However, there’s bad news for the UK and mainland Europe: the as-yet-unnamed new model won’t be offered for sale here. In a statement sent to Autocar, Nissan cited a “shrinking European sports car market and specific regulations on emissions” as the reasons why it was “unable to build a viable business case” for the car’s European release.
The Z Proto plays on the sporting sub-brand’s 50-year history, with a silhouette that “communicates respect for the original model”, the 240Z. The launch car’s yellow pearlescent paint is a tribute to the first-generation Z as well as the Z32-gen 300ZX of the 1990s.
Nissan also cites retro references in the bonnet profile and teardrop-shaped LED headlights – the latter meant to conjure up the Japan-only 240ZG of the 1970s. The link to the original Z is clearest in side profile, with the long bonnet and cab-back proportions. The 300ZX references reappear in the design of the tail-lights.
However, it’s not all backward-looking. Details such as the rectangular front grille, 19in alloy wheels and carbonfibre side skirts aim to modernise the look.
The bootlid appears to feature a Fairlady Z badge – a name used for the original in Japan and the US. It’s possible that name will be used for the production car, but Nissan claims it simply represents the prototype’s name in Japan.
At 4382mm long, 1850mm wide and 1310mm tall, the Z Proto is 142mm longer than the outgoing 370Z but no wider and slightly lower.
The blend of old and new continues inside, where Nissan claims the Z Proto “seamlessly blends modern technology with vintage Z touches”. Input from racing drivers helped ensure a clear driver focus for the major controls and 12.3in digital instrument display.