Nissan Z Proto previews retro-inspired V6 sports car

Body-colour accents also link to the exterior and the pod gauges on top of the dashboard (one for turbo boost pressure) and door handles are clear links to the 370Z.

Nissan hasn’t released details of the twin-turbo V6 powertrain, although Autocar understands that it’s effectively a reworked version of the 3.0-litre unit used in the flagship Infiniti Q60 coupé. There it produces 400bhp, but given the new Z car should be significantly lighter than the 1825kg Q60, it should be a fair bit faster. Expect it to have substantially more torque than the naturally aspirated V6 used in the 370Z, too.

Chief product specialist Hiroshi Tamura claims the car is about more than speed. “Z is a balance of power and agility. It’s a vehicle that creates a connection with the driver not just on the physical level but also emotionally,” he said.

Key to this includes the use of a six-speed manual gearbox in the prototype, bucking the wider industry trend towards automation. Even so, an auto option is likely for the US.

No date has been provided for the launch of the production Z car. However, given the prototype’s seemingly finished interior design, a debut during 2021 is likely.

Where the inspiration came from

The Z Proto’s link to the 50-year history of the Z car is obvious. “We explored two directions,” said Nissan’s global design head, Alfonso Albaisa. “One with a strong homage tone and one with a futuristic feeling throughout. Our designers made countless studies and sketches, researching each generation to better understand what made it such a success… Ultimately, we agreed this new Z Proto should travel between the decades, including the future.”

Various references to the 240Z and 240ZG can be seen, but there are also nods to the 1990s 300ZX. Why?

“The 300ZX represented a technological breakthrough for Z and Nissan,” Albaisa said. “The seamless surfaces and absence of bodylines gave it a river stone-like, smooth quality,” hinted at on the new car.

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