The current Nissan 370Z has been around since 2009, older in the automotive years. But the company has finally returned to the drawing board, and today we get our first glimpse of the long-awaited successor to the 370 – or at least, an early version of it. The Nissan Z Proto may not yet be available for purchase (the name “Proto” means “prototype”), but it gives a first glimpse of what to expect from the production model.
A lot of the details you see here – things like the retro styling, modernized interior, and the twin-turbocharged V6 – should all make their way to production when the new Nissan Z finally hits the market. We expect Nissan’s new sports car to officially go on sale next year. For now, all we can do is check out this really nice preview of what’s to come.
Performance: Twin-Turbo Power
At the heart of the Nissan Z Proto is a twin-turbocharged V6 engine. Since it’s still a concept, things like displacement and actual power numbers remain a mystery. But if this is the same engine from the Infiniti Red Sport models, as noted, expect over 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) from the new Z.
That figure would mark a big upgrade from the current 370Z, which produces 332 hp (248 kW). Not only that, but it would give the Nissan Z a significant boost in the segment, placing it more squarely against rivals like Toyota Supra – which produces a comparable output of 382 hp (285 kW) – as well as more powerful options like the Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro SS, among others.
The Z Proto’s new biturbo V6 is mated to a six-speed manual transmission, and all that as yet unknown power shifts exclusively to the rear wheels. Nissan says an automatic transmission is also in development.
Exterior: Retro Chic
The look of the Nissan Z Proto pays homage to its iconic ancestors. The bright pearl yellow paint job is a subtle nod to the first-gen 240, while the elongated hood, rounded LED headlights and square grille blend elements of other Z cars. There’s even a “Fairlady Z” badge on the trunk.
The rear of the Z Proto, however, might be its most attractive angle, with a black bulkhead stretching the length of the trunk lid and across the rear fenders, hiding the horizontal LED taillights below. This design piece is directly inspired by the 300ZX of the 90s.
But it’s not all retro. Modern carbon fiber elements spice up the exterior, from the side skirts to the front lower lip to the rear diffuser. The body itself sits on a set of lightweight 19-inch alloy rims and the rear is topped with a pair of exhaust tips.
In terms of size, the Nissan Z Proto is actually a bit taller than the current 370Z, especially in length. The new Z expands to 172.5 inches in length, 72.8 inches in width, and 51.6 inches in height. The 370Z, meanwhile, is only 167.5 inches long, 72.6 inches wide, and 51.8 inches tall.
Interior: clean and modern
The interior of the Nissan Z Proto isn’t as outwardly retro as the exterior, but it does offer a clean layout with multiple screens. At the heart of the cabin is a three-spoke “deep-flat” steering wheel bearing the “Z” logo and featuring multiple controls on each side.
The seats wear a mix of Alcantara and leather, with yellow stitching that carries over to the steering wheel, shift knob trunk, and center console. And like its predecessor, the Nissan Z Proto only has two seats.
In terms of technology, right behind the wheel is a new 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, which replaces the obsolete analog gauges on the 370Z. There’s also an all-new touchscreen – if it’s the same screen as the new Rogue, it should be 9.0 inches – running Nissan’s latest infotainment system and three rounded indicators just above it. of this central screen, at the top of the dashboard.
Price and availability
The Nissan Z Proto is just a concept, but we expect the production version to appear later next year as a 2022 model, sporting many of the cues you see here – including this engine. Twin-turbocharged V6. More details like the car’s horsepower and starting price will be revealed closer to its on-sale date, but it could start around $ 40,000, somewhat undercutting its Japanese rival, the Toyota Supra.