Inspired by the Past – The Nissan Z Proto

1 year ago

Nissan has unveiled the ‘Z Proto‘ signaling the company’s intent to launch a new generation of the legendary Z sports cars at a virtual event beamed around the world from the Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama. The prototype car features a new design inside & out as well as a V-6 twin turbocharged engine with a manual transmission. First hinted at in a video named “Nissan A-Z” in May of this year, the Nissan Z Proto pays full respect to 50 years of Z heritage but at the same time is a thoroughly modern sports car.

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said :

The Z, as a pure sports car, represents the spirit of Nissan. 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.

A global community of fans young and old attended today’s virtual unveiling with Members of the Z Club in Japan, ZCON participants in Nashville, Tennessee, and other enthusiasts in various other markets.

Penned & developed by the design team in Japan, the Z Proto boasts a fresh, attractive exterior design with a silhouette that communicates respect for the original model. It sports a bright yellow pearlescent paint – a tribute to a popular paint scheme on both the first generation Z (S30) & the 300ZX (Z32) with a black roof.

Alfonso Albaisa, head of design at Nissan said :

Our designers made countless studies & sketches as we researched each generation & what made them a success. Ultimately we decided the Z Proto should travel between the decades including the future. The LED headlights have two half-circles that hark back to the Japan market-only 240ZG of the 70s. 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 & discovered that it naturally fit with the Z’s identity.

The shape of the hood & the canted, teardrop-shaped LED headlights are both unmistakable reminders of the original Z. The rectangular grille’s dimensions are similar to the current model with the addition of oval grille fins to offer an updated modern look. The form continues to exude both sportiness & elegance.

The link to the original Z is most striking when viewing the Z Proto from the side. The roof-line 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 (Z32) taillights, reinterpreted for the modern world. Set within a rectangular black section that runs across the rear & wraps around the outer edges, the LED taillights convey a sharp glow. Lightweight carbon fiber treatments on the side skirts, front lower lip & rear valance ensure nimble performance. 19-inch alloy wheels & dual exhausts complete the Z Proto’s striking road presence.

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 Z Proto an ideal sports car cabin, both for road & track. This can be seen in the Z’s instrumentation with all vital information found in the 12.3-inch digital meter display & 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 yellow accenting & a layered gradation stripe in the center of the seats to create depth.

Hiroshi Tamura (GTROC Honorary President), chief product specialist of the Z Proto said :

The Z has always been a strong dynamic performer, making it easy for customers to enjoy its capabilities & feel as connected as possible to the car. This has been true through all its generations & this is what drives our passion to innovate & challenge the norm. The Z is a balance of power & agility, it is a vehicle that creates a connection with the driver not just on the physical level, but emotionally & responds to the driver’s impulses.

Make no mistake though, the Z Proto packs a powerful punch. Under the elongated hood is an enhanced V-6 twin-turbocharged engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. As a prototype, work is now underway on synchronizing the power with the grace & control that has defined the Z for the past 50 years.

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said :

With the launch this summer of the groundbreaking Ariya EV, we’ve started a new era of electrification & autonomous driving technology. With the Z, we’re bringing drivers the excitement of a pure sports car. For more than 50 years we have been creating the legend of Z together. I’m glad you’re with us for the next exciting chapter. The new Z is on its way.


  • Engine – V-6 Twin Turbo.
  • Transmission – 6 Speed Manual.
  • Length – 4382 mm.
  • Width – 1850 mm.
  • Height – 1310 mm.
  • Wheel & Tyre Size – Front 255/40R19 – Rear 285/35R19