Automotive Nissan Z Proto Concept_trackside

Published on September 16th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Nissan Z Proto Concept Unveiled In Japan

Nissan has unveiled their all new ‘Z’ sports car at their brand new Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, Japan.

Bringing back memories of the true ‘Z’ sports car, this concept shows the world an almost 99 per cent production ready all new Nissan Z that has been missing from the Nissan portfolio.

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The last Nissan Z, the 370Z did well in America and Europe but was less popular in Asia and also Japan. Unlike its relative, the Skyline, the Nissan 350 and Nissan 370Z did not have a true JDM appeal and its value in the used car market is less than desirable.  

It is hoped that this new Nissan Z will bring back the popularity of ‘Z’ cars and have Nissan back in the limelight after the whole Ghosn issue. 

Nissan Z Proto Concept_steering

Press Release: Nissan Z Proto

First hinted at in a video named “Nissan A-Z” in May, the Nissan Z Proto pays full respect to 50 years of Z heritage. At the same time, it’s a thoroughly modern sports car.

“The Z, as a pure sports car, represents the spirit of Nissan,” said Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida. “It’s a key model in our Nissan NEXT transformation plan, and it’s proof of our ability to do what others don’t dare to do, from A to Z. As a Z fan myself, I’m excited to announce that the next Z is coming.”

Sporting a bright yellow pearlescent paint – a tribute to a popular paint scheme on both the first-generation 240Z and the 300ZX – the Z Proto boasts a fresh, attractive exterior design with a silhouette that communicates respect to the original model.

Nissan Z Proto Concept_on track
Nissan Z Proto Concept_side view
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Nissan Z Proto Concept_front seats

Using a theme that combines elements of previous generations while also projecting 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.”

The shape of the hood and the canted, teardrop-shaped LED headlights are both unmistakable reminders of the original Z. The rectangular grille dimensions are similar to the current model, although the grille fins nod to the past. 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.”

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Nissan Z Proto Concept_meter cluster
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Nissan Z Proto Concept_logo

The link to the original Z is most striking when viewing the Nissan Z Proto 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 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 fiber treatments on the side skirts, front lower lip and rear valance ensure nimble performance. 19-inch alloy wheels and dual exhausts complete the Z Proto’s striking road presence.

Nissan Z Proto interior: modern tech with a vintage touch

Designed to fit driver and passenger like a glove, the Z Proto’s cabin seamlessly blends modern technology with vintage Z touches.

The interior design team sought advice from professional motorsports legends to give the Nissan Z Proto an ideal sports car cabin, both for road and track. This can be seen in the Z’s instrumentation. All vital information is found in the 12.3-inch digital meter display and arranged to help the driver grasp it at a glance, such as the redline shift point at the twelve o-clock position.

The new, deep dish steering wheel offers the driver quick access controls without losing its vintage aesthetic.

Yellow accents are found throughout the cabin, including stitching on the instrument panel. The seats feature special accent piping and layered seat material to create depth.

Sports car joy: an exhilarating, dynamic performer

The original Z was built to bring the joy and excitement of sports car ownership to as many people as possible.

“The Z has always been a strong dynamic performer, making it easy for customers to enjoy its capabilities and feel as connected as possible to the car,” said Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist of the Z Proto. “This has been true through all its generations, and this is what drives our passion to innovate and challenge the norm.”

Each new generation had a more powerful engine, although the Z is about more than power increases.

“Z is more than just powerful and agile,” Tamura continued. “It is designed to create a connection with the driver, for the car to be a ‘dance partner’ for their on-road adventures.”

Make no mistake though, the Nissan Z Proto packs a powerful punch. Under the elongated hood is an enhanced V6 twin-turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. As a prototype, work is now underway to synchronize the power with the grace and control that has defined the Z for the past 50 years.

Nissan Z Proto Concept_rear
Nissan Z Proto Concept_rear lights
Nissan Z Proto Concept_front seats

“Nissan is transforming its business,” said Uchida. “This summer, we unveiled the ground breaking all-electric Nissan Ariya crossover, which represents the future of mobility. Even as we open this new chapter, the Z, its heritage and passion, express who we are and has been shaping our DNA for over fifty years.”

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