NISSAN UNVEILED THE Z PROTO | Automotive News | Auto Reporter

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Nissan Z PROTO

This week, Nissan unveiled the Z Proto, The company is offering an early look at the first new version of its Nissan Z sports car in more than a decade. The Z Proto, which Nissan calls a "development study vehicle," is a "near-production prototype," according to the company.

The last production version, which is sold as the 370Z in the US, was introduced in 2009. It hasn't been redesigned since then. The Z Proto has a number of design elements which is similar to earlier model Z models. The shape of its hood and headlights are reminiscent of the 240Z's classic sports car proportions. The prototype car's pearlescent yellow paint scheme is suggestive of a yellow paint popular in early Zs.

Inside, the Z Proto has a deep-dish steering wheel which is reminiscent of classic performance cars of the late 1960s and early '70s. Also, the Z Proto has a manual transmission, a rare feature today even in sports cars. Under the hood, the Z Proto has a turbocharged V6 engine.

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Z PORTO Rear View

The taillights are modeled on those of the 1990's 300ZX, a model that had introduced a radically new, more modern flat-sided design to the Z. Nissan has not yet said when the new Nissan Z model will come to market or how much it will cost. Hsu said he hopes the new version remains true to the Z's original emphasis on affordable performance, with an emphasis on enjoyment over performance statistics.

"The world doesn't need any more supercars," he said. "The world is flush with supercars that are insanely fast and insanely expensive. What we're lacking are cars at the bottom end of the market."