After 11 years, Nissan has finally rolled out the next-generation Z, well, sort of. The Japanese automaker has unveiled the Z Proto, which gives is a clear idea of what the road-going version will look like. If anything, the Z Proto is essentially a thinly-veiled concept of the production car.
The Z Proto draws inspiration from two models from the past, namely the original Datsun 240Z and the Nissan 300ZX. Classic Z elements are at the front with its long hood, round LED daytime running lights, and the side profile of the coupe. Another retro touch is the Fairlady Z script on the tailgate, just like the 1969 model. The 300ZX cues are evident at the rear with the two-bar tail lights encased in a blacked-out panel.
Inside, there are even more retro touches with the hooded instrument cluster and the driver-oriented pods at the top of the dashboard. The Z Proto also defies trends with a mechanical handbrake. Enthusiasts will also be pleased that it comes with a manual transmission, and yes, the production model will be available with that six-speed transmission. After all, chief engineer Hiroshi Tamura said, “A sports car driver must have a manual”.
Now, for the juicy part: the engine. There are no specifics just yet, but the Z Proto is powered by a twin-turbo V6 mill, just like the 300ZX made from 1989 to 2001. With the current 370Z Nismo making 344 PS, we might be expecting about 400 PS for the next-gen Z. Rumors are also suggesting that the production Z Proto will be called the 400Z.
If it does have 400 PS, that means it will go up squarely against the Toyota Supra, and possibly even the 911 Carrera. The original 240Z was benchmarked against the original 911.
For now, Nissan isn't saying when the new Z will hit showrooms. That said, the Japanese automaker is excited to roll out the new sports coupe sooner than later. We're excited too, but we sure hope it won't take 11 years before it lands here in the Philippines.