What might be the last Nissan Z is a throwback to every famous Z car since the original 240Z.

Nissan has officially revealed the new Z, or 400Z, or Fairlady Z, or whatever it will be officially called. For now, it’s known as Z Proto.

While not a final production version of the new Z or 400Z as it has been commonly named, what we see here will likely be most of what makes it through to the final model.

Retaining itself from confirming exact specifications and details for the final model, Nissan says in its digital unveiling this morning: “Nissan today unveiled the Z Proto, signaling the company’s intent to launch a new generation of the legendary Z sports car.”

The Z Proto is the official name of this prototype Z, and it is confirmed to be fitted with a twin-turbo V6 engine and manual transmission. It is the first time we see twin turbos fitted to the Z’s six-cylinder engine since the 300ZX (Z32).

But that’s not the only blast from the past on the Z Proto. The styling is clearly reminiscent of many old Zs, such as the 240/260Z (S30) front-end with teardrop headlights and long bowed bonnet. The squared grille is more reminiscent of the newer 350 and 370Z, the side profile that of the original and then a rear-end inspired by the 300ZX.

The yellow paint used is also an ode to popular paint choice colours for both the S30 and Z32, according to Nissan, though red was also quite the popular choice for the original S30.

“Our designers made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success,” head of design at Nissan, Alfonso Albaisa.

“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 and discovered that it naturally fit with the Z’s identity.”

The car measure 4382mm long, 1850mm wide and 1310mm high, and rides on 19-inch black alloys wrapped in special 255/40 front and 285/35 rear rubber.

Inside, the cabin is a jump ahead from the current 370Z model. It is finished in black Alcantara-like material, yellow stitching highlights and new technology. The infotainment is a considerable improvement, as is the fully digital 12.3-inch display dash for the driver. The steering wheel is also redesigned with ‘vintage aesthetics’. As with every Z car, the design is centred around the driver with dials and gauges facing from the centre towards the most important seating position in the car.

Underneath the bonnet is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. No specs have been given, though Nissan says: “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 and control that has defined the Z for the past 50 years.”

Quashing claims there might be an electrified Z, Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist of the Z Proto says: “With the launch this summer of the groundbreaking Ariya EV, we’ve started a new era of electrification and 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.”

“Z is a balance of power and agility,” Tamura adds. “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 remains tight lipped on any other details, though the engine, found in the Infiitniti Q50 Red Sport, can produce around 300kW of power and 475Nm of torque, giving rivals like the Toyota Supra a real run for its money.

The Z Proto confirms Nissan’s replacement for the 370Z is coming, and that Nissan considers this a key model in the lineup.

“The Z, as a pure sports car, represents the spirit of Nissan,” says Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida.

“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.”

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax, Carsales.com.au, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

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