New Nissan 400Z previewed with Z Proto concept

The Z Proto concept hints at the next Z car, which is likely to be named the Nissan 400Z, but the production model won’t be coming to Europe

This is the Nissan Z Proto, a new concept which previews a twin-turbocharged V6, rear-wheel-drive sports car that will be the next in the famous Z series from the Japanese brand. But in a shock move, the firm has already ruled out bringing the production model to Europe.

The Z Proto incorporates classic Z styling cues, even referencing the yellow paint that was a common choice on the original 240Z and the 300ZX from the eighties. The car’s stance retains the ‘haunch’ around the C-pillar – a key cue from previous Nissan sports cars, including the 350Z and 370Z. At the front, the semi-circular LED headlights at the nose are unashamedly a cue from the original – albeit mixed with an aggressive-looking low spoiler and a gaping air intake that dominates the front bumper.

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Further back, the tail-lights are an obvious nod to the 370Z, with a rectangular background that runs across the rear and wraps around onto the rear wings. The concept also has both Z and Fairlady badging – again, referencing its predecessors.

The Z Proto is 4,382mm long, 1,850mm wide and 1,310mm tall – so it’s around 12cm longer and slightly wider than the current 370Z, and its roofline is half a centimetre lower.

Inside, the concept has a cabin that looks ready for production. There’s a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel which has the redline shift point at the 12 o’clock position, and a deep-dish steering wheel.

Nissan has not revealed much about the new car’s underpinnings but it says it will have an “enhanced” twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine and, significantly, a six-speed manual gearbox. Nissan boss Makoto Uchida said, “With the Z, we’re bringing drivers the excitement of a pure sports car. For more than 50 years we’ve been creating the legend of Z together. The new Z is on its way.”

It is not on its way to UK customers, though. Nissan had been expected to sell the Z as a global model, using it as a flagship vehicle to sell alongside revised SUVs and an expanding pure-electric line-up. But at the car’s digital reveal it was announced that the company has ruled out selling the production version of the car – expected to be called 400Z – in Europe.

In a statement, Nissan said, “A shrinking European sports car market and specific regulations on emissions mean that Nissan was unable to build a viable business case for the introduction of the production version of the next-generation Z-car in Europe. In Europe, Nissan’s priorities remain its commitment to renew its crossover line-up and accelerate its range electrification strategy.”

That means the 400Z will probably be focused on the United States, where selling a twin-turbo petrol motor should encounter fewer legislative issues. It is conceivable, though, that right-hand-drive versions from Nissan’s domestic market in Japan could be sold to UK customers by an importer.

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