Nissan took its sweet time, but after 12 years the latest-generation Z coupe is just about ready for the big time
Perhaps Nissan has had a lot on its plate lately, with a former president engulfed in an arrest and trial case, and a failing luxury arm to worry about. So we can understand why a halo sports car sat somewhere near the bottom of the to-do list. However Nissan has finally got around to it, unveiling a much anticipated concept car which previews the next-generation Z coupe.
The current 370Z has been around since 2008, which makes it archaic in the sports car segment and a successor has been rumoured for ages. According to Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida, the wait is nearly over.
“The Z represents the joy of driving in its purest form and has helped shape Nissan’s DNA as a passionate, innovative challenger,” he said. “Ever since the first generation, it has captured the hearts of car enthusiasts all over the world. That’s why we’re so excited today to be able to say to them: Yes, the next one is coming!”
In a tribute pearlescent yellow harking back to the 1969 original, the new Nissan Z Proto concept pays plenty of acclaim to its predecessors. The sloping bonnet, squared off grille, and teardrop LEDs are all cues taken right off the original Z cars. At the back, inspiration came from the 300ZX represented in a blacked-out LED strip running across the width of the car. Details include carbon fibre side skirts, carbon fibre front spoiler, 19-inch wheels, and big, dual exhausts.
Going up against competing sports cars like the Toyota Supra, the next Nissan Z will feature a 3.0-litre V6 shared with the Infiniti range. Twin-turbocharging could ensure around 400 horsepower, and Nissan is committing to a six-speed manual transmission, while Toyota doesn’t offer one in the latest A90 Supra. With dimensions almost identical to the Supra, the old rivalry should play out interestingly.
Inside the Z Proto, the concept car looks ready to hit the showroom, with a deep-dish three-spoke steering wheel and a digital 12.3-inch driver’s instrument cluster. An additional touchscreen sits in the middle of the dash and analogue clocks show you boost pressure, voltage, and for some reason turbine rpm.
Nissan isn’t being entirely clear about the new Z’s vehicle platform or chassis specifications, but chief product specialist Hiroshi Tamura seems fired up: “Z is more than just powerful and agile,” he said. “It is designed to create a connection with the driver, for the car to be a ‘dance partner’ for their on-road adventures.”