Nissan reveals its new and deliciously retro Z Proto
Nissan on Wednesday unveiled pre-production renderings of its hotly anticipated Z Proto sports coupé. Designed to replace the aged 370Z that has been with us since 2009, the aesthetics of the all-new Z Proto give a clear stylistic nod to the original 240Z that caused a stir back in the early 1970s and the more advanced 300ZX from the 1990s.
"Combining a retro theme with one that also projected 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."
We at TimesLIVE Motoring think the Z Proto manages this feat particularly well, especially in the way it references the iconic 240Z with that long bonnet and unashamedly flat and sloping roof line. There's also a wraparound windscreen and canted teardrop-shaped LED headlights with two half-circles that hark back to the JDM-only 240ZG.
Swing around to the rear of the car and you'll find taillights inspired by those on the old 300ZX (Z32). Reinterpreted for the modern world and set within a rectangular black section that runs the entire rear breadth of the vehicle, these eye-catching units also feature LED technology to impart a bold glow when the sun sinks below the horizon.
Finishing things off are carbon fibre treatments on the side skirts, front lower lip and rear valance. 19-inch wheels and dual exhausts complete the Z Proto's road presence.
The cabin is classic Z car, meaning everything is positioned around the driver for quick and easy referencing whether on the road or at the track. The instrument cluster sports a simple-to-read 12.3-inch digital meter display, which includes a tachometer with its redline set to the 12 o-clock position. As to be expected, Nissan also mounted three round auxiliary dials on the top of the dashboard - yet another hat tip to the Z Proto's predecessors. Switchgear is minimal and you even score a proper manual handbrake.
While Nissan hasn't made mention of power or performance figures, we can tell you the Z Proto will be powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 motor similar to the one currently doing duty in the JDM version of the Nissan Skyline. So expect it to be rapid. In keeping with its retro design cues, the Z Proto will from launch only be offered with a six-speed manual transmission - a feature sure to delight old-school driving purists.
Something of a work in progress, Nissan is yet to announce when the final production ready Z Proto will be released and when - or if - it will come to SA. We really hope it does.