Nissan Z Proto Preview


The Nissan Z has a rich history in the sports car segment that dates back several decades. In 1970, the 240Z launched and would eventually become one of the automaker’s most treasured entries. Fast forward nine years to the introduction of the 280ZX, with its more refined interior and available T-top roof. In 1984, the 300ZX debuted with a brand-new V6, and in 1990, the 300ZX entered the market with a distinctive wide and low look and an available twin-turbo engine. Moving into the 21st century, 2003 was the year of the 350Z, which returned after a six-year hiatus in the U.S. with a streamlined design similar to that of the original 240Z.

The latest entry in the Z lineup, the 370Z, came to life in 2009 and has continued to please car enthusiasts audiences to this day. It’s the most powerful version ever of the Z, but that’s all about to change with the upcoming Z Proto, as it’s currently known. Several sources speculate that the newest Z will eventually be called the 400Z, but we won’t know for certain until Nissan confirms it. This latest Z car is expected to hit dealerships sometime in 2021.

What Can We Expect?

For the time being, firm facts on the Nissan Z Proto remain relatively scarce, but that’s not to say we’re completely devoid of details. Based on what information released by Nissan, we know that the Z Proto will be 5 inches longer than the outgoing 370Z and it will have a more sophisticated and sleek design overall. This upcoming iteration is a nice blend of some of the best elements from prior Z models, with its 240Z-inspired front end and 300ZX-inspired rear. Inside, it’s almost unrecognizable from Zs of old. The only remaining signifier of its heritage is the old-style three-gauge cluster. Otherwise, it’s been fully modernized with large screens and a brand-new steering wheel design.

Power and Performance

Some reports hint that the Nissan Z Proto will get the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine that’s found underneath the hood of the Infiniti Q60. This powerplant in the Infiniti Q60 brews 400 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque, which is a significant leap from the current 370Z’s 332 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque from its 3.7-liter V6. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, but a seven-speed automatic tranny will likely be optional (at least it is on the Infiniti Q60). Nissan hasn’t made any comments with regard to the drivetrain, but there’s no reason to suspect that it won’t remain rear-drive.

A Toyota Supra Competitor

Toyota recently revived their Supra two-door sports coupe, and that will be a top competitor of the Nissan Z Proto. With that said, the Nissan Z Proto will have the upper hand with its transmission, as the Toyota Supra is only offered with an automatic. Only time will tell how else these two models will stack up, but it’s an exciting proposition.