Before you were supposed to see it.
Since getting our first glimpse at the Z Proto concept late last year, we've wondered what the production Nissan 400Z would look like. Nissan promised that the final design would look like the concept, which is great news because the Z Proto is a cool-looking car. Various leaks point to the production car using the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine from the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 Red Sport, likely producing 444 horsepower.
Now, thanks to another leak, we may have a better idea of what the production 400Z (a tentative name) will look like. These photos, posted on NewNissanZ.com, show what appears to be a production-ready prototype for the new Z sports car. This may be the same grey color spotted in the back of an official Nissan video.
These leaked images from Nissan's Tochigi Plant in Japan show us a lot about the new Z we didn't know before. For starters, this grey example features an automatic transmission, not the six-speed manual shown on the Z Proto. It's unclear what this automatic transmission will be, but we'll put our guess on a Jatco nine-speed.
The shifter appears to be a push-button unit, though it could also be an electronic shifter similar to the Rogue and the new Pathfinder. Of course, the transmission can also be controlled using the paddle shifters, which appear mounted on the steering wheel, not the column as in the 370Z.
New details on the exterior include black wheels rather than the bronze of the Z Proto, red brake calipers, more shadowy headlights, rear side marker lights, and a small rear lip spoiler. All of the "Nissan" and "Z" badges are covered up, but the "Fairlady Z" retro badge from the Z Proto is notably absent.
Seeing the car in this near-completed form gives us hope that an official production reveal is not far away. We may see the finished 400Z (or whatever Nissan decides to call it) by the end of 2021.