Half a century of Nissan Z cars begins its new chapter.
Months have passed since Nissan first teased a new-generation Z car to replace the aging 370Z in its lineup. Following this, the brand announced that the Nissan Z Proto, a prototype of the future 400Z car, would be shown as a preview of the real deal, and here it is.
Unveiled at the Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan, the Z Proto stays true to the various teasers that have been shown over the last few weeks. The car is the latest chapter in 50 years of the Nissan Z car, with US sales of close to 1.35 million units spread across legends like the 240Z and 300ZX.
The Z Proto is painted here in a bright yellow pearlescent paint, which harks back to the paint scheme seen on the aforementioned classics. Noticeable styling cues include the teardrop-shaped LED headlights, the rectangular grille, and the taillights which draw inspiration from the 300ZX. The profile is unmistakably Nissan Z car.
Other sporty adornments include 19-inch alloy wheels, dual exhausts, and carbon fiber trim like the side skirts and front lower lip. Dimensionally, the new Z Proto is five inches longer than the 370Z, just 0.2 inches wider, and another 0.2 inches lower.
It's a successful amalgamation of past Z cars with modern detailing. "We decided the Z Proto should travel between the decades, including the future," said Alfonso Albaisa, who heads up design at Nissan.
The same approach was taken with the snug, two-seater cabin, blending a modern 12.3-inch digital instrument display with what Nissan describes as vintage Z touches. Yellow accents are dotted around the interior and the steering wheel houses key controls for quick adjustments on the move.
Under the hood is a twin-turbocharged V6 engine paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. Nissan says that an automatic transmission is being developed, too.
Nissan didn't confirm power outputs or performance, but it already has an engine like this within its stable, used in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60. We still anticipate an output in the region of 400 horsepower.
Mike Colleran, senior vice president at Nissan US Marketing and Sales, was upbeat about the potential of the future Z car. "Z Proto is our loudest statement yet that Nissan will continue to bring vehicles that thrill to US showrooms," he said.
The Z Proto is one of ten new Nissans that the brand will be unveiling over a 20-month period. With all credit to the Ariya EV and the Sentra, the Z Proto is the new Nissan we're most excited about meeting - although it may only be in 2023 when that happens.