You can say goodbye to the Nissan 370Z, the two-seater that recently helped the company celebrate 50 years of sports car performance – it’s because it’s time to say hello to an all-new Nissan Z, which may arrive next year as a 2022 model. Officially referred to as the Proto Z, this recently unveiled sports car could go by the name 400Z for production. While looking very different from the car it will replace, it might sound familiar if you know your Z-car’s history. The headlights, grille, overall shape, and the little details here and there are tributes to the original Datsun 240Z from 1970. This car really put Datsun – the Nissan name used for years – on the automotive performance map.While the new generation Z honors its past, it is also very much ready for tomorrow. Under the hood, a twin-turbo V6 engine is probably good for over 300 horsepower. As other Nissan cars move towards electrification, this one is aimed at traditional enthusiasts. To this end, you will be able to shift your own gears with a 6-speed manual transmission. To the target audience, a Z just wouldn’t be a Z without a stick – the current 370Z has been around for almost 12 years now, a long time even by sports car standards. And there were often rumors that there might not even be a next one.
But it was too important a legacy for Nissan to let go. The Z will remain a Z, in its purest form. Two seats, and combining many traditional attributes with a nod to the future, especially in the interior. Touchscreen controls will combine with classic style instrumentation.
The so-called heritage look has worked well for other sports cars, most notably the Ford Mustang in its last two generations, and the Dodge Challenger, with an iconic design reminiscent of the era of the original muscle cars.
Not lost in all of this, the value of classic Datsun Zs continues to soar, with the best examples of early models sometimes reaching six figures. Nissan is likely counting on this renewed enthusiasm to ensure that the next Z – as retro styling – catches some nostalgia for whoever made it all work. But, wrapped around a modern performance car, destined for 2022 and beyond.
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