Almost everyone is excited about the new Nissan Z. The 370Z debuted in 2009 and was on sale until 2020 – without any major updates. While it was still a great car, it was showing its age quite blatantly.
The new Z is a fresh take on the Nissan sports car and from what we’ve learned, it will be quite a good one at that. Borrowing the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 from the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400, the Z will make the same 400 hp. The biggest difference is that the Z will be rear-drive only and won’t get the option of powering all the wheels. The Nissan Z’s transmissions have already been confirmed to be a 6-speed manual or a 9-speed automatic. While everything in the Nissan Z is brand-new, it still has the same DNA as that of older Z cars. The overall design is very reminiscent of the 300ZX and original 240Z, while the proportions stay true to the more recent 350Z and 370Z.
While there is very little doubt that the new Nissan Z would be a great sports car, there are alternatives for anyone who wants the same level of performance and engagement – especially in the $40,000-$50,000-odd price range that the Nissan Z will most likely cost. With that, here are 5 sports cars and 5 sports sedans we’d rather have over the new Nissan Z.
10 Sports Coupe – Toyota Supra
The Toyota Supra is one of the most popular sports coupes on the planet, thanks to its huge tuning potential and aftermarket parts. The current A90 Toyota Supra debuted in 2020 and has since been received with mixed reviews – mostly relating to ergonomics.
The Supra is available with a choice of either a 2.0-liter turbocharged i4 or a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six. As of later in the 2022 model year, the 3.0-liter will be available with a 6-speed manual transmission, but an 8-speed automatic is the standard option.
9 Sports Coupe – BMW M240i
The BMW M240i is the smallest sports car offering from the German brand. It is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six – the same one in the Toyota Supra – and produces 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. BMW recently updated the M240i’s options, and the range now includes a non-xDrive variant.
The only transmission option available is the 8-speed torque converter automatic, which is a bit of a shame as the M240i is a great sports car, and having it with a manual would greatly increase the level of driver involvement. Hopefully, the upcoming M2 will have a manual.
8th Sports Coupe – Lexus RC 350
The Lexus RC 350 is the mid-tier offering from the Lexus RC range and is fitted with a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6. The engine powers the rear wheels as standard, but all-wheel-drive is available as an option. The V6 produces 315 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, all mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Lexus RC was primarily designed for luxury and comfort, but sportiness was also part of the equation, especially to compete with the BMW 440i Coupe and Audi A5 coupe. The Lexus RC has now been around since 2014, but it’s still a great option for anyone looking for a sports coupe.
7 Sports Coupe—Ford Mustang GT
The Ford Mustang GT has always been the more affordable option when looking for a muscle car, but thanks to the hugely improved sixth generation, the Mustang has become more of a sports car than a proper muscle car.
This does not mean that it has lost its muscle car ethos though. The GT is still powered by a 5.0-liter V8, producing 450 hp and 410 lb-ft in the least-powerful trim, going up to 480 hp in Mach-1 trim. The Mustang GT starts from around $39,000 and rises to $58,000 for the Mach-1.
6 Sports Coupe—Chevrolet Camaro SS
Like the Ford Mustang GT, the Chevrolet Camaro has turned into more of a sports car than a muscle car. It is available with a choice of engines – from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 to a 3.6-liter V6 and 6.2-liter V8. The transmission choices include either a 6-speed manual or a 10-speed automatic.
The power outputs begin from 250 hp in the 4-cylinder, to the 335-hp V6 and ends with a 455-hp V8. The Camaro starts from about $25,000, ending at around $45,000 for the top-tier SS. The Camaro SS is an awesome sports car and a great alternative to the Japanese and German choices.
5 Sports Sedan – Kia Stinger GT
Sports coupes are not the only choices available when looking for a Nissan Z alternative. Sports sedans offer the same power and driving experience as the sports coupe but adds practicality and interior space. One of the best entry-level sports sedans is the Kia Stinger GT.
Fitted with a 368 hp and 376 lb-ft 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6, the Stinger GT is a pretty good and reliable sedan. It can even be optioned with all-wheel drive for those who need it. Kia recently updated the Stinger with some new wheels and a slight facelift, but at $45,000, the Stinger GT is a bargain.
4 Sports Sedan – Lexus IS 350 F-Sport
The Lexus IS 350 F-Sport has the same engine as the RC 350 – which is a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6, which produces 315 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, the IS 500 F-Performance is more than $12,000 more expensive than the IS 350 F-Sport, which starts from $45,000.
The IS is by now a slightly older model – even though it doesn’t necessarily look like it, thanks to the design. One aspect where it shows its age is on the interior – it still has a CD slot and the satellite navigation has not been updated all that much since 2013. Still, the IS 350 F-Sport is a refined and outrageously reliable sporty sedan.
3 Sports Sedan – Dodge Charger Scat Pack
The Dodge Charger Scat Pack is a great car because it offers a lot of car for relatively little money – as is the traditional American car tradition. Starting from $46,000, the Scat Pack comes fitted with a 6.4-liter HEMI V8, producing 485 hp. The Charger Scat Pack is only available with an 8-speed automatic transmission, but it’s a ZF unit, so there is no problem with it.
The Charger Scat Pack has loads of space both inside the cabin and in the trunk, making it a sporty sedan and a great family car. Interestingly, the V8 in the Scat Pack was only 1 MPG worse than the base specification V6, which does around 26 MPG.
2 Sports Sedan – Genesis G70 3.3T
The Genesis G70 is a premium to luxurious sedan built to take on the Germans – such as the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class – at their own game. The G70 range starts with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, but the sportier version to go for is the 3.3T. As indicated, the G70 is powered by a 365 hp 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 – the same one as in the Kia Stinger GT.
The Genesis G70 3.3T starts from $44,000, with the ‘Sport Advanced’ specification being $4,000 more. The G70, like most Genesis models, do luxury and driving refinement almost as good as the best rivals, but for a lot less money. Even though the G70 3.3T is down on power compared to many sports sedans, it is still a great choice.
1 Sports sedan – BMW M340i
Finally, the best small sports sedan of them all – the BMW M340i. The Bimmer is one of the more expensive options to choose from – starting at around $52,000 – but it is worth every penny. The M340i is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six, which produces 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The car also features a 48-volt mild-hybrid system which aids emissions and provides a boost of power.
The BMW 3-Series has been the standard for the compact executive sedan, with the top-of-the-line M3 variant being the benchmark for the smaller sports sedan. With the 3-Series just being updated with a fresh look, it has become even better. It’s definitely a worthy alternative to the Nissan Z.