Nissan put an end to years of motley rumors and wild speculation by releasing a short video that shows the next-generation Z for the first time. The flick confirms the yet-unnamed model will arrive as a retro-styled coupe.
The current-generation Z entered production in 2009, so it's very old in sports car years. Enthusiasts worried Nissan didn't know how to replace it, or didn't want to because coupe sales are declining globally. The high-riding Gripz concept introduced at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show was interpreted by many as a nod-and-wink way of announcing plans to take the nameplate into crossover territory. Nissan's preview video sets the record straight: The next installment in the Z story is around the corner, and it will once again take the form of a low-slung coupe.
Although finer design details are cloaked in darkness, the silhouette shown falls in line what Autoblog learned earlier in 2020 from sources familiar with Nissan's plans. Stylists looked at the 240Z for inspiration as they gave the coupe a low nose, a pair of LED headlights that each form a circle, sculpted rear wheel arches, and a fast-sloping roofline. Z emblems fitted directly behind the small rear side windows forge another visual link with the 1969 original. The rear end will feature 300ZX-like horizontal lights, though it doesn't appear in the video.
Sources who saw the car at a dealer meeting (and who understandably asked to remain anonymous) told us it will offer a real, touchscreen-based infotainment system. Its basic interior layout will be reminiscent of the Altima's and the Sentra's. The two-seater configuration will remain, and it will offer a generously-sized trunk (for a coupe).
Similarly, official powertrain details aren't available, but we learned the long hood will hide a Z-specific version of the twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 found in the Infiniti Q50/Q60 400 Red Sport. It will spin the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission or a nine-speed automatic. Looking ahead, the range will likely grow with the addition of a Nismo-tuned model whose six-cylinder will deliver approximately 500 horsepower.
We still have a lot to learn about the next-generation Z, like its name (rumors point to 400Z) and its unveiling date. Nissan will publish additional information about the coupe in the coming weeks, and it's not unrealistic to assume we'll see it in the metal for the first time in the next 12 months. It could make its debut online, at a standalone event, or at an auto show; who cares? It's a new Z, and it's coming our way. Sales will start in 2021 at the latest.
What else is in the pipeline?
Nissan's preview video also provides a look at other upcoming models. It starts by showing the production version of the Ariya concept, an electric crossover that will land in the same segment as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID.4. Its overall silhouette didn't change much as it transitioned from a concept to a production model. It will offer about 300 miles of range and quicker acceleration than a Z when it arrives in 2021.
The much-anticipated next-generation Frontier briefly appears, too. Its front end looks taller and bolder than the current model's, and it's characterized by a pair of horizontal LEDs on each side. It's interesting to note that it looks different than the updated Navara — a truck sold in global markets — that also stars in the film. They might share parts under the sheetmetal, but they'll look distinctly different when viewed from the outside.
Other highlights include the next Rogue (which we've already seen in leaked images), the third-generation Qashqai (known as the Rogue Sport in the United States), and face-lifted versions of current Nissan models like the Kicks and the Terra, a body-on-frame SUV based on the aforementioned Navara and not sold in America. These announcements come shortly after Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi outlined plans to re-shape their fractured alliance by cutting costs across the board and focusing on the regions they're strongest in.
As for the GT-R, the firm is making us wait to find out what it has in store. Stay tuned.