Nissan Proto Z design breakdown/rant

Nissan could have redeemed themselves with the new 400Z. Instead we got this.

45w ago

I​f you've paid any attention to the automotive world in the last 10 years, you'll most likely know Nissan isn't in the best place currently. To save their reputation, and possibly their brand they have finally put out a new Z car. Currently known as the Z photo, most likely to soon be re-named the 400Z, the new Japanese sports car is, at first glance quite overwhelming. I've got some pretty strong opinions on it, so I thought I'd share them here. *Disclaimer* The following opinions are my simply my own, and everyone is entitled to their own. If you disagree with what I have to say, that's totally fine. This is not directed at anyone. So let's break down the styling:

T​he Front

Most of the Z Proto has a very rounded, classic coupe style look. Then comes along the front grille. It looks as if the designer forgot to add a grille to the design sketch, and then, at the last minute drew a random rectangle on the front of the car. However, the lights slightly redeem the front. Designed with inspiration from the classic 240Z they have a very retro look. If the grille was more rounded off, the front wouldn't be half bad looking. To see what it would look like with a different grille, and put together a quick edit where I simply rounded off the edges of the grille, and I think it looks much better. What do you think?

M​y edit

M​y edit

The S​ide

T​he side profile of the Z Proto doesn't look that different from the old 370Z. It retains pretty much the same classic coupe look, with some sharper edges on the front and back. Overall, fairly modest looking, but not bad at all. The 370Z has always looked kinda bloated to me, and I think some of the sharper lines on the Proto Z solve that.

T​he Back

O​h boy, here we go again with the squares. If you thought we were done with geometry you thought wrong. Like the front, the rear of the Proto is a bit shocking at first glance. Even after nearly a day, I'm still not completely sure what I think of it. You can clearly see the design influence from the 240Z, however, it looks like they took the taillight design off the Datsun, and scrunched it down into one thin bar. I feel like the rear suffers from from the same problem as the front - it lacks real design. Like the front grille the rear light bar seems to have been plopped on at last minute. It seems very out of place.


W​hat is my overall first impression of the Proto Z's styling? Well, it's a mess. While the car has fantastic profile and overall shape, every other part of it looks out of place. It looks like every section was designed by a different person, each with a different skill level. The whole car seems to suffer from from an general messy design. Certain parts of the car look fantastic, while others look down-right ugly. Nissan made it very clear that the 400Z would have retro, 240Z styling. While it definitely has clear throwback styling, they just don't fit with the rest of the car. Yes the taillights, and front are reminiscent of the old Datsun, but they look out of place on the rest of the car. I had high hopes for the new Z car, and Nissan hasn't delivered. 95% of the time I actually really like retro styling. However on the Z Proto, they've tried so hard to make the car look retro, that they've forgot to actually make a good looking car.

W​hat do you think of the Proto Z? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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Comments (6)

  • I agree with u on the grille definitely. I like the side and I’m unsure about the rear

      10 months ago
    • I definitely think the side is improved over the 370Z. Over the past 12 hours my thoughts on the rear have changed a lot. The Front is definitely not right.

        10 months ago
  • I agree that this is one of the better designed Z cars in a long time that isn’t cookie cutter. You can even see the hints of effort that harken back to the 240Z/260Z era. Why does the front need to look like a goldfish? I get the need for air intake, brake cooling & downforce dynamics but there’s got to be a better way to fold in function with style. How hard can it be? (Clarkson reference I know ).

      10 months ago
  • It's perfect as a friend's would say "noobe"

      9 months ago
  • Are looks the only thing that matters to you people. How can you call yourself a enthusiast if that’s all that matters!

      10 months ago
  • Yes, the front is a disaster, the headlights are uninspiring and the huge rectangular gaping hole is hideous, why any designer thought this was a great design escape me. I don't care how well it drives the front end styling is a deal breaker

      10 months ago