While sales have tapered off to a trickle, the company isn't ready to give up on the iconic Z auto. Instead, they're previewing the next-generation model with the retro-inspired Z Proto. The Z Proto doesn't recreate those precisely but departs dramatically from the current 370Z in sporting a set of LED teardrops that serve as a modern interpretation of classic Z lamps.
The interior is the main giveaway that Nissan's upcoming Z vehicle could pretty much be identical to the Z Proto - with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a new (but inspired by classic Zs) steering wheel, and a central touchscreen command center that sits beneath a trio of analogue gauges.
Penned and developed by the design team in Japan, the Z Proto features teardrop-shaped LED headlights with dual curved LED DRLs per side. This is a nod to the original 240Z (or more specifically, the circular reflections on the 240Z's headlights), and between them is an upright, rectangular radiator grille with oval fins, the dimensions of which are apparently similar to the outgoing 370Z.
Its cab rearwards profile is distinctly Z. The roofline flows from the nose to the squared off rear end, a look very much reminiscent of the original Z. This is further amplified by how the rear quarter glass transitions into the tailgate.
According to Nissan's head of design, Alfonso Albaisa, "Our designers made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success". Hopefully Nissan massages that away in the production variant because it's the one major negative to nitpick on an otherwise brilliant retro-modern design. Carbon fiber also finds its way around the side skirts and front lip. (1,311 mm) tall, while the latter, in its Nismo guise is just 170.47 inches (4,330 mm) long. This makes the model 5 inches longer, 0.2 inches (5 mm) wider and 0.2 inches (5 mm) shorter than the 370Z. Yellow accent stitching and piping ties in with the bright yellow pearlescent exterior paint, chosen as a tribute to the popular color choice of first-gen 240Z and 300ZX models.
The company also confirmed the auto is powered by a twin-turbo V6 engine which is connected to a six-speed manual transmission.
While not much else has been confirmed, in the live stream revealing the auto overnight, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida did assure fans that "the Nissan Z Proto you see here is not a concept".
While the exterior has a retro vibe, the cabin is thoroughly modern as it features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a modern infotainment system.
Yes, it's a six-speed manual gearbox! Nissan wasn't ready to talk numbers, but pointed out each new Z has had more power than its predecessor.