Motortrend: 2023 Nissan Z vs. 2022 Toyota GR Supra Comparison Test

SpeedRacer

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Thought this one was posted already but looks new as of today.

Still reading it between meetings, but unsurprisingly they prefer the Supra

https://www.nissanzclub.com/forum/t...vs-2022-toyota-gr-supra-comparison-test.1427/

The '80s are back, baby! Kate Bush is still running up a hill, people are unironically wearing Oakley sunglasses, Hyundai unveiled a concept car that looks just like the DeLorean Group B race car that never was, and Top Gun: Maverick was the summer's runaway box office hit. Our collective unconscious lust for all things '80s now extends into MotorTrend's pages as we pit the new-for-2023 Nissan Z against a 2022 Toyota GR Supra, two Japanese sports cars that decades ago roamed our nation's streets.

Intriguingly, Toyota does not build the Supra; BMW, its partner in the project, does. The new Supra is in fact the hardtop version of the quite pleasant BMW Z4. So aside from body panels, there isn't much Toyota about the car save for tuning. As for the new Z—Nissan dropped the numeric part of the car's name—it is a greatest-hits collection of Nissan and Infiniti parts. The FM chassis, for example, . The big questions: Is the Z just a nostalgia play, tugging at the heartstrings and fattening wallets of Generation X and Y? Or is there something more there? Is it as good as the Supra?

First thought: Both cars could look better than their predecessors. The 2014 Toyota FT-1 concept, which previewed the eventual production Supra's design, was a stunner, but it had to be shrunk around the reality of the Z4's hardpoints. The resulting car is proportionally off. That's a fancy way of saying the Supra looks stumpy.

You would never know by looking, but the Supra is actually 0.1 inch longer than the Z, and it's 0.4 inch wider, too. The Z, however, is 0.9 inch taller, which makes it look like the larger car. The Nissan is heavier, 3,597 pounds compared to the Toyota's 3,395, a fairly significant difference. More significant is that 57 percent of the Z's weight rests on its front wheels, whereas only 52 percent of the Supra's weight is up front. Both vehicles have 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engines, but the Nissan has two turbochargers—one for each half of its V-6—while the Supra's straight-six makes do with a single turbo. The additional turbo allows the Z to outpower the Supra, 400 hp to 382. That said, the Toyota produces more torque, 368 lb-ft versus 350. One caveat here: Since we first drove a Supra, we've institutionally suspected the engine produces more power than advertised. There might even be a dyno chart (or three) floating around on the internet that confirms our suspicions.

The less powerful Toyota hit 60 mph in 4.0 seconds in our instrumented testing, 0.3 second quicker than the Nissan. You might say the Supra is lighter and torquier, and the quarter mile is the real horsepower test. Guess what? The Toyota's lead continued at the end of 1,320 feet, covering the distance in 12.3 seconds at 114.7 mph versus 12.9 seconds at 107.6 mph. We must also mention we achieved the Z's numbers using a bottle of octane booster, because California's "premium" gasoline is only 91 octane, and Nissan recommended we do so. To get one idea of why we think the Supra's engine is underrated, take a look at the trap speed: The car was 7.1 mph faster with supposedly less horsepower.

When it was time to stop, the Toyota proved it has much better brakes in terms of both performance and feel. The Supra stopped from 60 mph in 101 feet; the Nissan managed a best distance of 111 feet. The Z's brake pedal isn't very easy to modulate, either, as it feels somewhat wooden and makes it difficult to tell where you are in relation to ABS engagement.

In contrast, the Supra's brake feel is quite good: You can easily stay out of the ABS and still find maximum braking. The Supra also bested the Z in terms of roadholding, pulling 1.04 g (average) on the skidpad compared to only 0.92 g. All of the above adds up to a big gap between the two cars in our figure-eight test: 25.0 seconds for the Nissan and 23.8 for the Toyota. A delta exceeding 1.0 second indicates these cars live in different performance classes.

SoCal's fantastically slithering and challenging Angeles Crest Highway might not represent the "real world" to the majority of people who buy these cars, but it's a nice, traffic-free road where we were able to fully examine these two classic nameplates. And by "nice," I mean "yeehaw!"

