By on September 1, 2020

Electric crossovers are all the rage, but they might not get blood pumping the way a rear-drive sports car can. Especially one with a heritage like Nissan’s Z.

The subject of much rumor and speculation, the successor to today’s remarkably aged 370Z was already known to be in the works, carefully pored over by a team of fastidious Japanese engineers eager to do the model’s lineage proud. Expected to carry the name 400Z, a prototype is headed our way in just a short time.

Nissan’s calling it the Z Proto, and it should give us all a good idea of what’s to follow.

The prototype Z is said to appear at a special event on the evening of September 15th, though Nissan pegs the introduction for Sept. 16. Could be a time zone thing, one thinks. To mark the occasion, the automaker released a video retrospective of five decades of Z action, stirring the emotions and sending a thrill up the leg of our resident Nissanophile, Chis Tonn.

And it’s certainly about time, given that the current-generation model, the 370Z, first appeared in the waning hours of 2008.

With Nissan eager to burnish its image through the launch of fresh product while also firming up its financial foundation, the new Z will only serve the purposes of the former goal. Vehicles like the Rogue and Frontier are far more important to the automaker’s bean counters, but the Z ties everything to the past. Just because there’s an Ariya on the horizon doesn’t mean Nissan wants to start with a clean sheet. Nor does it want to cede the sports car space to the industry’s remaining holdouts.

Believed to pack a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, the upcoming Z will top all others in terms of power. From what we can see from teasers emerging from Nissan (a crudely lightened image of the provided photo appears above), the 400Z, if that’s what it’s called, will stay true to Zs of yore, with a long hood and short, sloping deck. Heritage will ooze from every curve.

Given that the vehicle arriving in two weeks is a prototype, not a concept, details of the next-gen Z should be fairly baked-in. The real thing shouldn’t be too far behind.

[Image: Nissan]

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