NISSAN Z PROTO REVEALED as a driver-focussed manual-shift classic
This is Z Proto — an automotive aperitif to Nissan’s next-gen biturbo V6 6-speed manual the Z-car. Longer and lower than the outgoing 370Z, the driver-focused machine blends modern technology with vintage Z touches.
While no finer details were revealed on its biturbo V6, it is expected to be a tweaked version of Infiniti Q60 coupé’s 3-litre. Producing around 300kW (400 hp), it will also be far torquier than the naturally aspirated 370Z. Lighter too, the new Z car should be quicker than both of them.
6-SPEED MANUAL Z PROTO Flies in face of CONVENTION
Z-Proto’s six-speed manual gearbox flies in the face of the industry trend towards automatic transmissions. An automatic version is likely in the US when the newcomer is expected to debut next year.
Likely to be badged 400Z, the newcomer is the next step in the Japanese carmaker’s Zee dynasty. It will follow the original 240Z and its 280, 300, 350 and most recent 370Z siblings.
To that end, the enthusiast-oriented manual coupé plays on the sporting Z-brand’s half-century history. Bearing a Fairlady Z badge to recall the original’s Japanese handle, its silhouette ‘shows respect for’ that car.
The prototype’s pearlescent yellow hue pays tribute 300ZX of the ‘90s.There’s more 240Z in the teardrop LED headlights, while the tail-lights are another clue to the The 300ZX, too.
That’s all complimented by contemporary bits like the rectangular front grille, carbonfibre side skirts and 19-inch alloys. Inside, Z Proto gets 12.3-inch digital instrument display and race driver inspired controls.
“Z is a balance of power and agility,” Z-guru Hiroshi Tamura pointed out. “It creates a connection with the driver not just on the physical level but also emotionally.”
Nissan is likely to launch the Z400 sometime in 2021. While it may not get to some snowflake markets, expect the car to come to SA.