The Nissan Z Proto is a 300kW twin-turbo manual!

Despite the release of this Z Protoype, the next Nissan Z car is not expected until 2022 at best

Nissan Z Proto revealed

This is the Nissan Z Proto. It's currently just a concept car, but it's expected to foreshadow the introduction of a new Z production car dubbed 400Z and scheduled to appear in 2022.

Concrete technical details are relatively thin, with the concept intended to be more a design peek than a performance preview, but Nissan has provided enough to whet our appetite.

The headline act is that there will be a twin-turbo V6 under the bonnet - likely the 298kW/475Nm 3.0-litre unit from the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport - which will connect to a six-speed manual gearbox, though an automatic is also being developed.

2022 Nissan 400Z sports car revealed.

At 4382mm long, 1850mm wide and 1310mm tall, the Z Proto is 117mm longer, 5mm wider and 5mm lower than the 370Z it replaces.

It also has a much more substantial footprint, its Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres measuring 255/40 at the front and 285/35 at the rear, an increase of 30mm and 40mm respectively.

The dynamic development of the new Z will be led by Hiroshi Tamura, Nissan's chief product specialist for sports cars.

"With the Z, we're bringing drivers the excitement of a pure sports car," he said. "It is a vehicle that creates a connection with the driver not just on the physical level, but emotionally, and responds to the driver's impulses."

Nissan 400Z prototype taillights are inspired by those of the Z32 300ZX.

Nissan's design boss, Alfonso Albaisa, said of the styling process: "Our designers made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success. Ultimately, we decided the Z Proto should travel between decades, including the future."

As such, the shape of the bonnet and the LED headlights hark back to the original S30 Z, while the grille's rectangular shape is a nod to the current Z and the rear offers a modern interpretation of the taillights found on the Z32 300ZX.

Nissan 400Z interior is a mix of classic touches with modern technology.

Retro touches continue inside with the dash-mounted gauges and circular side vents. There's plenty of modern tech, too, including a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and large central infotainment touchscreen.

While it's exciting that Nissan is committed to offering a powerful, rear-wheel drive, manual gearbox-equipped sports car, Tamura suggests the development process is likely to take two years.

If this comes to fruition, it will mean that the bones of the 400Z can be traced right back to 2001, when the FM platform on which the 350Z and 370Z ride upon, was first introduced.

As a company, Nissan is struggling, enduring huge losses in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and soldiering on with an ageing model line-up.

Its part in the wider Nissan Renault Mitsubishi Alliance seems to have had no bearing on the reinvention of the 400Z; developing or modifying a new or existing sports car platform would make more fiscal sense if the cost could be shared across multiple brands, but there's no evidence that this will occur in this case.

We'll bring you more news on the Nissan 400Z as it comes to light.

Contributing: Tim Robson


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