Finally. Nissan has a replacement in the works for the charming, but aging 370Z. Meet the Z Proto, a preview of the next-generation Z car. This just rocketed to the top of the list of cars we can't wait to drive.
We're not sold on the blocky front grille, but the rest of the Z Proto is undeniably handsome. There's a lot of the original 240Z in there, from the shark nose, to its long fastback roofline. Around back, shades of the Z32-generation 300ZX are present, especially with the blacked-out fascia panel and oval taillights.
"Our designers made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success," Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa said in a statement. "Ultimately, we decided the Z Proto should travel between the decades, including the future."
One of the coolest throwback details are the headlights. They were inspired by the Japan-only 240ZG, which had unique glass-covered front lights, which weren't available anywhere else. The daytime running lights of the Z Proto are meant to evoke the reflections on the glass covers of the 240ZG.
The Z Proto is longer than the outgoing 370Z (172.5 in vs 167.5 in), and ever so slightly wider (72.8 in vs 72.6 in), but also a touch shorter (51.6 in vs 51.8 in). Despite the similar dimensions, the Z Proto looks altogether more taut than the 370Z. A contributing factor is the height at the trailing edge of the car, which is lower than the front fender, as in the original 240Z.
Inside, the Z Proto appears to be a simple freshening of the 370Z's interior, with a lot of carryover switchgear joined by a new digital gauge cluster and infotainment system. Interestingly, there's a boost gauge and a turbine-speed gauge on the dashboard, too.
Oh, about that. This isn't just a regular Z—this is a Turbo Z. Power comes from Infiniti's now familiar 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, which makes 300 to 400 horsepower depending on its application. Nissan didn't say how much power the engine will make here, but did note in its press release that each Z was more powerful than the last. So figure more than the the 332 hp the 370Z makes from its naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6. More important than any power increase is a standard six-speed manual transmission. An automatic will be available, but a Z car deserves a manual. Praise Mr. K.
"The Z has always been a strong dynamic performer, making it easy for customers to enjoy its capabilities and feel as connected as possible to the car," said chief engineer Hiroshi Tamura in a statement. "This has been true through all its generations, and this is what drives our passion to innovate and challenge the norm."
Of course, the new Z will be rear-wheel drive, but Nissan is quiet about tech details of its new sports car. The only thing it announced is tire size—255/40R19 up front, 285/35R19 in the rear.
The Z Proto is, essentially, a concept car, but it looks pretty close to production ready. Which is good because we've been wanting a new Z car for a long time. Let's hope this one lives up to the name.
You Might Also Like