If you’re looking for a performance RWD bargain with more punch than a Mazda MX-5, Subaru BRZ, or Toyota 86, Nissan might have something in store for you. At $39,990 (excluding $1,025 destination and handling), the new Z is touted as being an “attainable dream car.” That statement certainly has some truth in it once you compare the starting price to that of a Toyota Supra with BMW’s inline-six engine.
The B58-powered sports car cost an extra $11,900, and a closer look at the pricing shows the V6-powered Z is actually even cheaper than the four-cylinder Supra with the B48 by $3,550. As it stands, BMW currently doesn’t have a direct answer to Nissan’s coupe since the M240i is still an xDrive affair for the time being. It costs from $48,550, but we’re expecting the promised rear-wheel-drive variant to be a couple of thousand dollars cheaper.
Enthusiasts looking for a more capable Z will step up from the base Sport model to the Performance. Available from $49,990, it adds quite a few niceties worth having. We’re primarily talking about the limited-slip differential and larger brakes, but also worth mentioning is the rev-matching function of the six-speed manual gearbox. Alternatively, the 370Z successor can be had with a nine-speed automatic as a no-cost option.
There’s a more expensive Z Proto Spec with a special finish inside and out as a visual nod to the preceding Z Proto unveiled in 2020. It costs $52,990 and is offered in the United States in just 240 examples. All three flavors of the tail-happy sports car are powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter unit with 400 hp on tap.
That gives it an extra dozen ponies over the M240i, Z4 M40i, and Supra while having the possibility to go for a manual. Granted, Toyota is introducing a three-pedal Supra 3.0 for the 2023 model year whereas BMW isn’t planning a stick shift for its two models equipped with the same B58 engine.