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Nissan News: Nissan Z Proto Shows What's In Store


William Maley

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You would think that Nissan has forgotten about the 370Z, considering not much has been done to it in some time. But the Japanese automaker wants to make it clear they haven't forgotten about their sports car. They have been quietly working on the next-generation model.

Last night, Nissan introduced the Z Proto which is a thinly-veiled concept of the next-generation model, possibly named 400Z due out within the next few years.

You will instantly recognize the Z Proto as being part of the Z family. Nissan's designers draw quite heavily from the original 240Z up front as evidenced by the hood, teardrop-shaped LED headlamps (only available on Japanese-market 240), and square lower grille. The side profile also has another nod to the 240Z with the cabin pushed far back. In the back, echoes of the 90's 300ZX with a sloping roofline and rear light treatment.

The interior looks production ready with a digital gauge cluster, dished steering wheel, sport seats with yellow contrasts, and a six-speed manual. The only callback to older Z models is a three-gauge binnacle sitting on top of the dash.

Nissan is keeping mum on the two important parts of the Z Proto - engine and chassis. On the former, Nissan says the concept uses a twin-turbo V6 - possibly being the 3.0L used in the Q50 and Q60. This engine produces either 300 or 400 horsepower depending on the version. We may see a smaller engine option being available on the production model.

According to Nissan, "work is now underway to synchronize the power with the grace and control that has defined the Z for the past 50 years." Hopefully, more details begin to spill out before its debut.

 

Source: Nissan
Press Release is on Page 2


New Nissan Z Proto looks to the future, inspired by its past

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The new Z is coming.

Nissan has unveiled the Z Proto, signalling the company's intent to launch a new generation of the legendary Z sports car. Shown at an event beamed around the world from the Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan, the prototype features new design inside and out, as well as an upgraded powertrain with a manual transmission.

In Franklin, just south of Nashville, hundreds of Z owners and enthusiasts watched the Z Proto's Yokohama debut on big screens from their vehicles in a socially distanced event– part of a weeklong schedule of activities during the 33rd annual International Z Convention (ZCON).

First hinted at in a brand teaser video, "Nissan A-Z," shown in May, the Nissan Z Proto pays full respect to 50 years of Z heritage. At the same time, it's a thoroughly modern sports car.

"The Z represents the joy of driving in its purest form and has helped shape Nissan's DNA as a passionate, innovative challenger," said Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida. "Ever since the first generation, it has captured the hearts of car enthusiasts all over the world. That's why we're so excited today to be able to say to them: Yes, the next one is coming!"

Z Proto is one of 10 new vehicles that Nissan is showing for the U.S. in 20 months, along with top-sellers like Sentra and Rogue, and innovative new models like the all-electric Ariya crossover.

"The United States is home to one of the most devoted and enthusiastic Z communities in the world, with nearly 1.35 million total sales over the model's 50-year history," said Mike Colleran, senior vice president, Nissan U.S. Marketing and Sales. "With new models like Sentra and Rogue opening new eyes to our brand, Z Proto is our loudest statement yet that Nissan will continue to bring vehicles that thrill to U.S. showrooms."

Z Proto exterior: past meets future
Sporting a bright yellow pearlescent paint – a tribute to a popular paint scheme on both the first-generation 240Z and the 300ZX – the Z Proto boasts a fresh, attractive exterior design with a silhouette that communicates respect to the original model.

Using a theme that combines elements of previous generations while also projecting futurism was challenging, said Alfonso Albaisa, head of design at Nissan.

"Our designers made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success," Albaisa said. "Ultimately, we decided the Z Proto should travel between the decades, including the future."

The shape of the hood and the canted, teardrop-shaped LED headlights are both unmistakable reminders of the original Z. The rectangular grille dimensions are similar to the current model, although the grille fins nod to the past. The form continues to exude both sportiness and elegance.

"The LED headlights have two half-circles that hark back to the Japan market-only 240ZG of the 70s," Albaisa explained. "The ZG has clear dome lenses over the headlight buckets, which under light give off two circular reflections over each headlight. We liked that unique characteristic and discovered that it naturally fit with the Z's identity."

The link to the original Z is most striking when viewing the Z Proto from the side. The roofline flows from the nose to the squared-off rear to create a distinctive first-generation Z profile whose rear edge was slightly lower than the front fender height giving the Z its unique posture. The signature transition from the rear quarter glass to the low-slung position of the rear tail adds to the effect.

The rear takes inspiration from the 300ZX taillights, reinterpreted for the modern world. Set within a rectangular black section that runs across the rear and wraps around the outer edges, the LED taillights convey a sharp glow.

Lightweight carbon fiber treatments on the side skirts, front lower lip and rear valance ensure nimble performance. 19-inch alloy wheels and dual exhausts complete the Z Proto's striking road presence.

Z Proto interior: modern tech with a vintage touch
Designed to fit driver and passenger like a glove, the Z Proto's cabin seamlessly blends modern technology with vintage Z touches.

