-second run at 184 mph. Both vehicles benefit from launch control, although the Supra handles spinning the wheels handle better.

Braking also favors the Supra, which comes to a stop in 147 feet from 70 mph. The Z needs 166 feet. Going around the skidpad, the Supra pulls 1.00g on its Michelin Pilot Sports, while the Z manages 0.93g on Bridgestone Potenza S007s. Replacing those Bridgestones would certainly improve the Z’s performance, and considering the Nissan costs $3650 less than the Supra, maybe that would take the sting out of paying for a new set of tires. Round one goes to the Supra.

Markus Urbanocar and driver

The Supra is a playful and willing companion on tight, technical roads, with a sharpness and precision that encourages you to ride it progressively harder. The suspension set-up is particularly impressive on a section of undulating left-right kinks, when the springs bounce back over gentle crests into the next corner with choreographed precision. Into the next bend, into the next, and so on, until the road finally straightens out and we giggle with childish delight.

On the same roads, the Z doesn’t instill the same kind of confidence as the Supra. Much of this is due to the less-performing tires that howl wildly in corners. This is especially true on steep descents where the front contact patches lose their weak grip. At least the tire noise telegraphs that the Z will ignore your next request by cornering wide.

Markus Urbanocar and driver

Don’t think the Z is ready to throw in the towel, however. It has three pedals and a stick to score with the judges. That’s something the Supra won’t have until the 2023 model year, and it’s one of the best ways to fully engage drivers. The Z has automatic rev matching to avoid inelegant downshifts and it works incredibly well, but we prefer the traditional heel-toe two-step and thankfully you can turn off the automatic helper with a long press of a single button. As enjoyable as the banging on the pedals and rowing through the gears is, that kind of fanservice isn’t enough to throw the Z overboard.

Both the Supra and Z suspensions are tuned for performance, but neither are punishing in their stiffness. The Supra benefits from adaptive dampers that allow it to be a bit more compliant on one end and firmer on the other. As far as seating comfort goes, both offer adequate cushioning, but not so much as to overly isolate your butt from the road. However, the Supra offers more lumbar support and power adjustments.

The Supra also goes further in the interior, with a more modern cabin from BMW. Much of the Z’s dashboard has been redesigned to accommodate a larger infotainment touchscreen, digital instrument panel and new steering wheel, but there are many disappointing transmission elements throughout. The center console is much the same as it was a decade ago, with a profusion of hard, thin plastic and large antiquated knobs pulled from a parts bin. Neither of these coupes have a lot of cargo space, with the Nissan offering a flat seven cubic feet of capacity compared to 10 for the Supra.

Markus Urbanocar and driver

Markus Urbanocar and driver

It became clear very early on in the drive that the Nissan Z’s return to the arena would not end in a career-defining win. But that doesn’t mean he should have stayed in retirement. This is the best version in the Z’s storied history, but the Toyota GR Supra easily tops it. While styling may be subjective, opposition to the Supra’s exterior design may be enough to lure some buyers to the Z.

In every other respect, the Supra wins the battle as the superior sports car. As much as the Z is better than the 370Z it replaces, it’s more of a “sporty” car compared to the Supra. Perhaps a more capable Nismo Z in the future could even help the scorecards, but it’s unlikely to correct internal missteps. To wrap it all up in one final boxing metaphor, the Z swings wildly in hopes of a lucky knockout, while the Supra confidently lands unanswered precision punches.

specifications

specifications

2023 Nissan Z Performance
Vehicle Type: Front engine, rear wheel drive, 2-passenger, 2-door hatchback

PRICE
Base/as tested: $51,015/$53,610
Options: Passion Red Tricoat paint, $1695; lighted door sills, $500; Floor mats, $400

ENGINE
DOHC 24-valve, twin-turbocharged and intercooled V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct injection
Displacement: 183 inches32997 cm3
Power: 400 hp at 6400 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft at 1600 rpm

TRANSMISSION
6-speed manual transmission

CHASSIS
Suspension, F/R: Struts/Multilink
Brakes, F/R: 14.0″ ventilated disc / 13.8″ ventilated disc
Tyres: Bridgestone Potenza S007 B-Silent
F: 255/40R-19 96W
R: 275/35R-19 96W

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 100.4 inches
Length: 172.4 inches
Width: 72.6 inches
Height: 51.8 inches
Passenger volume: 52 ft3
Cargo volume: 7 ft3
Curb Weight: 3507lbs

CD TEST RESULTS
60mph: 4.5 sec
100mph: 10.6s
1/4 mile: 13.0 sec at 111 mph
130mph: 19.0s
The results above leave out a 0.3 second 1 foot rollout.
Rolling Start, 5-60 mph: 5.3 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 8.0 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 6.0 sec
Top speed (Government Ltd): 155 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 166 ft
Braking, 100-0 mph: 331 ft
Road holding, 300 ft skidpad: 0.93 g

CD FUEL SAVING
Observed: 17 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 20/18/24 mpg

2022 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium
Vehicle Type: Front engine, rear wheel drive, 2-passenger, 2-door hatchback

PRICE
Base/as tested: $56,065/$57,260
Options: Driver Assist Package (adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors), $1195

ENGINE
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve in-line 6, aluminum block and head, direct injection
Displacement: 183 inches32998 cm3
Power: 382 hp at 6500 rpm
Torque: 368 lb-ft at 1800 rpm

TRANSMISSION
8-speed automatic

CHASSIS
Suspension, F/R: Struts/Multilink
Brakes, F / R: 13.7″ ventilated disc / 13.6″ ventilated disc
Tyres: Michelin Pilot Sport
F: 255/35ZR-19 (96Y) ★
R: 275/35ZR-19 (100Y) ★

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 97.2 inches
Length: 172.5 inches
Width: 73.0 inches
Height: 50.9 inches
Passenger volume: 51 ft3
Cargo volume: 10 ft3
Curb weight: 3382 lbs

CD TEST RESULTS
60mph: 3.7 sec
100mph: 9.1s
1/4 mile: 12.2 sec at 184 km/h
130mph: 16.6s
The results above leave out a 0.3 second 1 foot rollout.
Rolling Start, 5-60 mph: 4.7 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.5 sec
Top gear, 80-110 km/h: 2.9 sec
Top speed (Government Ltd): 160 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 147 ft
Braking, 100-0 mph: 297 ft
Road holding, 300 ft skidpad: 1.00 g

CD FUEL SAVING
Observed: 18 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 25/22/30 mpg

CD EXAMINATION EXPLAINED


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