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This Is the Next-Gen Nissan Z That Could’ve Been

More transitional than traditional.

The Nissan 370Z had been on the market for 11 years. The Japanese giant sure took its time, but finally, we have the physical promise of a new Nissan sports car in the name of the Z Proto. This upcoming, seventh-generation Z-car will be powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 connected to a manual or an automatic gearbox, possibly packing 400 horsepower or more. When it comes to its design, we see the Z Proto concept as a remastered compilation album of the Z-cars’ greatest hits. Thanks to all the material published at its launch, we can also show how Nissan landed on this evolutionary throwback look instead of a transitional one, thus combining “heritage and newness,” according to the team.

Unfortunately for European fans, regardless of how the final production car will shape up, the next Z won’t follow the Jaguar F-Type and Toyota Supra in being offered with a four-cylinder powertrain, leading Nissan to skip the European market entirely. According to the company, tightening emission regulations and a shrinking sports car market are to blame for an impossible business case. Meanwhile, these official sketches show us a Z car concept that didn’t make it off the paper at all: 

While the next Z car will still be built on an “extensively modified” version of the Nissan 370Z’s FM architecture, based on the Z Proto concept, it will also combine design cues from all six previous generations, focusing mostly on the first Fairlady 240Z and the Z32 evolution of the Nissan 300ZX from 1989.

That’s good news resulting in a look I can get behind, knowing how a proper Z-car should have nothing to do with the design language currently used on Nissan’s vast range of forgettable crossovers. With Europe always playing a small part in the Z’s story, now, it’s once again time for America, Japan, and new player China to get ready for the Nissan sports car we’ve all been waiting for, possibly launched with a smaller front grille in 2022.

For now, here’s Nissan’s B-roll on the design phase and the shade of yellow picked for the Z Proto, a concept shouting “new Z-ness” according to its creators:

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