Full Power - Your Guide To The Best 2023 Nissan Z Catback Exhaust Systems

The Nissan Z (RZ34) represents a new evolution for Nissan's iconic sports car. Packing a turbocharged VR30DDETT engine and a 6-speed manual transmission, the new Z oozes retro charm while delivering modern performance. But what if you’re looking to modify your new Z with a few tasteful upgrades? That’s where an aftermarket catback exhaust comes in!

One of the best ways to add more power to your Nissan Z is by installing an aftermarket exhaust system. A performance exhaust can help unleash the true potential of the Z's VR30DDETT engine, resulting in an even more thrilling driving experience. Read on to learn why a new exhaust is a smart upgrade and how to pick the best system for your needs.

Choosing The Best Nissan Z Exhausts

The aftermarket exhaust systems featured in this guide represent the best exhausts for the  Nissan Z on the market today. We selected these exhausts based on their proven power gains, quality construction, improved exhaust note, and brand reputation By evaluating these key points, we narrowed the field to showcase only the best Catback exhausts to help unleash your Z's potential.

AAM Competition True Dual Exhaust System

AAM Competition True Dual Exhaust System Nissan Z
AAM Competition True Dual Exhaust System

The AAM Competition True Dual Exhaust stands out as one of the premier choices for owners looking to unlock the full potential of the Nissan Z's twin-turbo V6. This 3-inch stainless steel system features mandrel-bent tubing to reduce flow restrictions, significantly improving exhaust flow. The AAM exhaust includes a patented adjustable valve system, allowing drivers to toggle between a refined, quiet exhaust note for street driving and a wide-open, aggressive tone perfect for racing applications. While the price is on the higher end, you are paying for quality components and adjustable sound that provides the best of both worlds.


MAPerformance Catback Exhaust System

For Nissan Z owners seeking a blend of affordability and performance, MAPerformance's Catback exhaust is a great option. The stainless steel piping has a cross-flow design to optimize exhaust flow, helping boost horsepower and torque output. MAPerformance uses mandrel bends and TIG welding to deliver a system built to last. Dual 4.5” tips give it a bold look, transforming the way your Z looks. The MAPerformance Catback strikes a great balance between price, quality, sound, and power gains. It's a smart choice for daily driven Z's.


APEXi RS Evo Extreme Catback Exhaust System

The APEXi RS Evo Extreme Catback exhaust represents the pinnacle of high-end systems for the Nissan Z. It starts with the meticulously engineered APEXi RS Evo muffler design that reduces restrictions through its patented megaphone piping. Topping it off are titanium tips for a race-inspired look that will turn heads wherever you go. The exhaust note is louder and more aggressive, yet avoids excessive drone at all speeds. While offered at a premium price point, the APEXi RS Evo Extreme Catback exhaust is for Z enthusiasts who are searching for high quality and better performance from an exhaust system.

AWE Tuning Catback Exhaust System

AWE Tuning brings its expertise to the table with two Nissan Z Catback offerings: the Touring and Track Editions. The AWE Touring Edition Catback exhaust uses patented drone-canceling technology to allow a refined but aggressive exhaust note that you can live with during your daily drive. The AWE Track Edition Catback Exhaust ditches the drone cancelation for full-on race exhaust volume and tone. Both feature 3-inch stainless steel piping optimized for the Z's engine. With attention to quality components and engineering, AWE provides Z owners with several different exhaust options to help you find the perfect exhaust upgrade.


Stillen Catback Exhaust System

Stillen has decades of experience crafting exhausts for Nissan sports cars, and it shows with their new catback exhaust system for the Z. This 304 stainless steel system utilizes an X-pipe design to balance performance and sound. Stillen's expertise is on full display in the carefully engineered piping, CNC-machined components, and meticulous welding. With competitive pricing, Stillen offers Z owners the complete package with quality, performance, and a refined aggressive exhaust tone that will set your Z apart.

