By on September 8, 2020

Nissan has been extremely clear that it has been focusing heavily upon its past for the formation of its upcoming 400Z. Considering how the automaker is faring in the present, casually throwing customers into a sea of nostalgia is likely a 200-IQ play. Vintage Z cars have an obsessively loyal fan base and are awarded rolling praise from practically everybody who remembers them in their heyday.

Your author has always held a soft spot for the 300ZX Twin Turbo, despite his not being the resident Nissan aficionado and the 300 being the most pig-like in the Z-car’s expansive lineage. But plenty of people recall its enthralling performance as turbo lag boost was playfully teased out to make pressing the accelerator feel less like you were about to pass a slow-moving motorist on the highway and more like you were about to launch a Grumman F-14 Tomcat off an aircraft carrier. They also undoubtedly remember its stellar design, especially the Z32, which present-day Nissan has decided to tap into for the upcoming performance model.

In its latest teaser, you can see the evolution of the Z32’s taillights for a microsecond before subtle references to several of the incoming prototype’s other ancestors. Nissan also seemed to suggest that there will be a manual variant available, as the spot ends with a hand reaching for a gear selector  rather than a hideous dial or having the driver shout “drive, please” at an uncooperative voice-command system. While we’ll admit that we’re speculating a bit on the possibility of a be-clutched automobile existing after 2020, the manufacturer seems to understand that the old ways are sometimes the best when it comes to finding the maximum amount of driving enjoyment. It seems within the realm of possibilities.

The “Z Proto” (short for prototype) will be serving as the template for the 400Z and will allegedly borrow the favored aspects of its forebears. Nissan has already shown that the car’s silhouette will be somewhere between the original 240Z and the current 370Z (both handsome). But it has also hinted that would only be the tip of the heritage-drenched iceberg. Proto drops on September 16th during Nissan’s official debut and should represent the production model rather closely. But we cannot say how that will impact the delivery timeline for those interested in buying one. Nissan has a lot of fires that need tending right now.

[Images: Nissan]

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12 Comments on “Nissan Teases More of Upcoming Z-car, Possible Manual Option...”


  • avatar
    MorrisGray

    Do any of the Altima or Maxima models have a manual transmission?
    Sentra SR?

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I just did a nationwide search on Cars.com for new manual Nissans.

      Currently listed are:
      15 370Zs 6-speed
      7 Sentras (all 2019 S trim) 6-speed – no longer available in 2020
      263 Versas (all S trim) 5-speed – S trim is ONLY available in manual

      I would have through you could still get a manual Frontier. But apparently not.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Are these cowards going to offer a black gold edition?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That’s a good teaser. Maybe this halo car can do something for them after all.

    Personally, I’d like to see them trim the bloat built into the later models.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    The original 240Z was a good looking car, although horrible to sit in. The 300ZX was gorgeous.
    The 350Z and 370Z were abominations that made me wretch just looking at them, I’ve never seen uglier cars in my life. I wish they’d go back to a smaller car with a smaller motor that’s fun to drive but that won’t be he case. They’ll screw it up, they always do. Probably have a CVT that explodes at 70,000 miles, just like all the rest.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I had a 73 240Z and don’t remember it being uncomfortable to sit in, although I was 5-7 and 140lbs. It did need a tilt wheel though.

      That was back when the local Datsun dealer still had a set of working gas pumps out front from the building’s original usage.

    • 0 avatar
      Drew8MR

      I remember the 240/260s being the best and 280s were ok. The first 300 was an abomination. The next 300 was awesome, but everything after was trash.

  • avatar
    gasser

    I am not in this customer demographic (as one who is old enough to have bought a new 240Z in 1973). However the two problems I foresee for this is:1. Very few younger people can drive a stick, which means that they will all probably be automatic (???CVT???) Bah!! 2. Cost, when you need to develop something new (I can’t think what platform it could share and be RWD) its going to get expensive real fast.

  • avatar
    jetcal

    How funny. The F-14 actually lost 14,000 lbs of thrust on the Cat after PPC 481.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I assume like the 370Z this will be an Infiniti Q60 minus rear seats + hatch. I highly doubt Nissan developed a whole new engine and RWD platform for a niche sport car in today’s market. I’ll be shocked if it retains 3 pedals.

    As said in the other teaser post about this car: A) I’m already tired of hearing about it especially since its likely 2-3 years away from being a thing you can actually buy. And B) I’ve already moved onto a C7.

    Also as I’ve mentioned before the Z was in this odd middle ground in the market. Too heavy to compete with the GT86 & Miata yet too under powered to compete with Mustangs and Camaros. To me this is a good thing as it offered a unique choice but its niche of a niche. I think it best aligns with the new Supra.

    I got rid of mine because it was a loud, rough riding, out dated platform. The high points were a balanced track car with a linear NA V6 and great manual transmission. The low points were its weight and lack of sophisticated traction control. While I’m sure many appreciated the raw nature of the car it made for a steep learning curve. It didn’t encourage you to play with it, the Z was a work out to drive (stiff steering and heavy clutch) and at times it felt like it was actively trying to kill you with its harsh ride and twitchy rear end.

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