Aside from the black tape covering the Nissan 400Z badges, this is a production-like version of the next Z-car. We weren’t too excited about the next Nissan 400 Z because it’s basically a reskin of the current Z. But many loved the looks of the concept, so we’ll reserve further comment until we get to drive one. These leaked images are the first ones we’ve seen of the production version.
These photos came from the Tochigi Plant in Kaminokawa, Tochigi Prefecture, on the outskirts of Tokyo. Mostly staying true to the Nissan 400Z concept, the added fuel door, rear side marker lights, and door handles are all additions from that yellow concept. The front side marker lights are integrated into the headlight canister.
The 400Z grille follows the concept but looks more sunken into the body
The grille follows the concept but looks to be a bit more sunken into the body. This is probably to help protect it a bit more in a crash. The grille bars take up the whole opening, but at the midpoint, it looks like it has been recessed more than the upper portion.
The interior also seems to be following the Nissan 400Z concept pretty closely. Here, designers can usually follow whatever course they wish to take. For the body, there are usually considerations that require compromises to what was seen for the concept. If you’re GM, the concept and production version are sometimes similar in name only. But we digress…
Part of the reason it looks familiar is it hasn’t structurally changed
Nissan has needed to address much of its portfolio with new designs and technology. It stood pat for far too long, and now it is having a hard time gaining traction. Mostly, it has seen a lot of buyers opt for better models by competitors. So it is a frantic catch-up game. That is part of the reason it hasn’t structurally changed the 400Z.
By sticking with the existing understructure it shortens development time. And time is definitely not on Nissan’s side. So this works for what it has to do. And do it quickly.
The Z is not a huge seller for Nissan, but it is a halo car
The Z is not a huge seller for Nissan, but it is a halo car. So many that come into the dealer to take a casual look at a Z drive away in something else. Maybe it is a Leaf or Frontier pickup. But the Z does what the Corvette does for Chevy; which is working as a draw to conquest sales.
Nissan really needs a boost in visibility and buzz. We hope that the 400Z is the beginning of that and more for the company.