Next Nissan Z-car to retain manual transmission

The teaser campaign for the Nissan Z Proto continues, this time revealing a manual gearstick

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The Nissan Z Proto has been teased once again, this time flaunting its use of a manual transmission. The car is due to be revealed in full on September 15, and as its name suggests will be a near production-spec prototype of the road-going model we’ll see next year.

The new image shows off the clear presence of a manual gearstick, essentially confirming that Nissan’s retro-inspired coupe will retain its traditional gearbox when it arrives in production form. Ahead of the actual gearstick are two buttons, which are likely to be the on/off button for the auto-blip function, as found in the current 370Z, and possibly the engine start button.

This teaser coincides with the simple line sketch revealed by Nissan’s VP of global design, Alfonso Albaisa, revealing the clear retro inspiration the next Z will take. The shorn rear end, horizontal rear lights and C-pillar badge are all hallmarks of the original 240Z, which look to be reprised here. The nose will be clean and simple, with a large grille opening and curved daytime running lights drawing up to a relatively upright windscreen. The blacked-out A-pillars create a quasi-wraparound look for the glasshouse, a nod to the contemporary R35 GT-R, and the overall silhouette is that of compact front-engined rear-wheel-drive coupe.

The flat sloping roofline is more angular and rigidly surfaced than on the outgoing 370Z and preceding 350Z, and accentuated by a clear line of brightwork along the window line. The rear quarters are less curvaceous than those of its immediate Z-car predecessors too, once again mimicking earlier Z models from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

What exactly will power this new Z coupe is as yet unknown, but Nissan’s VR30DDTT twin-turbocharged 3-litre V6 petrol engine (as found in the Japanese-market Skyline saloon and Infiniti Q50/Q60 twins) is one candidate, with plenty of scope for a suitably high power output. In that engine’s current application, power is rated at up to 394bhp, a figure that would place the new Z right in the crosshairs of sports coupe rivals such as the Toyota Supra, Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 and Audi TT RS. 

Alternatively, the 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the Alpine A110 and Renault Megane RS could also be utilised, with more like 250-300bhp, making for a less costly car to rival smaller sports models such as the incoming Toyota GR86.

Whatever form the new Nissan Z sports car takes, it’ll be a welcome distraction from what has been a controversial 12 months for the company, and the welcome continuation of a legendary Japanese nameplate. 

This article originally appeared at evo.co.uk

Copyright © evo UK, Dennis Publishing

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