By Steve & Tamami Laser
When Nissan unveiled the Z Photo last September at the automaker’s Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, we wondered how much of the prototype’s design would carry over to a future production model. As it turns out, the Z Proto was a remarkably close preview of the Z production sports car, set to go on sale in the U.S. in spring 2022 as a 2023 model.
While the New York Auto Show was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns, Nissan decided to stage the world premiere of the new Z at the Brooklyn Duggal Greenhouse this week, and stream it online to a global audience. The venue is said to be about five miles from the spot where the original Datsun 240Z made its debut more than 50 years ago (in October 1969).
The new Z retains the design theme of the Z Proto, with styling cues inspired by six generations of its legendary predecessors. Design treatments, like the teardrop-shaped LED headlights, as well as the shape of the hood, are inspired by the first generation Z. The rectangular grille brings to mind the current generation Z, with a freshened look.
Like the original, the new Z has a sleek profile with a hatchback body style. The taillights bring to mind the 300ZX from the 1990s, with modernized 3D signature lighting elements. We like the look of the new Z Performance model (above) finished in the attractive hues of Seiran Blue with a Super Black roof and low-profile rear spoiler.
The new Z is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo e-VVT engine rated at a stout 400 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, and 350 lbs.-ft. of torque from 1,600 to 5,600 rpm. It transfers power to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox (with SynchroRev Match® and launch-assist control on Z Performance), or a new 9-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
The two-seat cockpit is fitted with future and retro touches, like a trio of hooded gauges on top of the dash, a deep-dish steering wheel, and twin displays. The good-looking bucket seats are trimmed with woven cloth on Z Sport, while Z Performance gains leather-appointed heated power seats.
The Z’s new 12.3-inch TFT cluster display features three driver-selectable modes: Normal, Enhanced, and Sport. The latter (above) places the tachometer in the center and also includes a boost gauge or a G meter. While Enhanced moves the tach and speedo to the edges, leaving space in the middle for a navigation map and other info.
The standard 8.0-inch display audio system includes Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay®, 6 speakers, SiriusXM®, and Siri® Eyes Free. Z Performance gains a 9.0-inch touchscreen navigation system, NissanConnect® Services with Wi-Fi hotspot, and a Bose® Audio system with 8 speakers, Active Noise Cancellation and Sound Enhancement.
In addition to the Z Sport and Z Performance models, the launch lineup includes the Z Proto Spec. Nissan plans to sell just 240 units of this limited edition for the U.S. market, fitted with color and trim inspired by the Z Proto. The roster includes yellow brake calipers with the Z logo, bronze 19-inch RAYS alloys, leather-trimmed seats with yellow accents, and yellow interior stitching.
As a thoroughly modern Z, all 2023 models are equipped with driver-assist features, including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, High Beam Assist, and Intelligent Forward Collision Warning.
During the premiere of the new Z, Nissan displayed some of its beautifully restored Z heritage models at the Brooklyn Duggal Greenhouse (above).
Nissan has not yet announced pricing for the U.S. market 2023 Z. We noticed in a separate press release that details for the new “Fairlady Z” model for Japan (it appears it will retain the name) are planned to be announced by Nissan this winter.
Note: Pre-production U.S. market models are shown in this story. Features, specifications, model availability, and launch timing for future production models are subject to change without notice
News sources and photos courtesy of Nissan North America, Inc., and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Story (commentary) © 2021 CarNichiWa.com