The current Nissan 370Z has been on the market for more than a decade now, and it’s been showing its age for at least half that time. But even though it’s old and outdated, the Z is still plenty of fun thanks to its rear-drive platform, standard six-speed manual, and torquey V6 engine. Luckily, the Nissan Z Proto (a thinly disguised preview of the 370Z’s successor) keeps those goodies and adds heritage-inspired style and modern technology.
Nissan gave us a few hours alone with the Z Proto, allowing us to admire its curves, edges, and all-important manual gearshift on video. What’s more, the Proto is powered by a 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 that should produce 400 bhp (298 kilowatts). Likely sourced from the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400, the engine is also available in a 300-bhp state of tune (224 kW), which might show up in base trims of the next-generation Z.
Gallery: Nissan Z Proto In-Person First Look
Up close, the Z Proto looks even more arresting than it does in photos. The square front grille, which looks much less monolithic and unfinished in person, features little rectangles with rounded corners, directly recalling the 240Z’s grille texture. Still, we think a piece of silver trim (aping the original’s chrome bumpers) would break up the front end a bit to good effect. The Z Proto’s bonnet is another retro callback, thanks to its distinctive power bulge near the windscreen and a sharp edge running down the centre that continues all the way to the leading edge of the front bumper.
While the front end is a very modern retelling of the classic Nissan Z, the rear might as well be cribbed from the 1990s. The blackout panel between two rectangular taillights is a clear reference to the high-tech Z32-generation 300ZX, meaning the Z Proto isn’t a car for just one group of people.
Everyone, from Boomers nostalgic for the original, Gen-Xers looking for a rad redux, and Millennials and Zoomers who want technology and performance, has something to enjoy about the Nissan Z Proto. Watch the video and be sure to let us know what you think.