HKS Hi-Power Catback Exhaust

Japanese tuning legends HKS bring their expertise to the Nissan Z with their HKS Hi-Power Catback exhaust. It features full dual 60.5mm stainless piping for reduced backpressure and improved flow. The HKS system allows owners to switch between an aggressive track sound or a more refined tone for the street. Expect notable horsepower and torque gains from the free-flowing design. The quality and engineering are second to none from HKS, and with the HKS Hi-Power Catback exhaust you can rest assured knowing its an upgrade that will deliver elite-level performance.


aFe Power Stainless Steel Catback Exhaust

The aFe Power Catback exhaust is all about maximizing exhaust flow and adding more power. The mandrel-bent 2.5" stainless steel piping reduces restrictions through the system, with a crossover balance tube used to optimize exhaust pulses and tone. You can expect impressive gains in horsepower and torque, especially in the mid to upper rpm range. The tone strikes a nice balance between refined and aggressive. aFe packages top-notch quality and performance at a very appealing price point for Z owners, making the aFe Power Catback exhaust worth a look!


Z1 Motorsports Catback Touring Exhaust

Z1 Motorsports draws from its Nissan tuning expertise to create the Z1 Motorsports Catback Touring Exhaust designed specifically for the Nissan Z. Their focus during development was on quality, performance, and a refined sound profile. The 304 stainless steel piping feeds into a single resonator to reduce harsh tones, then splits into oval mufflers with dual-layer packing for an optimized note. Z1's precision welding and casting reflects the quality. It's on the pricier side, but Z1's Catback delivers on all fronts. The Z1 Motorsports Catback Touring Exhaust is an excellent option if you want a great exhaust note with notable power gains.

NISMO Catback Race Exhaust

If you're looking to fully unleash your Z during your next track day, the NISMO Catback Race Exhaust may be exactly what you're looking for. The free-flowing 2.25" stainless piping significantly reduces restrictions, ensuring improved performance across the powerband.NISMO engineers dialed in the sound profile to avoid excessive interior drone while still delivering an exciting note. It may be overkill for most daily drivers, but the NISMO Catback Race Exhaust is perfect for pushing your Z to the limit at your favorite track.

Fast Intentions TDX Catback Exhaust

The Fast Intentions TDX Catback Exhaust strikes an ideal balance between affordability and better performance. The 2.5” piping sports an X-pipe design to boost low-end torque while optimizing exhaust flow for better top-end power. The exhaust note is a noticeable difference compared to the stock exhaust, creating a deeper, smoother, more exciting note under acceleration. For Z owners looking for a budget-friendly exhaust upgrade, the Fast Intentions TDX Catback Exhaust hits the sweet spot! 

Is Upgrading Your Nissan Z’s Exhaust Worth It?

Benefits Of A Performance Exhaust For Turbocharged Cars

Exhaust systems play a critical role in turbocharged vehicles like the Nissan Z. The stock exhaust introduces restrictions that hamper turbo boost. Upgrading to a performance exhaust system with mandrel-bent tubing and high-flow mufflers greatly reduces back pressure. This allows the turbo to spool up faster, delivering boost more quickly when you put your foot down. Reduced backpressure also helps the engine breathe better at high rpm, unlocking more peak horsepower up top.

How Much Power Does An Exhaust Add To A ZR34?

Bolting on an aftermarket Catback or full turbo-back exhaust can unleash serious extra muscle from your Nissan Z's VR30DDETT engine. Reduced backpressure and improved airflow result in nice bumps in both horsepower and torque across the rpm range. Many Z owners see gains of 15-30 hp at the wheels after installing a Catback exhaust. Going for a full turbo-back system with high-flow catalytic converters can unlock even bigger power gains. This extra grunt makes accelerating, passing, and high-performance driving noticeably more exciting.

Improve Your Nissan Z’s Exhaust Note

While the performance benefits are great, one of the best parts of installing an aftermarket exhaust on your Z is the improved sound. The right exhaust system enhances the engine's natural melody to create a deeper, richer exhaust note. It adds a bit of auditory drama to match the Z's sports car mission. When driving in sport mode you'll enjoy burbles and pops on deceleration and a roar under hard acceleration. Installing an exhaust designed specifically for the 2023 Z ensures maximum aural pleasure from Nissan's fresh dynamic duo.

What Kind Of Exhausts Are Available For The Nissan Z?

Catback Exhaust Systems

The most popular option is a catback exhaust system, which replaces everything from the catalytic converters back. Catback systems include the exhaust pipes, mufflers, and tips. This allows you to get the performance and sound benefits of an aftermarket system while keeping the stock catalytic converters and head pipes. Catback exhausts are easier to install than full systems.

Axle-Back Exhaust Systems

Axle-back exhausts are even simpler, replacing just the pipes and mufflers from the rear axle back. Axle-backs offer some added sound over stock but don't provide as much of a performance boost. They are the most affordable option but catback systems give you more bang for your buck.

