Top 10 Alternatives To Consider Other Than the Nissan Z

The 2023 Nissan Z sports car goes on sale this summer with a new twin-turbo V6 making 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, paired with a buyer’s choice of an automatic or manual transmission.

But, like all new sports cars, and cars in general, due to the semiconductor chip shortage, buyers might not be able to get their hands on one for a while.

The new Z will start at about $40,000, which means it will see competition from all corners of the market including muscle cars, Japanese two-seaters, luxury coupe and maybe a hatchback or two. If you can’t wait until the Z goes on sale, check out this list of fantastic alternatives.

2022 Ford Mustang

The 2022 Ford Mustang offers four- and eight-cylinder powertrains.
Ford Motor Company

The all-American ponycar has a base price of $27,205, putting it well below the cost of the new Z. The Mustang is a good bit bigger too, with space for four passengers instead of two. However, the base Mustang’s steering accuracy suffers compared to the faster versions. Buyers can get into a better-handling Mustang GT for $37,275.

The base Mustang comes with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder making 310 horsepower and 350 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque. That can be upgraded to 330 horsepower with the High Performance Package. But, to beat the Nissan’s output buyers would have to step up to the GT, which delivers 450 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. A six-speed manual is standard, a ten-speed automatic transmission is optional.

2022 Subaru BRZ

Subaru upped the horsepower on the 2022 BRZ coupe.
Subaru of America

The Subaru BRZ debuted in 2012 in North America, and was an instant hit among enthusiasts, the same type of buyers who would also be looking for the Nissan Z. It was created through a joint project with Toyota, which has its own quirks, and features just two seats. The second-generation BRZ is smaller than the Nissan by about 5 inches and starts far below the Z at $27,700.

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The BRZ is now only offered with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Like the Z it comes with a six-speed manual, but also offers an automatic transmission option.

2023 Toyota GR Supra

The 2023 Toyota Supra offers rear-wheel drive for the new year a manual transmission.
Toyota Motor North America

The Toyota GR Supra is tailormade to compete with the new Z. The midsize two-seater coupe is almost exactly the same size as the Z and recently gained a manual transmission option after a few years on U.S. roads. It starts at $43,540, right near the Z.

However, that price is for the 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine, which only nets buyers 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to be pushed to the rear wheels. To get the turbocharged six-cylinder, buyers will need to write a check for $51,890, but they will get 382 horsepower and 368 lb-ft. That’s not as much power as the Z but it is more torque.

2022 Chevrolet Camaro

The 2021 Chevrolet Camaro SS delivers 455 horsepower from its V8.

The Mustang’s mortal enemy, the Chevrolet Camaro starts at $25,000 and goes up well into the $70K range. The base model comes with a six-speed automatic and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It too has space for four, where the Nissan only sits two.

The Camaro comes standard with 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Eight- or 10-speed automatics are optional, the ten-speed comes with the V6. That pushes the price up to $28,290 and brings 335 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. That’s still eclipsed by the Z, so buyers would need to go to the LT1 trim, which costs $35,195 and lays down 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft to truly compete.

2022 Dodge Challenger

The 2022 Dodge Challenger GT trim is the only one with all-wheel drive.
Stellantis N.V.

The Dodge Challenger is the giant of the group. If buyers are looking for something small and quick, they won’t cross shop this hot rod. But it does come with rear-wheel drive and a stick shift, and it loves to be thrown around a corner, carefully. It comes in at $30,825 with a V6 under the hood. The Challenger R/T model gets close to the cost of the Z with a price of $38,375.

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The base Challenger’s V6 makes 303 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque, which is still down from the Z’s 400 ponies, but the V8-equipped Challenger R/T is closer with 375 horsepower. Granted, it weighs almost 900 pounds more than the Z. However, it is supremely comfortable for long journeys, and there is plenty of space for rear passengers.

2022 Toyota GR86

The 2022 Toyota GR86 offers either a manual or automatic transmission.
Toyota Motor North America

The better-looking twin of the BRZ, the Toyota GR86 features the same engine making the same 228 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. It comes in slightly more expensive at $28,595. It too is offered with either a manual or automatic transmission and it too is underpowered in a competition with the Z.

The Toyota has a slightly more aggressive face than the BRZ, and each company does its own engine, transmission and suspension tuning so they have different driving characteristics. The BRZ feels more mechanical while the Toyota feels like there are more electronics between the driver and road.

2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The Mazda MX-5 Miata can be driven hard every day, which is part of its charm.
Mazda North America

The Mazda MX-5 Miata has been outselling and outperforming more expensive coupes and convertibles for 30 years. It undercuts the Z’s price by a lot, with a base of just $27,300. It also now offers a folding hardtop version called Miata RF for $34,040, which makes it feel closer to the Z in style.

The Miata is underpowered using just a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 181 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. It offers a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, but its fun lies with its perfect chassis for daily driving, and the fact that 100 percent of the power can be used all the time. The Z will blow by legal speeds in the blink of an eye if a driver isn’t careful; the Mazda needs time to reach them.

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2022 BMW M240i

The 2022 BMW M240i is one step below the M2, but much less expensive.
BMW North America

The BMW M240i is the 2-Series just below the monstrous M2 model in the company’s lineup, and its specs line up with the Nissan tightly. The M240 features four seats, though the ones in the back are tiny, and offers either a manual or automatic transmission. It starts at $48,500, which puts it above the Z by 20 percent or so, but some of that is certainly due to the badge.

The BMW M240i comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine making 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, all of which is channeled through the back wheels. The BMW has excellent steering feel and lack of chassis flex, which makes daily driving rougher, but track driving better.

2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI/R

The 2022 Volkswagen Golf R comes standard with all-wheel drive.
Volkswagen of America

These final two entries don’t perfectly line up with the Z, but they are from the enthusiast corner of the market. The front-wheel drive GTI comes in at $29,545 and the all-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf R starts at $44,640. Both offer a manual or automatic transmission option and both are nearly as fun to pilot as a rear-drive coupe.

The GTI comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter making 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque while the R ups that to 315 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. The Golf R also has a Drift mode, which sends that power to the rear wheels only. That means it acts like a rear-drive vehicle, though it still has less power compared to the Z.

2022 Honda Civic Si

The 2022 Honda Civic Si delivers 205 horsepower with comfortable space for four.

The 2022 Honda Civic Si doesn’t really conform to the Z’s formula either, but it and its forthcoming Type R brother will steal sales from buyers who need an extra two seats. The Civic Si starts at $27,500 and is only offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

The only engine is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. What the Civic Si lacks in power and aggressiveness is made up for in utility and comfort. The previous Civic Type R arrived with 306 horsepower and the new one will be similar in power.

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