The interior design team sought advice from professional motorsports legends to give the Z Proto an ideal sports car cabin, both for road and track. This can be seen in the Z's instrumentation. All vital information is found in the 12.3-inch digital meter display and arranged to help the driver grasp it at a glance, such as the redline shift point at the twelve o-clock position.

The new, deep dish steering wheel offers the driver quick access controls without losing its vintage aesthetic.

Yellow accents are found throughout the cabin, including stitching on the instrument panel. The seats feature special accent piping and layered seat material to create depth.

Sports car joy: an exhilarating, dynamic performer
The original Z was built to bring the joy and excitement of sports car ownership to as many people as possible.

"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 Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist of the Z Proto. "This has been true through all its generations, and this is what drives our passion to innovate and challenge the norm."

Each new generation had a more powerful engine, although the Z is about more than power increases.

"Z is more than just powerful and agile," Tamura continued. "It is designed to create a connection with the driver, for the car to be a 'dance partner' for their on-road adventures."

Make no mistake though, the Z Proto packs a powerful punch. Under the elongated hood is an enhanced V6 twin-turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. As a prototype, work is now underway to synchronize the power with the grace and control that has defined the Z for the past 50 years.

"Nissan is transforming its business," said Uchida. "This summer, we unveiled the ground breaking all-electric Nissan Ariya crossover, which represents the future of mobility. Even as we open this new chapter, the Z, its heritage and passion, express who we are and has been shaping our DNA for over fifty years."

Nissan Z Proto Specifications

Z Proto specifications*

Engine

V6 twin turbo

Transmission

6-speed manual
(an automatic option is also in development)

Length

172.5 inches

Width

72.8 inches

Height

51.6 inches

Wheel and tire size

Front: 255/40R19
Rear: 285/35R19


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Cool as heck.  Only Asian vehicle I've owned so far was an '86 Hardbody, and it was a tough little hombre mechanically, too bad it bloomed with rust spread exponentially from stone chips on the hood and lower body.

Any Nissan without their sorry version of a CVT is a good Nissan in my book.

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The big rectangle looks stupid, the rest of the car looks fine, nothing bad but nothing really striking or exciting either.  Other problem is the GT-R is the halo car at Nissan, the Z is like the 2nd tier.  At a time when sports coupes aren’t selling, I don’t know if they did enough to make this sell.  The Infiniti Q60 coupe looks better and probably will have the same price as the Z.

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On 9/16/2020 at 8:40 PM, balthazar said:

A blunt rectangular grille on an otherwise 'swoopy' design always looks like a drunken mistake.

Drunken was the Miata that fornicated with a cardboard box to make this atrocity. Hard pass. And this from our resident sport compact guy. 

On 9/18/2020 at 9:11 AM, daves87rs said:

Nothing crazy looking, but it really doesn’t look like too much either. Maybe I need more photos.......

Or more tequila until it looks good. 

On 9/17/2020 at 8:42 AM, ykX said:

Manual transmission is confirmed.

Lipstick on a pig. 

On 9/17/2020 at 7:18 AM, ykX said:

I am not loving it but neither hating it, it is kind of cool but something is missing for me.

In any case would take it over the Supra without any doubt.

See, I actually sort of like the supra. Would take a Mustang GT over the supra though. 

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2 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

And this looks nothing like the slab-sided 350Z....

Honestly outside of the passable but forgettable Maxima and the reliable but dull and dated Frontier Nissan has completely lost its mojo.

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2 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Honestly outside of the passable but forgettable Maxima and the reliable but dull and dated Frontier Nissan has completely lost its mojo.

I remember when Nissan had a variety of fun cars available, with manuals, and no CVTs...they used to have a lot of good stuff, IMO..

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1 minute ago, Robert Hall said:

I remember when Nissan had a variety of fun cars available, with manuals, and no CVTs...they used to have a lot of good stuff, IMO..

So true, they USED TO HAVE some good stuff, sadly, those days seem to be forgotten by the current executive team.

I get where the Grill is coming from on this concept, but today this is really just seems retro weird on a 21st century auto. Just DOES NOT WORK for me IMHO.

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9 minutes ago, David said:

So true, they USED TO HAVE some good stuff, sadly, those days seem to be forgotten by the current executive team.

I get where the Grill is coming from on this concept, but today this is really just seems retro weird on a 21st century auto. Just DOES NOT WORK for me IMHO.

image.png

Maybe when that Miata got it on with the cardboard box it was a three way with a vacuum cleaner. That thing looks like it belongs on a shop vac.

Maybe this thing could suck up sawdust off my wood shop floor... because I would be to embarrassed to take it autocrossing.

The original Z car is gorgeous. 

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4 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Maybe when that Miata got it on with the cardboard box it was a three way with a vacuum cleaner. That thing looks like it belongs on a shop vac.

Maybe this thing could suck up sawdust off my wood shop floor... because I would be to embarrassed to take it autocrossing.

The original Z car is gorgeous. 

True, Hoovers can SUCK well! :P 

Agree, that the original Z that started this is still a looker to this day! :metal:

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