The upcoming totally redesigned Nissan 400Z concept and its profound dark rectangular grille was polarizing when it debuted earlier this year. This surprised me, considering it stayed incredibly true to the original Nissan 240Z’s look, but now it appears that the final production car may have literally filled in the gaps.
Pictures of what appears to be the latest, and likely most production-ready development prototypes for the Nissan 400Z have been surfacing online since late May. The latest sharp look at the Z mule was shared to the Hoonigan Instagram page:
You can catch a full gallery of images of what appears to be the same car, or the same design on a different prototype, published on Driving.ca back in late May.
This latest iteration looks extremely production-ready underneath the camouflage patterns that honestly fail to hide much in pure overhead daylight.
Design touches on this mule that stand out to me are the subtle wheel choice that, while dark, is at least not too busy, a nice and large twin-exhaust setup, and while it looks like the sweeping spoiler is apparently stamped into the hatch here, other leaked images show it is probably a stick-on attachment that the camo wrap has been stretched over.
The most immediately-obvious change to the concept is of course the grille—Nissan felt compelled to include a camouflaged crossbar running through the centerline, at least on this mule. It wasn’t on the leaked images from March that revealed a lot and seem to otherwise match up very closely with these new pics except for the grille, so it’s a mystery.
While it’s easy to jump to conclusions and assume this is now represents a painted panel that visually splits the rectangle grille in two on some version of the production car, we don’t know for certain. It could just be the camouflage, and the final result will feature something shadowed-out with darker finishing to mimic the visual impact of the concept.
Another consideration, regardless of the final finish of that camouflaged grille bar (which may replace the circular-honeycomb grille pattern on the concept, or may not), is that reality requires front license plates in many of the markets this car will sell in.
So as much as some of us may have respected a commitment to a large rectangle grille through to production, Nissan may be thinking practically here and offering a mounting point that doesn’t totally disturb the nature of the design.
We all remember the controversy over the face of the new Supra in front-mounted markets, so Nissan has a clear example of what to avoid. This bar, which I’m pretty sure was also hidden away but still present on the concept car, works for me anyway as a visual component to the design, too. Roll on to production before Subaru gets both the new BRZ and just-announced redesigned WRX out.