How To Install Your Nissan Z Exhaust

Tools Needed for Installation

  • Jack stands or lift
  • Basic socket set with ratchet
  • Set of wrenches
  • Pry bars
  • Penetrating oil or lubricant spray
  • Gaskets, clamps, and hardware included with your exhaust
  • Eye protection
  • Work gloves

How To Maintain Your Nissan Z's Exhaust System

Nissan Z with Z1 Motorsports Exhaust Installed

Routine Maintenance Tips

Keep your Z exhaust in top shape by periodically inspecting hangers and clamps for damage or looseness. Check piping and tips for dents, scrapes, or corrosion. Clean the exhaust tips regularly with metal polish to maintain their shine.

Signs of Wear and Tear

Watch for rattling noises, exhaust leaks, or the smell of exhaust fumes in the cabin - these can indicate issues with clamps, gaskets, or piping damage. If you notice power loss, that may point to clogged catalytic converters. Uneven exhaust tip blackening can mean flow problems.


Other Nissan Z Supporting Mods

Modified Black Nissan Z on Dyno

Complement your new Nissan Z exhaust upgrade with these other beneficial performance modifications for big all-around gains.


A set of aftermarket coilovers allows lowering your Z for an even sharper sports car stance. Quality adjustable coilover kits from brands like BC Racing and HKS let you customize ride height and dial-in damping to perfection. Lowering your center of gravity down an inch or two improves handling dynamics. The ability to eliminate wheel gap gives your Z a much more aggressive visual profile as well. Just make sure to get coilovers engineered specifically for the Z's suspension geometry. Overall, coilovers and a new exhaust system are a match made in tuning heaven.

Cold Air Intakes

Bolting on an aftermarket cold air intake is a great way to improve engine power in synergy with your new free-flowing exhaust. A larger diameter intake tube paired with a high-flow conical or cylindrical air filter allows the Z's turbocharged engine to gulp down more air. This extra oxygen when combined with the improved exhaust flow makes for a perfect recipe for boosted horsepower and torque. Look for intakes using heat-resistant materials and shielding to isolate the filter from engine bay heat soak. The induction sounds from a cold air intake match nicely with an upgraded exhaust as well.


If you want to maximize the potential horsepower gains of your new catback exhaust, consider pairing it with less restrictive downpipes. Many Nissan Z owners install high-flow downpipes with upgraded low-restriction catalytic converters in place of the restrictive factory downpipe. This reduces exhaust backpressure for excellent top-end pull when combined with a Catback exhaust. Just be aware, that a downpipe upgrade may require retuning the ECU. Downpipes also increase exhaust volume, so only go this route if you are ready for a very loud exhaust set-up. The one-two punch of downpipes and a catback exhaust truly unlock the Z's full power.

Any well-engineered intake, downpipe, or coilover upgrade complements and works synergistically with your new Nissan Z exhaust system. Think about your priorities for power, handling, and appearance to select the best-supporting modifications. With the right combination of bolt-ons, you can transform your Z into a finely tuned sports car.

OverRev’s Nissan RZ34 Catback Exhaust Guide

We hope this guide to choosing the best Nissan Z exhaust provided helpful insights. A quality Catback or axle-back system offers one of the simplest yet most rewarding upgrades for your Z. Matching your priorities for sound, performance, and budget will lead you to the ideal exhaust. Be sure to also check out our upcoming guides covering coilovers, intakes, downpipes, and more ways to get the most from your Z!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Signs of a Bad Exhaust System?

Listen for rattling, droning, or loud metallic vibration noises which can indicate issues like cracked hangers, loose components, or interior heat damage. Also watch for exhaust leaks, severe corrosion, missing or damaged gaskets, and loss of power which signals problems.

Is Upgrading My Nissan Z Exhaust Worth It?

Absolutely - an aftermarket exhaust is one of the best bang-for-buck upgrades. You'll enjoy improvements in horsepower, torque, and the engine sound profile. Just be sure to pick the right system based on your budget and preferences.

How Can I Make My Exhaust Sound Better?

The easiest way is installing an aftermarket Catback or axle-back exhaust system designed to enhance the Z's stock exhaust note. Features like stainless piping, X-pipes, and free-flowing mufflers all contribute to better sound.

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