Ah, what could have been.

The new Z car is finally here, and with it comes a retro-flavored design that takes after previous Z cars including the original 240Z and the 300ZX (Z32). From the squared front grille and rounded headlights to the swoopy roofline and horizontal taillights, the Z Proto plays the retro card quite well. As revealed in a video about the model’s development phase, it appears Nissan also toyed around with the idea of an all-modern design.

These official design sketches show a substantially different appearance compared to the Z Proto, especially when it comes to the headlight design. Rather than adopting the 240Z-inspired look, the car has an almost Juke-like set of slim lights and large illuminated circles lower down the bumper serving as the LED daytime running lights. The grille is also more in line with current Nissan offerings, including the aforementioned funky crossover.

Nissan Z Proto concept design sketch
Nissan Z Proto concept design sketch

The side profile shows a different set of door handles that seem to be taken from the outgoing 370Z along with black side skirts to complete the two-tone look provided by the dark roof and pillars. Different alloy wheel designs are noticeable, as well as side graphics with a race car number in one of the adjacent sketches.

The back is also quite different compared to the Z Proto, showing an interesting two-piece roof spoiler and slimmer LED taillights interconnected through a wide light bar. The rear diffuser is far more aggressive with a giant vertical fin and hosts significantly larger exhaust tips to complete the racy look.

As for the Z sports car you’ll actually be able to buy, it shouldn’t stray away too far from the car Nissan revealed a few hours ago. That said, the company points out the “Z Proto is a development study vehicle and does not confirm or reflect production model specifications.” The real thing is expected to go on sale sometime next year and could bear the "400Z" name.

Source: Nissan

Gallery: Nissan Z Proto