My feelings about both cars pretty much mirrored what our test team discovered at the track, but Brady felt a bit different.

"This Nissan platform's stability impresses me—decent grip and enough control through midcorner pavement imperfections to keep me pushing with no fear of punishment," he said. "The body moves around a bit but never feels out of sorts. Turn-in might not be razor sharp, but it's at least a proper Japanese steak knife (blame the tires), and the rear differential can put this new engine's power to the ground without kicking you sideways. However, Nissan's choice of retaining the old car's enormous traction control button and mechanical e-brake mean there's plenty of tomfoolery to be had if you seek it out."

For my money, I couldn't accept how much the Z squirmed around under braking, especially when compared to the Supra. Even a moderate pedal jab produced a rolling wave of chassis uncertainty. As Brady said (and as our track testing bore out), the Nissan simply delivered less grip than the Toyota did. Ultimately you have a car that doesn't hug the road all that well and shimmies under braking, and it doesn't inspire confidence at all. Better suspension damping and better tires would likely go a long way here, but when performing a comparison test, a car's bad attributes become inflated because you're always able to jump back into the other car and appreciate its better behavior. You're not going to notice this stuff about the Nissan during a normal real-life test drive, but the Z stumbles near its limits.

On the plus side, the twin-turbo V-6 really comes alive as it builds revs, something that lends the car a nice helping of character. The Nissan isn't as quick or as punchy as the Supra, but its engine is a joy and feels powerful once it climbs past 5,000 rpm. However, the nine-speed transmission is noticeably inferior to the Supra's eight-speed. "I was only impressed with the Nissan's transmission because I hadn't driven the 'BMW Toyota' yet," Brady said. "The ZF eight-speed is the better choice; it feels every bit as quick as some dual-clutch autos, and it delivers outstanding low-speed refinement." You just can't beat this transmission when it comes to torque-converter automatics. But the Z's twin-turbo V-6 feels capable of being alive at all times rather than only when in the upper rev range if Nissan would take a little time to rework the first 20 percent or so of the throttle map.

The Toyota Supra? It's not perfect, but it's pretty great to drive. With a superior gearbox, sharper steering, better brakes, and less weight to fight, the quicker Supra emerges from this contest as a better driver's car. "The Supra is without question the car I'd take to the track," Brady said. To his point, even if everything else were equal, the Toyota's better suspension damping deals with a bump almost immediately, whereas in the Z you feel like the springs and shocks are still rebounding from the previous jolt even as you get to the next one. It's easy to suspect the Nissan's unibody is more flexible than the Toyota's, a reasonable assumption when you remember the platform is two decades old. Hopefully, Nissan will address this area when it releases the eventual NISMO model. Extra bracing will be welcomed, but even with it, the Z might simply carry too much weight on its front tires.

All said and done, the Toyota Supra is a better sports car here than the slightly less expensive Nissan Z. We could point out the fact that the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE costs less and is worlds better to drive than either (plus it's quicker than both in the quarter mile), but let's keep our eyes on the nostalgia prize. Both the Z and the Supra suffer from not having their respective manufacturers' full attention. This is obvious with the BMW-built Supra, less so in the Z until you attempt to drive it like a modern car and realize parts of it are quite old. It's tempting to be cute here and say something like, "Because these are nostalgia machines, an old platform is fine." But no. Instead, tilt your cap to the GR Supra for winning this comparison test while admonishing both Nissan and Toyota. Each can and should do better. Otherwise, when nostalgia for the 2020s rolls around 30 years from now, our professional descendants will be writing about two other brands' sports cars.

2ND PLACE: 2023 NISSAN Z

Pros

  • A classic nameplate lives on
  • Revvy engine
  • Still has a handbrake lever

Cons
  • Nose-heavy
  • Brakes
  • Body control
Verdict: Although no new modern sports car is ever a bad thing, we expected better dynamics from an icon like the Z.

