The most dedicated Z owners and enthusiasts watched it unfold from the comfort of their cars on big screens set up at the 33rd annual global Z Convention (ZCON) in Franklin, Tennessee.
The pretty, bright-eyed yellow canary sitting before you is the all-new Nissan Z Proto, an early look at what Nissan's cooking up with the seventh-generation Z. If it feels more like you're looking at an older generation Z, that's on objective. The Z Proto doesn't recreate those precisely but departs dramatically from the current 370Z in sporting a set of LED teardrops that serve as a modern interpretation of classic Z lamps.
"Our designers made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success", Nissan design chief Alfonso Albaisa explains. "Ultimately, we decided the Z Proto should travel between the decades, including the future". The coupé profile and the way the C pillar is designed also remind us of the 240Z, while the front bumper seems like a homage to the 350Z Nismo with its simple and large rectangular intake and smoothened off edges. The sports auto attitude is completed with 19-inch alloy wheels and dual exhausts. That said, it's not all retro, as Nissan has used a fair bit of carbon-fibre - like on the front lip and rear diffuser. This makes the model 5 inches longer, 0.2 inches (5 mm) wider and 0.2 inches (5 mm) shorter than the 370Z. The bright yellow pearlescent paint pays tribute to the popular paint scheme introduced on both the S30 240Z and Z32 300ZX, which is contrasted with a black roof, black low-profile spoiler, and black wing mirrors. There's plenty of modern tech, too, including a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and large central infotainment touchscreen. Interestingly, the interior looks pretty much production ready, complete with a deep dish three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with a redline shift point at the 12 o' clock position.
The automaker has yet to reveal technical details of the auto, but reports suggest that it will be built on the front-engine, rear-drive FM chassis, with power derived exclusively from a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with no electrification whatsoever.
While it's exciting that Nissan is committed to offering a powerful, rear-wheel drive, manual gearbox-equipped sports auto, reports suggest that it won't hit showrooms until 2023.
As a work in progress, exact specifications aren't yet being offered, but Nissan said it is powered by a twin-turbocharged V6 and confirmed that a six-speed manual transmission is being developed, even as many other sports cars are only available with automatics.
Under the bonnet, the Nissan Z Proto will get a 3.0-litre, twin-turbo V6 engine, which will be mated to a manual gearbox.