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Nissan CEO Test Drives 400Z Sports Car Prototype, Says “It’s Fantastic”

Although we’re two years away from the start of production, Nissan can’t help itself but wax lyrical about the 400Z every now and then. On this occasion, none other than chief executive officer Makoto Uchida has been asked to drive the Z Proto concept that previews the production model.
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Senior vice president of design Alfonso Albaisa joins the head honcho, and he’s much obliged to remind us that Nissan took inspiration from the original Z from the 1960s for the all-new model. The most challenging task for Alfonso’s team was “to get a 240Z with a low rear end and a long hood” without compromising “the super modern packaging” of the sports car.

Chief product specialist Hiroshi Tamura makes a case for having a “manual six-speed gearbox,” which is exactly what most enthusiasts want from a great-handling car. Toyota, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a stick shift in the Supra unless you go for the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine.

Following a short test drive of the Z Proto, the chief executive officer at Nissan sums up the experience as fantastic. “I really enjoyed it,” said Uchida, adding that Albaisa and Tamura “did a very good job.” But most importantly, the big kahuna “cannot wait to see how we can finalize this car.”

This is yet another confirmation that the Z Proto will differ from the 400Z from an aesthetic standpoint, and that’s not all. Ivan Espinosa, the vice president of global product strategy, let it slip a few months ago that “maybe some electrification” is under consideration for a future variant.

In ICE-only specification, the Japanese coupe is expected to receive the 3.0-liter engine from the Infiniti Red Sport 400 lineup. Nissan also utilizes this powerplant in the Skyline, which is pretty much the same thing as the Q50 sold in the United States but with a different badge and nameplate.

The most potent VR30DDTT in production today offers 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, translating to 406 PS and 475 Nm in European currency. Speaking of which, Nissan won’t sell the 400Z in the Old Continent over a shrinking sports car market and stringent emissions regulations.



 
 
 
 
 

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