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.

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.

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.