Like it or not, the prototype is nearly production-ready.
It had been rumored to be in development for months and yet, despite spy shots, Nissan refused to comment on the future status of its famed Z car. That question was finally answered last month when the Z Proto concept was unveiled. Likely to be called the Nissan 400Z when it reaches production in the relatively near future, the design has mostly been well-received, though there are some who felt otherwise. However, they're going to have to accept it.
Speaking to Japan's Best Car, Nissan's chief product specialist, Hiroshi Tamura, confirmed the concept's design is literally production-ready. "It will come out in this form," he said without elaborating.
He did reiterate that like all past Z cars, this latest one will once again be offered at a "buyable price." Judging by the Z Proto itself inside and out, it's pretty clear Nissan has no intention of changing much. For example, concept vehicles typically feature ultra-narrow and sleek side mirrors that don't meet federal regulations for a number of reasons. The Z Proto's side mirrors, however, are big enough to meet all necessary standards.
There could be a few additional tweaks to areas such as the side skirts and front grille design, again due to safety regulations, but everything else will remain the same. It's also important to note the Z Proto is widely believed to be based on an updated version of the platform underpinning the outgoing Nissan 370Z.
Despite being 12 years old, Nissan says this rear-wheel-drive setup apparently still works. Further proof of this is the fact the new Z car won't offer a hybrid powertrain. Instead, a twin-turbocharged V6 paired with a six-speed manual is found under the hood. From an engineering standpoint, swapping out the 370Z's naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 for that twin-turbo V6 won't be difficult.
A completely new platform would have been required to support hybrid mechanicals and Nissan, unfortunately, is not in the financial position to do this.