Last summer, Nissan finally realized nobody was all that interested in another Altima facelift and finally gave everyone something to get excited about: a new Z car, likely to be called the 400Z. What we saw was a pre-production prototype, and I liked the very original Z-inspired styling a lot. I’m pleased to note that this leaked picture of what sure looks like a production 400Z pretty much retains the whole look of the Z Proto with only minimal changes. Also, that black tape over the badge isn’t fooling anybody, Nissan.
These photos were taken at Nissan’s Tochigi Plant, a but outside of Tokyo in Kaminokawa, Tochigi Prefecture. The car appears to be strapped to some sort of transport platform? I’m not really sure, but they’re not stingy with the tie-down straps.
The body lines seem to match the Proto remarkably closely, with only a few details changed, almost all concessions to the realities of a production car, like the large, round fuel filler door, the somewhat more robust-looking door handles (though still vertical and roughly the same shape as the Proto) and, most interesting to me, we can see how Nissan handled the side marker lamps.
It’s a pretty straightforward marker lamp solution; I’m kind of surprised at the rear they didn’t go with one that followed the curve of the wheelarch, but it’s not bad. The front marker lamp is integrated into the headlamp unit, and I think looks good, but it seems to have affected at least one commenter more negatively:
Jeezis, dude, relax! I’m interested in marker lighting, too, but I can’t think of a marker lamp that makes me want to vomit. Get a grip, buddy. Still, they’ve got a point: this setup does likely suggest a U.S.-spec model.
It appears Nissan is committing to that large, rectangular grille, and while I once considered that maybe they should bisect it with a bumper blade of some kind, I think I like it as is, seeing it here.
Compared to the Proto, above there, the production model has a more robust lower lip area there, possibly to deal better with the inevitable small impacts of daily driving, and it looks like there’s no grille mesh below the upper grid of sausage-shapes.
The headlamps appear a bit larger and more rounded, as well with deeper scalloped-out areas below them.
The interior is quite close to what we saw on the Proto, though that shifter thing sure looks like the Motorola flip phone I had around 2003. I’d expect the manual version would swap that for an actual shifter.
I think this thing looks pretty good, and I’m relieved to see Nissan didn’t screw it up getting it production ready — I mean, it’s still based on the 370Z deep down, so it’s not like they were coming from something completely unproven production-wise, but still.
Nissan has needed something new and exciting in their lineup for quite a while. I’m sure they’re hoping this will be it.