After nearly 12 years in production the end might finally be near for Nissan’s ageing 370Z sports coupe, with the company previewing the next-generation model in its iconic Z car family on a recent earnings conference call.
Tipped to be dubbed ‘400Z’, the new model was briefly shown off at the end of a video detailing Nissan’s upcoming models, including the Z, refreshed Navara ute and next-generation Qashqai and Pathfinder SUVs.
While the dark lighting in the video makes discerning specific design details a challenge, it appears the 400Z’s styling will nab styling cues from the original 240Z of the late-1960s, featuring sharp LED daytime-running lights around circular headlights, chrome trim along the windowline and a retro ‘Z’ badge on the C-pillar.
The reborn Z car’s body lines are markedly smoother body lines than its primary Japanese competitor, the reborn Toyota GR Supra, while other design elements of note include wide rear haunches, a large front grille and a 240Z-inspired ‘cut’ rear end design.
While we may have received a glimpse at the 400Z’s exterior design, mystery still shrouds around the details of its engine and drivetrain.
The general consensus among recent reports is that the next-gen coupe will ride on a heavily-revised version of the existing 370Z’s FM rear-wheel-drive platform, itself a reworked version of an architecture that can trace its roots back to the 350Z of 2002.
All previous Z cars have earned their nameplates on the basis of their engine displacements, most recently applied to the 370Z and its 3.7-litre naturally-aspirated V6.
However, that’s expected to change for the latest iteration, with its ‘400’ moniker set to be derived from the 400 horsepower (298kW) output of its 475Nm, 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6, also shared with the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 Red Sport sedan/coupe models.
The availability of an automatic transmission is all but confirmed – likely the seven-speed torque converter unit featured in the Red Sport twins – but the option of a manual gearbox is less likely.
A more contemporary and tech-laden interior than the current 370Z is expected, as is a raft of active safety features to allow the new Z to meet the latest five-star crash test criteria.
The Nissan 400Z is expected to make its public debut by the end of the year or early next, however it’s unclear if or how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected those estimates.