1ST PLACE: 2022 TOYOTA GR SUPRA

Pros

  • Sharp handling
  • Punches above its weight
  • Modern chassis
Cons
  • Disproportionate looks
  • A bit pricey
  • Not a true Toyota
Verdict: A competent, fun to drive German sports car we wish was a true Japanese sports car.

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Sub-MkV

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I'm sick of the Supra catching negatives for being a BMW. I can understand if BMW was like Daewoo or one of the world's worst brands in quality and dynamically. Most of the same people that hate the BMW aspect of this car generally love BMW cars.
 

RenRed2

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I'm sick of the Supra catching negatives for being a BMW. I can understand if BMW was like Daewoo or one of the world's worst brands in quality and dynamically. Most of the same people that hate the BMW aspect of this car generally love BMW cars.
NO one cares the Lotus EVORA has a TOYOTA V6!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The SUPRA is a TOYOTA developed machine.
 

Sub-MkV

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It seems like 91 octane is the Nissan Z's kryptonite in straightline performance. A Supra is only .2 seconds slower on 91 vs the Z being .5 - .7 seconds slower on 91. They even put octane booster in and it was still somewhat disappointing with 12.9 on the 9spd.
 

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Sounds like all the CA Zs are going to be even slower than the test shows unless everyone is riding around with some octane booster in their tank. Just sad.
 

FuzzyRev85

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Has Nissan actually given the 91 octane power numbers then, considering the claimed 400 crank hp is on a fuel 75% of us don't have easy access to?

There's a few non-turbo vehicles out there where the owner's manual actually spells out that you lose like 3-5 hp on mid-grade vs premium fuel..
 

Supraboi7

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I'm sick of the Supra catching negatives for being a BMW. I can understand if BMW was like Daewoo or one of the world's worst brands in quality and dynamically. Most of the same people that hate the BMW aspect of this car generally love BMW cars.
My logic is that IF the way the car is made (BMW partnership) is bad, THEN the finished product should also be bad as a reflection of that. But somehow the Supra is objectively superior...go figure huh? Good cars are made the right way, and bad cars are made the wrong way.
 

MKV2021

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I am so fucking tired of hearing about the Supra just being a BMW. It's like art critics getting pissed off because their favorite painters didn't use media from the same country they were born in. All those people that rail on about JDM don't really care unless it interferes with their own biases. You know who gets to decide what is a Toyota and what is not? Toyota. Don't like it? Fuck off and buy something else. That's the beauty of choice.
 

zrk

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JDM don't really care unless it interferes with their own biases.
Or know what JDM means. They think Japanese cars sold in America are JDM. lol. Fucking guys.
 
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SpeedRacer

SpeedRacer

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Wow! Maybe I should’ve skipped a meeting or two and finished reading it before posting the link.

Admittedly, I skimmed the article and saw better brakes, better handling, and better acceleration then skipped the rest of the article while considering it all just noise. Now that I’ve had a chance to read it in it’s entirety, I still consider the rest of it noise since the Supra is a better car. I love driving mine so I don’t give a 💩 about people who obsess over who makes it or the country of origin. Nor does their opinion diminish the joy I feel while listening to the Supra’s exhaust crack and pop as I bomb down the local back roads. 🏎
 

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I'm sick of the Supra catching negatives for being a BMW. I can understand if BMW was like Daewoo or one of the world's worst brands in quality and dynamically. Most of the same people that hate the BMW aspect of this car generally love BMW cars.
People (and by people, I mean “journalists”, and by “journalists” I really mean idiots) seem to always forget that although the Supra uses BMW running gear and Z4 hard points, the two teams developed everything else independent of each other, and in fact, did not reveal data with one another until the projects were completed. Of course it’s stupid to claim the A90 is a home-grown Toyota, but to call it a BMW Z4 in a Japanese frock is almost equally off base.

Furthermore, as a previous M235i owner, BMW makes great engines, they have the best programming for the ZF8 auto, and that generation iDrive is fantastically intuitive. The reason I never want another BMW is because their build quality and reliability is, frankly, utter dog shite. A Toyota-supervised BMW engine development program that results in the robust, overbuilt B58 that is actually worthy of being in a Supra? Sign me up!
 

 
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