Before the new Z made its debut, the Toyota Supra was being compared to some lofty competition. Depending on what you read or watched, you could see the Toyota being compared to everything from the Corvette C8 to the Porsche 718 Cayman. With the emergence of the new Nissan Z, we seem to have a more direct competitor. So how do they stack up against each other?
Both the Supra and Z are RWD, two-seater sports cars, but details are what really matter.
It looks like Nissan has finally moved from using its long-running VQ series V6 engine in everything. The Z gets a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 400 horsepower and 350 ft-lbs of torque. That’s the only engine available.
The Supra however gets two engine choices: a base 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 with 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and a 3.0-liter turbocharged I6 with 382 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. (It should be noted that the Supra shares both of these engines with the BMW Z4.)
As I’m sure you know, you can’t row your own gears with either engine in the Supra. Both engines get paired to eight-speed automatics.
In the Z, a manual is standard. This actually got some applause at the debut from the crowd. A nine-speed automatic is optional. The manual gets Nissan’s SynchroRev Match while the auto gets downshift rev-matching.
The Z and Supra are damn near the same size in every exterior dimension though the Supra is slightly “bigger”. The Supra is longer than the Z by just 0.1 inches (172.5 compared to the Z’s 172.4). It’s also 0.4 inches wider than the Z (73 inches vs. 72.6 for the Z). The Z sits taller though at 51.8 inches. There is an 0.2-inch difference between the height of the two Supras, with the 2.0 at 51.1 inches and the 3.0 at 50.9 inches.
If interior room matters to you in a car like this I’m here to tell you that neither one is cavernous inside. The Z has more legroom at 42.9 inches vs. 42.2 for the Supra.
Base Z’s ride on 18-inch wheels and so does the Supra 2.0. The Z Performance (which is the higher spec of the two available trims for the Z) rides on 19’s, the same as the Supra 3.0.
The elephant in the room with the Z is its weight. We know that the Supra either weighs 3,181 lbs with the four-cylinder or 3,400 lbs with the I6. Curiously, Nissan revealed everything but the Z’s weight.
We can draw some inferences from the 2020 370Z since even though the Z is all-new, it still rides on the ancient FM platform which has been in use since 2001. Depending on what transmission and trim you chose, the 370Z weighed anywhere from 3,333 to 3,439 lbs. Some have worried the curb weight for the Z will be higher than that because of the twin-turbo V6 which is likely the VR30DDTT turbo V6 used in the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport. That engine weighs 429.5 lbs. I can’t find a definitive weight figure for the 3.7-liter VQ, but the 3.5-liter was 313lbs. If nothing but the engine changed, which is definitely not the case, the new Z would be around a hundred lbs heavier than the outgoing car.
As far as features though, both look to be strong propositions as far as value for money. Toyota gives you leather seats as standard on both versions of the Supra and a JBL stereo is optional. Nissan seems to be pulling all the stops with the Z. You can get a full Blue leather interior. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and there’s an available 9-inch touch screen. That’s not including the full digital TFT display behind the wheel.
The new Z is a welcome addition to the dwindling number of sports cars. Nissan could’ve easily done something different with the Z, going the electric route or slapping the badge on a sporty crossover. The Z should be able to go toe to toe with the Supra. While its weight and old underpinnings might be a concern, I have a feeling that it’ll drive well enough for those things to be forgiven.