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Nissan Sketch Previews Next-Generation Z

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Within two weeks, Nissan will finally unveil its next-generation Z sports car. Actually what we’ll get is a concept that will prefigure the production version, but from what we're told, the prototype is close to a finished product.

This week, Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan's Vice President of Global Design, posted online a sketch that confirms that the back end of the vehicle will pay not-so-subtle tribute to one of the most misunderstood Zs in history.

Posted on Instagram, the image doesn’t reveal the overall design of the Z, but it does give us a good glimpse of its rear end. And, as rumours have been suggesting for some time, the lights are four-piece units, similar to those worn by the 1989-2000 generation 300ZX. Their modern interpretation presents them in a more-slender fashion, but the link to the past is obvious.

The sketch shared by the designer also shows the car's plunging roof line. This time, we find the signature of the original model. This is also the case with the logos mounted directly behind the small rear side windows. The door handles seem to be arranged vertically, as on the current 370Z.

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2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition
Photo: Nissan
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition

Let's add to this new perspective the images published in May 2020 that revealed a long hood, very plunging muzzle and pair of LED headlights that each form a circle. While this is not officially a retro model, it's obvious the designers are explicitly looking to build several bridges to the past.

"Projects with huge meaning do not come every day," wrote Alfonso Albaisa on Instagram. He noted that the 300ZX holds a special place in his heart, as it is the second clay model he saw on his first visit to Nissan's design studio in Japan. Some 31 years later, he has the honour of reinventing the famous Z for the 2020s. Along the way, Albaisa also worked on the 350Z.

Nissan will present the next generation of its two-seater as a prototype on September 16. Rumour has it that it will be named after the 400Z and be equipped with a twin-turbo V6 engine tuned to develop some 400 hp. For now, Nissan has nothing to say about that. The configuration will of course be rear-wheel drive, and it's almost certain that the coupe will not be electrified when it goes on sale. That should come later.

The world debut of the new Z is scheduled for 2022, still a ways off.

We'll get back to you on September 16 with more information on this flagship model in the Nissan family.