The Nissan Z Proto looked awfully production-ready when we first saw it in September and filings at Australia’s patent office, found by CarExpert and apparently registered in November, provide further indication the final version will look just like the concept.
You have to look real closely at these renders to see any visual differences between the Z Proto and the production car, which everyone has unofficially dubbed the 400Z. Note the reflectors on the rear fenders — the Z Proto lacked those details. The door handles are more fleshed out, though side mirrors are absent in this rendering, unlike on the concept.
Otherwise, what you’re studying is pretty much the Z Proto to a T, even down to the repeating rectangle motif in the grille and the location of the fuel cap. The headlights’ outline is the same too, but we don’t get to see the intricacies of the lighting element structure in the documents.
The path from initial reveal to production appears to be going exactly as Nissan’s CEO Makoto Uchida said it would when the company first showed off the car. “The Z Proto you see here is not a concept,” Uchida said in a live stream at the time. “The look of this is close to final.”
The similarities don’t come as much of a surprise. The Z Proto looked very fit for the factory, especially inside the cabin. Still, it’s reassuring news nonetheless, especially since lots of folks seem to dig what Nissan’s going for with the new Z. (Well, except for that controversial boxy grille. I actually like the boxy grille — I’ve come around on the boxy grille, ok?)
I think Nissan’s struck the optimal sports car design for this car. It’s not fussy, it pays tribute to all of its predecessors in ways both big and small, and yet, it doesn’t look like a mere patch on any Z that’s come before it.
Modern sports cars are getting more bulbous and angular, festooned with Cheshire Cat mugs and copious vents that serve no function. The new Z appears to be a refreshing and honest change of pace from that never-ending game of aggro one-upmanship, and I’m here for it.