Nissan unveiled a new concept of the iconic Z series - the Z Proto, at a virtual event this week. The introduction of Z Proto in the global market indicates the company's intent to launch a new generation of the legendary Z sports car. The prototype car features a new design inside and out as well as a V-6 twin turbocharged engine with a manual transmission.
First hinted in a video named "Nissan A-Z" in May, the Nissan Z Proto pays full respect to 50 years of Z heritage being a thoroughly modern sports car.
Penned and developed by the design team in Japan, the Z Proto boasts a fresh, attractive exterior design with a silhouette that communicates respect for the original model. It sports a bright yellow pearlescent paint - a tribute to a popular paint scheme on both the first-generation Z (S30) and the 300ZX (Z32) - with a black roof.
Head of Design at Nissan - Alfonso Albaisa, found the combination of a retro and futuristic theme to be challenging. "Our designers made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success. Ultimately, we decided the Z Proto should travel between the decades, including the future," stated Albaisa in a press release.
The shape of the hood and the canted, teardrop-shaped LED headlights are both unmistakable reminders of the original Z. The rectangular grille's dimensions are similar to the current model with the addition of oval grille fins to offer an updated modern look. The form continues to exude both sportiness and elegance.
"The LED headlights have two half-circles that hark back to the Japan market-only 240ZG of the 70s," Albaisa explained. "The ZG has clear dome lenses over the headlight buckets, which, under light, give off two circular reflections over each headlight. We liked that unique characteristic and discovered that it naturally fit with the Z's identity."
The resemblance of Z Proto to the original Z best reflects from the side. The roofline flows from the nose to the squared-off rear to create a distinctive first-generation Z profile whose rear edge was slightly lower than the front fender height giving the Z its unique posture. The signature transition from the rear quarter glass to the low-slung position of the rear tail adds to the effect.
The rear takes inspiration from the 300ZX (Z32) taillights, reinterpreted for the modern world. Set within a rectangular black section that runs across the rear and wraps around the outer edges, the LED taillights convey a sharp glow.
Lightweight carbon fibre treatments on the side skirts, front lower lip, and rear valance ensure nimble performance. Its 19-inch alloy wheels and dual exhausts complete the Z Proto's striking road presence.
Designed to fit driver and passenger like a glove, the Z Proto's cabin seamlessly blends modern technology with vintage Z touches. The dashboard is equipped with a 12.3-inch digital meter display to meet the driver's and passenger's infotainment needs. It is also fitted with a new dish steering wheel that offers the driver quick access controls without losing its vintage aesthetic.
Yellow accents can be found throughout the cabin, including stitching on the instrument panel. The seats feature special yellow accenting and a layered gradation stripe in the centre of the seats.
The original Z was built to bring the joy and excitement of sports car ownership to as many people as possible.
Each new generation had a more powerful engine, although the Z is about more than power increases.
However, the Z Proto packs a robust power train; under the hood rests an enhanced V-6 twin-turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. As a prototype, work is now underway on synchronizing the power with the grace and control that has defined the Z for the past 50 years.