As the 2023 Nissan Z, which some still prefer to label as the 400Z, is heading out to its first customers, some owners are already prepared to throw some mods at the JDM machine. Naturally, most people are willing to extract some extra power out of the Infiniti-borrowed 3.0L straight-six of the sportscar, especially since the twin turbos make that a relatively easy job. And Nissan/Infiniti-friendly American tuner AMS Performance has now released the dyno results of its recent 2023 Nissan Z ECU Tune testing.
Update: Here’s an AMS-tuned 2023 Nissan Z delivering 500 WHP on basic bolt-ons, which resulted in an 11s quarter-mile run. However, with further work on the car, the specialist was able to extract 719 hp and 592 lb-ft of torque at the wheels (some 840 hp and 690 lb-ft at the crankshaft). The quarter-mile performance? A seriously badass 9.92s ET with an 127 mph trap speed.
The Illinois-based aftermarket specialist is working overtime to complete the development, so people can hopefully use the tune in their Zs this year. And this test brings us one step closer to that point while giving us an insight into the heart of the Z, along with some impressive numbers.
AMS is no stranger to the VR30 twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 animating the 400Z, which is borrowed from the Infiniti Q50 and Q60, albeit with a few limited upgrades. In fact, AMS’ work can be found in the official Infiniti performance parts offer, as well as on drag strips across the country, where AMS-tuned GT-Rs—different engine here, though—are among the most capable. They’ve also worked on the Mk V Supra’s BMW B58 engine and we’ll return to this below.
Cool, so what were the max numbers?
To push the 400Z’s engine as far as possible while also keeping things safe, AMS installed a performance exhaust and fed the motor with MS109 racing fuel, both of which reduce the chances of detonation. And, with the said hardware, the 3.0L unit delivered a maximum output of 452.7 hp at 4,770 rpm and 523 lb-ft of torque at 4,330 rpm (at the wheels).
And we can apply the theoretical 15% drivetrain loss to estimate the crank output, as the tested car came with the Mercedes-sourced nine-speed automatic rather than the six-speed manual. So, at the crankshaft, the engine delivered 475 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque.
How do those numbers compare to the stock dyno run? Thanks to AMS having recently used the same dyno to test a standard 400Z for Savagegeese, we know this offers an average of 372 hp and 362 lb-ft at the wheels (391 hp and 380 lb-ft at the crank). And, as a brief reminder, Nissan’s official numbers (at the crankshaft) sit at 400 hp and 350 lb-ft.
So, that’s an increase of 80+ whp and 162 wtq (85 hp and 170 lb-ft at the crank).
You’ll find both dyno charts in the gallery below. Nevertheless, the stock Z’s performance is accompanied by that of the Supra, since Savagegeese dynoed the two as part of a complete comparo—the full video, which also includes the Toyota GR86, awaits you at the bottom of the article.
The max output figures only tell part of the story
Zooming in on the power and torque curves of the modded Z, it’s the latter line that impresses the most. The VR30 picks up early, even though the tradeoff is that there’s not that much of a punch high in the rev range. Come to think of it, the uber-solid torque has us wondering if AMS played with the stock feature that limits torque by gear to emulate the linear experience of an N/A engine (Ferrari is famous for these systems).
The said limit is, of course, is dictated by the factory turbochargers, which are aimed at providing the kind of drivability such a sports car need. And here’s what AMS had to say on this: “Some additional power could be realized with aftermarket intakes. The turbos are sized appropriately for excellent spool and response at stock power levels,”
What about other entry-level mods for the 2023 Nissan Z?
The idea of adding aftermarket bits to the Z has deep roots. You see, while the Nissan is slower than the Supra both in a straight line and on the track, it offers a more engaging driving experience, while also being around $6,000 more affordable (assuming the dreaded dealer markups don’t interfere).
And you’ll find more than one owner willing to bridge that performance gap with custom bits. Sure, an aftermarket air intake would probably also help with the Z making more turbo noise, but the best place to start involves the tires.
Even the Bridgestone S007 summer tires, which are the best rubber you can get from the factory on the Z, have been labeled as unimpressive in many tests pitting the 400Z against the Supra and the Ford Mustang. For one, Jason Camisa’s “$50,000 question” drag race Hagerty video from back in March highlights this, while also explaining why the manual Z is so quiet (cue to the custom exhaust desires).
Another area that could use some upgrading, as agreed by multiple reviewers, is the suspension. With the Z lacking adaptive dampers, its standard setup allows quite a bit of body roll. Of course, there are always those who care more about the perfect wheel gap and we’ll see the #stanced community enjoying its fair share of the Nissan 400Z.
See you at SEMA
The fact that a certain amount of aftermarket parts from the Nissan 370Z (platform) and Infiniti (engine) are at least partially prepared for the 2023 Z is also an asset. And, with that in mind, we can expect a bit of a 400Z assault at this November’s SEMA (here’s what’s coming to the Las Vegas event), even though unlocking the full potential of the sports car might have to wait for following year.