The current Nissan 370Z has been around since 2009, ancient in car years. But the company has finally gotten back to the drawing board, and today we get our first look at the long-awaited successor to the 370 – or at least an early version of it. The Nissan Z Proto may not be available for purchase yet (the name “Proto” means “prototype”), but it does offer an early glimpse of expectations for the production model.
Many of the details you see here – things like the retro styling, updated interior, and the twin-turbo V6 – should find their way into production when the new Nissan Z finally hits the market. We expect Nissan’s new sports car to officially go on sale sometime next year. For now, all we can do is think about this very pretty preview of what̵
Power: twin turbo power
The heart of the Nissan Z Proto is a V6 engine with two turbochargers. However, since this is still a concept, things like displacement and actual power numbers remain a mystery. However, if this is the same engine as the Infiniti Red Sport models, expect over 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts) from the new Z.
That number would be a big improvement over the current 370Z, which puts out 332 hp (248 kW). Not only that, but it would give the Nissan Z a significant boost in this segment and give it a boost over competitors like Toyota Supra – which makes comparable 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 twin-turbo V6 is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, and all of this previously unknown power is transferred solely to the rear wheels. Nissan says an automatic transmission is also in development.
Outside: retro chic
The appearance of the Nissan Z Proto respects its legendary ancestors. The bright yellow pearlescent paintwork is a subtle nod to the first-generation 240, while the elongated bonnet, rounded LED headlights and square grille mix the keywords of other Z-vehicles. There’s even a “Fairlady Z” badge on the trunk.
The back of the Z Proto might be the most appealing nook, however, with a black partition that runs the length of the trunk lid and over the rear fenders, hiding horizontal LED taillights underneath. This particular design is directly inspired by the 300ZX from 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 wheels, and the rear end is rounded off by a pair of exhaust tips.
In terms of size, the Nissan Z Proto is actually slightly larger than the current 370Z, especially in length. The new Z is 172.5 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and 51.6 inches tall. The 370Z is now only 167.5 inches long, 72.6 inches wide and 51.8 inches tall.
Interior: clean and modern
The inside of the Nissan Z Proto isn’t as retro on the outside as the outside, but it offers a clean, multi-screen layout. In the heart of the cabin is a so-called three-spoke steering wheel “Deep Dish” with the “Z” logo and several controls on both sides.
The seats have a mixture of Alcantara and leather with yellow stitching that can be transferred to the steering wheel, the gear knob and the center console. And like its predecessor, the Nissan Z Proto only has two seats.
Tech-wise, just behind the steering wheel, there’s a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that replaces the 370Z’s obsolete analog displays. There’s also a brand new touchscreen display – if it’s the same screen as the new Rogue, it should be 9.0 inches – with Nissan’s latest infotainment system and three rounded displays just above the central screen on the dash.
Prices and availability
The Nissan Z Proto is just a concept, but we’re assuming the production version will come out later next year as the 2022 model and incorporate many of the clues shown here – including the dual-turbo V6 engine. More details like horsepower and the car’s starting price will be revealed closer to the sale date, but it could start around $ 40,000 and undercut its Japanese rival the Toyota Supra a little.