It's not really a surprise, but at least we know.
When Nissan pulled the covers off its Z Proto last September, the automaker previewed the near future for its storied sports car. Fortunately, it's a good future that sticks to the Z formula of two seats, swoopy styling, and enough power to satisfy. On that last bit, Nissan's been coy about exactly what the Proto Z packs under the hood, save that it's a twin-turbocharged V6. Now, we may know exactly what lurks beneath.
An Instagram user with the handle @layersworks posted several photos from Nissan Crossing in Tokyo where the concept car was on display. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, workers popped the hood and that's when the Instagrammer jumped to action. Two photos were snapped, and while neither shot is especially clear with regards to the engine, The Drive sussed out some notable similarities between it and the delectable V6 used in the Infiniti Q60.
To be more specific, we're talking about the Q60 Red Sport. It wields a twin-turbocharged V6 which matches what Nissan already confirmed, but the Infiniti connection tells us it's the 3.0-liter mill that develops 400 horsepower (298 kilowatts). Rumors have long pointed towards this engine for the Z, and looking closely between these shots and those of the Q60, we concur that enough similarities exist to make this a near-certain conclusion. Aside from a special Nissan engine cover, it seems pretty cut-and-dry.
400 horsepower may not sound like much these days, but Nissan's sports car was never a muscle machine. It's also considerably smaller than pony cars like the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro, and that also means it's much lighter. It should weigh around 3,300 pounds, and with an available manual transmission, it could grab Supra buyers disappointed with Toyota's auto-only gearbox.
Of course, we're talking about the Z Proto as if it's a production car, which technically it isn't. However, Nissan calls it a near-production machine, and recent patent images suggest very little will change between the Z Proto and the production version. The name for that car is likely the 400Z – another ode to a 400-hp engine – and it should be revealed later this year.