Running Late but Worth the Wait? The Twin-Turbo Next Gen Nissan Z Prototype is Here
In the world of sports cars, there has been no model in bigger need of redesign than the Nissan Z. In fact, a child born when the 370Z hit the market in late 2008 would already be a teenager right now.
And with the corporate controversy at Nissan the last couple of years combined with the effect of the global pandemic, there was beginning to be some concern over whether the 370Z would ever be replaced. With a shrinking sports car market, its demise seemed like a real possibility.
But to great relief from longtime Z loyalists and sports car fans around the world, Nissan has finally shown us the next generation Z in the form of a prototype that previews the upcoming production car.
As had been speculated, Nissan has drawn heavily on its heritage with the Z prototype. For starters, the body shape has a clear resemblance to the original 240Z of the early 1970s, particularly in the headlamps, rear hatch and quarter windows.
Nissan also looked back to the Z32 300XC of the '90s for elements like taillight design and a black roof that contrasts against the prototype's yellow body.
The interior as well, has a simplified design that’s reminiscent of classic Zs while also bringing a modernized, tech laden feel—especially when compared to the current 370Z.
As with all Zs going back to the Z31 model of the 1980s, the next generation Z will be powered by a V6 engine. But, for the first time since the Z32, it will be turbocharged.
Power figures haven’t been announced but with boost on board we'd expect output to be somewhere around 400 hp. As a refresher, the Z’s rival, the Toyota Supra makes 382 hp from its twin turbo inline six.
Stick shift lovers rejoice. One edge that new Z will have over the Supra that it will be available with a manual transmission, while the BMW-built Supra is only offered with an eight-speed automatic.
While it’s great to see Nissan breathing new life into the Z there are still some important questions that linger. First up when will we actually see the production version? We don't quite know. There have been rumors that the production car could still be a year or two off, so we hope in won't be a long drawn out debut like we saw with the Supra and the Acura NSX.
Second, how much will the real car differ from the prototype? Typically a "prototype" is expected to look and feel pretty close to the real thing—and Nissan has said as much about the new Z.
This is unlike a concept car, which can vary greatly from the production model. Here’s hoping the Z prototype and the real car are very close, because that also means it should be out sooner.
With such a long time in between redesigns there were times when it was easy to forget that the Nissan Z was still being built at all. Yet based on our first look at the new model, Nissan’s most famous sports car may still have an exciting future ahead of it.
Hopefully we hear more news about this car soon.