Nissan is set to unveil its next-generation heir to the Z throne.
The much-anticipated Z Proto unveiling will occur tonight at 8:30 Eastern Time on Nissan’s website.
In celebration of the event, we’ve been fantasizing about all the cool things Nissan’s designers could – but probably didn’t – include on the Z Proto.
Since this Nissan is simply a prototype, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll ever see a production car that resembles it, we’re going to root for the wildest Z imaginable in 2020. Considering how bonkers this year has already been, there’s not reason not to shoot for the stars with the design elements.
We already know this car is going to be “retro-inspired,” which is all the rage right now. So we dipped into Nissan’s back catalog for inspiration as well.
1. Pop-up headlights
The Nissan 300ZX Z31, in all of its 1980s vaporwave glory, had flip-up headlights. The trend has long-since disappeared, with the last production cars to sport hidden headlamps being discontinued in 2004 (the Lotus Esprit and Chevrolet C5 Corvette). But how cool would it be if Nissan threw the Z Proto all the way back to the 80s and dropped in some pop-up lights?
T-tops are another vestige of decades past, but we’d love to see the style return on the Z Proto. But hear us out: there’s a reason why T-tops would be cool on the Z Proto. Specifically, the convertible 370Z looks weird. It’s probably fun to cruise around in a Z with the top down, but this is a car that was made to have a fastback. To us, a convertible 370Z looks like a slimmed-down convertible Nissan Murano, which some might also argue is too weird to exist. What’s the solution if you want to drive your Z Proto with the wind in your hair? The removable T-top, of course. Simply pop out the panels and enjoy the perks of a convertible while maintaining the aesthetic perfection of your Z. Plus, the heritage is there, since multiple generations of the Z featured T-tops.
3. Mid engine
Is this blasphemy? Maybe so. The Nissan/Datsun Z has made decades of reputation on being a front-engine sports car. But times have changed. Chevrolet shifted the Corvette’s engine behind the passenger compartment. Hyundai is making a mid-engine sports car that will be a direct competitor for the Nissan Z. If Nissan wants to really shake things up, shifting the engine back is a way to do it.
4. Four cylinders
The Nissan Z has had six cylinders throughout its history, dating all the way back to the Datsun 240Z. An ill-fated concept car in the late 1990s tried to introduce a four-cylinder engine to the classic design, but the V6 has been Nissan’s go-to for the modern generations of the Z. But in an era of improved performance from smaller-displacement motors, perhaps it’s time to unveil a four-cylinder Z. We’d like to see a turbocharged four-cylinder option that can fill the void in our hearts left by the departure of the Ford Fiesta ST. We already know that the Z Proto will be loaded with a twin-turbo V6, but we can always hold out hope.
Tune in tonight to see if any of our wishes were granted. Even if nothing from this list makes the cut, the Z Proto is certain to be an exciting update to the 12-year-old 370Z.