The New Nissan Z Proto Might Be Perfect for Driving Purists

The Nissan Z has had a long history of performance and fun for drivers over many generations. But in the last decade or so, car enthusiasts’ love for the Z has started to wear off. Nissan, however, feels the Z is in its very DNA and isn’t ready to let its favorite sports car get lost in the past. Working hard on designing a new version of the iconic Z, Nissan recently unveiled its concept car for the Z’s future generation. And although all the specs aren’t in yet, one thing about the Nissan Z Proto is certain: it’s designed for driving purists.

Teaser information unveiled about the new Nissan Z Proto’s transmission

In anticipation of the iconic car’s 50th anniversary, Nissan announced that a new Z prototype, called the Z Proto, would be unveiled on September 15th.  Nissan, however, made a point to give a little digital teaser ahead of the unveiling to ensure they captured the attention of car enthusiasts everywhere. Out of everything the brief video unveiled, the most exciting was the confirmation of an iconic yet dying symbol of the American sports car: the manual transmission.

According to MotorTrend, Nissan uses its teaser video to give viewers a brief look at the Nissan Z Proto’s manual shifter right at the end, saving arguably the best bit of design for the end. This gives confirmation to driving fans everywhere that of all things it will offer, a manual transmission will most definitely be one of them. This small teaser and tidbit of information immediately sent car enthusiasts into an uproar, as very few brands even offer manual transmissions as an option.

What the performance could look like with new manual transmission 

After the unveiling of the teaser video came the new Nissan Z’s official digital debut. Rumors had been swirling about what performance could look like, and although Nissan hasn’t released any official performance specs yet, experts can speculate what driving the new Z will be like. Meant to be a compilation vehicle of the Z’s best designs over the years, its manual transmission is guaranteed to be paired to a powerful engine that helps make driving the Z fun and fast.

Specifications may not be available, but the brand has confirmed the new Z will feature a six-cylinder engine. With no modern inline-six engines available in its lineup, the Z will get a new and improved twin-turbo V6. According to The Roadshow, the “Nissan Z Proto is a four-wheeled love letter to driving purists,” expected to target more than 400 hp. Its forced induction is also expected to bring more torque to the Z, “at significantly lower revs.”

But with the deliberate inclusion of the manual transmission, it is clear Nissan is less focused on high-performance numbers and more focused on “forging a bond between car and driver.”

The Nissan Z Proto: everything we know so far


The Nissan Z Proto Is Retro Done Right

No one knows exactly what the future production Nissan Z will feature, but Nissan has given some hints. The Z’s overall design is based on nostalgia, with Nissan using its best features throughout its history to celebrate 50 years on the road. According to MotorTrend, its design is “one of the best-executed retro homages we’ve seen,” blending distinct generations of the Z together to create a symbolic, but high-performing Nissan Z.

Looking at the Nissan Z Proto, you’ll find classic long hood rear-wheel-drive proportions, with 19-inch wheels. It also features a large, square grille and LED headlamps that mimic generations of the past. And on the rear, you’ll find taillights from another Z generation. On the interior of the Z, owners can expect familiar and retro styling, but with all the modern amenities you’d expect like a large touchscreen infotainment display and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. 

The Nissan Z Proto is expected to go into production sooner rather than later. Although nothing is certain about its namesake, the Proto is expected to come with the “400Z” nameplate and will be sold as a 2022 model. Car enthusiasts should expect the new Z to hit dealerships around the spring of 2021.