Nissan has kept its promise to deliver a new Z-car to loyal sports car followers of the brand.
Although the Japanese company has been mired in scandal and financial losses for much of 2020 it has not stalled development of the new Z Proto.
Nissan ‘Z Proto’ in the making
This striking new two-door sports car design is due to replace Nissan’s aging 370Z, which has been on sale since way back in 2009. Despite being a prototype product, the Z Proto has a great deal of design and componentry which will certainly make it to the eventual production version.
Nissan’s sports car heritage is important to the Japanese brand. Since the 1970s, it has been producing Z-cars, delivering a spirited driving solution for enthusiasts.
Modern interpretation of Z-car
Good things come to those who wait, and it had been more than a decade since Nissan has last done something notable in the performance car space. Both the company’s current high-performance vehicles, GT-R and 370Z, were launched in the late 2000s and have been kept relevant with small updates.
A new platform and redesign will have Nissan performance car fans holding out hope for the company’s future.
As a design, the Z Proto attempts to fuse many traditional Z-car styling elements within a modern interpretation. The tail lights and raked rear windscreen are a clear homage to some of Nissan’s earlier Z-cars.
The overall shape, profile and proportions are certainly striking and relatively original in their execution. Some details, such as the white lettering on those Dunlop high-performance tyres, might not make it past the production validation, from concept car to road-legal vehicle.
Gearing up manually
Mechanically, the Z Proto is powered by a twin-turbocharged three-litre V6 engine, although Nissan has not confirmed the exact sourcing or technical specification. The company’s 300ZX was also powered by a three-litre turbocharged V6.
In all likelihood, the three-litre V6 will be sourced from Nissan’s sub-brand, Infiniti, where it produces 298kW and 475Nm. Those outputs would give the Z Proto a marginal advantage over its main Japanese rival, Toyota’s Supra.
What is confirmed, is the presence of a six-speed manual gearbox. This will enthral true driving enthusiasts, as manual shifters are becoming a rarity in the sports car market.
The Z Proto is expected to become an “official” 400Z by 2021. A probable South African date of introduction would be in 2022.