The Nissan Z name brings back distant memories of Need For Speed when we loved driving the 350Z and the newer 370Z. After all, Nissan introduced the Z line-up as an affordable enthusiast car. The newly revealed Nissan Z Proto will be the successor of the now-aging 370Z and will be called the Nissan 400Z.
One look at the new Nissan Z Proto and there’s an unmistakable silhouette of the iconic 240Z. It is surprising how a modern car can be designed from the inspiration of such an old car. The front takes inspiration from the newer Z models. However, the total square front grille raises a mixed bag of emotions. The headlights and the long bonnet, on the other hand, are beautifully sculpted and a treat to the eye but can sometimes look like an Aston Martin. Nissan also says that the curved DRLs hint at the half-circle reflections seen on the cover to the 240Z. Nissan is definitely paying close attention to the heritage aspect of the new Z.
The rear end of the car is another story of its own. The overall design and the tail lamps remind us of the Z32 generation 300SX. This is a complete step away from the more rounded rear profiles we have seen in the last couple of the Z models. A blacked-out strip housing the tail lamp element also sports a Nissan logo at the center with backlight illumination. From other angles, the Nissan Z Proto also reminds us of other iconic cars like the 180SX, 240SX, and even the Silvia. The interior of the Nissan Z Proto is tech loaded and futuristic. It sports two displays – a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as well as a 9-inch infotainment screen. The interiors also look close to production-ready standards.
Coming back to the name – 400Z. Going by the history of the Z models one might expect the new Z to sport a 4.0-liter engine. But, the new Nissan Z Proto is expected to run on the 3.0-liter V6 VR30DDTT engine as seen in the Infiniti Q60 which produces 400hp. Nissan is changing the significance of the name and it might now nod to the power output instead of the engine displacement. Also, to the joy of many enthusiasts, the new Z will continue the manual tradition with a six-speed gearbox. An automatic option will probably be available too.
The new Z will go on sale in 2021 and will be rivaling the Toyota Supra as a budget performance-oriented car. This might also be the saving grace for Nissan with the multitude of problems it is facing including having the worst fiscal year from March 2019 to March 2020 with losses of $6.3 billion.
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