The Nissan Z Proto Is Keeping the Rectangular Grille

The Nissan Z Proto will become the 400Z.

We’ve written a few times about the Nissan Z Proto recently. Nissan unveiled the prototype Z last month, and we wrote about how its looks are almost cartoonishly exaggerated, especially the yawning rectangular front grille. Nonetheless, the Z Proto as a whole appears to be an exciting update for the vaunted sports car line while maintaining many of the features that have come to be associated with the Z.

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The lingering question, of course, was whether the Z Proto (with Proto standing for “prototype”) resembled the eventual Nissan 400Z (unofficial name) or if it truly was just a teaser.

We have our answer. The Drive reports that the Nissan Z Proto essentially is the Nissan 400Z that the public will see at Nissan dealerships.

Hiroshi Tamura, Chief Product Specialist for Nissan, said that the production vehicle will mirror the Z Proto that was unveiled in September, adding that the price point will be affordable.

Related Story: See the New Nissan Z Proto

Although Nissan’s spokespeople apparently walked back Tamura’s comments, calling them “hasty,” it appears nonetheless that the Z that we will see on the lots will look like the Z Proto.

And the exterior design is really the only thing that’s up in the air at this point. We have known for a while what Nissan is planning to do with the car’s innards. It’s going to have a V6, and it’s going to have a manual transmission.

We’re hearing that the 400Z – or whatever it ends up being called – is part of Nissan’s “A-to-Z” revamp of its lineup, meaning that the Z is at the back of the pack. The Drive says this means we might not actually see the production Z until 2023. That seems like a long time to wait, considering how dated the 370Z is starting to look.

Although we’ve poked fun at the massive grille, the prospect of a new Nissan Z is exciting. The striking styling likely will grow on people, and it seems quite in line with the legacy of the Z, which has always reveled in its own idiosyncrasies.