No changes: 400Z design you see now is final
What you see is what you get.
While we’re reading mixed reactions to Nissan’s new Z design, anyone who is down on it suggests that this couldn’t be the final design, surely not, it will be different once production starts…but this is indeed the final design.
What Nissan is doing is revealing its new Z model to us in stages: we now see its form entirely, both inside and out, and that has been the concentration of media interviews this week with managers of the project in Japan steering away from production, platform and drivetrain queries. Details such as the drivetrain are vague because objectives on power, torque, and handling potential are now in the hands of engineers and yet to be finalised.
Speaking with Australian media this week, Nissan chief designer Alfonso Abaisa confirmed that the design stage of the Z Proto was complete and it was over to the engineering team now to fettle performance characteristics before production begins as the 400Z, or whatever Nissan call it.
“What you see is basically what has gone through the process and we feel it’s something we love and feel is right and now the engineers will adjust some small things,” said the head designer, who spent a long time combing over previous iterations of Z cars to find influence for the Z Proto shape and elements.
“The selection of the name Z Proto is quite deliberate. We didn’t call it a concept as this is a car we have been developing just without engineers finishing the chassis structure all of these things, this is a real car it’s just not finished.
“We often discuss this ‘pass the baton to the engineer’ because the engineer [now] owns it and is fine tuning.”
Addressing the black rectangular grill upfront which is true to the original S30 generation Z yet proving to be a contentious area for some (we think we will just have to trust the designers and see the thing in the metal before making a judgement), Albaisa said the grill was one of the more important areas of the car and was a lovely design element given it is not bound by traditional trimming.
“Looking at the bonnet, the guards and ‘circular’ headlights, the grille is the space between those things, the lines are created from the parts around it instead. So this is the part we really wanted.
“The reason it is quite rectangular is that the hood lines come straight down to the ground and define that space,” he said.
And this is not exactly something trotted out quickly, with the project understood to have begun at least three years ago. Albaisa continued to explain that every Nissan design studio around the globe had joined in with the fun to pen the next Z car, helping discover Nissan’s notion of what the essence of Z is.
“For us it was, let’s reinterpret what it means to be a Z,” he said. “Yes, we explored a full range of designs [both modern and historic] including every studio we have in the world in London, China, California and Japan.”