The New Nissan Z Proto Is Protectively Extremely What I Wanted: Old School


The illustration for the article titled New Nissan Z Proto is far more accurate than I wanted it to be: old school

Screenshot: Nissan

The Nissan Z Proto, an official precursor to an officially promised next Jay-Z car, is tilted and includes some features that I love. Namely a quiet, tall-looking body built around two auxiliary seats and an actual three-paddle manual transmission. So far, so good.

I imagine that what you want to do is on it, so see here:

Nissan Z Proto Virtual Walkaround

Nissan z proto

Photo: Nissan

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Photo: Nissan

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Photo: Nissan

I think it’s clear that the original 240Z was a strong piece of inspiration. The new car isn’t full-on retro, but it feels like a 2006 Mustang in that it feels equally old-school inspired but decidedly fresh.

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Photo: Nissan

The taillight and black plastic tail section are reminiscent of the Z32 300ZX, as suggested by the first teaser.

Nissan’s designers certainly got the silhouette right. I am moving from the fender to the pillar with the symbol on the side Z. However, there is a front end with an open mouth, I’m not sure how I’m feeling about it. It certainly sounds like a loud callback to the original car, but I can’t put my finger on how I would improve it. A little refinement will go a long way though, which is why I’m glad that this “proto” is still being marked as a work-in-progress.

I cannot say that I am blowing this car over the current 370Z, which still looks great after working long hours in service. But I am into major design elements in light and body.

Nissan z proto interior

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Photo: Nissan

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Photo: Nissan

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Photo: Nissan

The triple gauge pod on the dash is nice, and it looks like the tachometer is still central even though the main gauge cluster has gone digital. Nice steering wheel, too. Ok, we are generally satisfied with the cockpit form we can see here.

The main shapes, under the door leaves, look a lot like the 370Z.

Nissan Z Proto Specs

Holding off on any production promises, Nissan released a few specs for the Z Proto, which you can read here.

  • Engine: V6 Twin Turbo
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual (an automatic option will be “in development”)
  • Length: 172.5 inches (370Z 167.5)
  • Width: 72.8 inches (370Z 72.6)
  • Height: 51.6 inches (370Z 51.8)
  • Wheel and tire size: 255 / 40R19 front; 285/35 R19 Rear

There is no EV or hybrid technology, which I myself do not mind for this application, although I am sure others will feel differently.

The nearest is found in Nissan’s official literature to describe the power: “An enhanced V6 twin-turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.” Most commentators believe this means the next Z will run Nissan’s VR-series engines, which are currently being used in Infiniti vehicles and emit as 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.

There are also lower-output versions, so I think it’s reasonable to speculate that if there is a new Z it may have multiple power options for different price points.

Since Nissan is hedging very carefully, and is not guaranteeing us anything, there is not much to discuss in terms of driving dynamics or performance. However, of course, if it actually uses that old VR engine, then those who were expecting a new warm-up would have something to complain about.

It is more in my mind that, if technology has moved here and there, it will be cheaper to operate and it will be easier to survive. And 400 hp is plenty.

But, again, we don’t really know what it would be like to drive this car or if it is going to be built and sold in the end, massaging all over.

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Photo: Nissan

That said, I have to imagine that the automaker would not bother to fully develop this design and throw it out if it did not commit, at least in part, to a successor to today’s 370Z.

What happens One of my favorite cars At the moment, and what I catch about it, is why Carr often wrote: It’s dated.

The current Z, “Z34” as it is sometimes known, actually seems primitive compared to many other current-gen cars. Gauges that are not analog like an old calculator do not have much driver-assist features, and the drivetrain is a very common non-turbo V6 with rear wheel drive and an optional manual transmission.

In other words, it is a simple and mechanically practical sports car. A breed of vehicle that becomes rare every year. I love these things. The Z is also really pretty, which I wouldn’t say about the FR-S / BRZ / GT86 or ND Miata. Both good looking cars, but not … beautiful.

There is definitely an elegance to the Z Proto, even in the intensely warm yellow they decided to spray this one with.

With this, I have given my excerpt about this design exercise so now I am eager to read the comments at night time. I will leave you with the rest of the official photo gallery pixels tucked into a mini slideshow so that you don’t have to load a wall of jpegs if you don’t want to.

Peacock nissan z proto pictures

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