When you think about it, we’re so incredibly lucky to have both a new Toyota Supra and Nissan Z on sale right now. Two three-pedal, six-cylinder, rear-wheel-drive Japanese sports coupes in the year 2023 sounds nuts given the zeitgeist around electrification, yet here we are. What’s more, one of these cars is about to get even better. Here’s a look at an upcoming high-performance Nissan Z variant as it sheds even more camouflage.
Right off the bat, we can thank Autopian user 57sweptside for being awesome and snapping these amazingly clear pictures of this hot, camo’d-up Z-car. This vehicle was said to have been testing in Chandler, Ariz., but was pulled off to the shoulder with hazards on. Needless to say, the vulnerable position of this test car made for some awesome pictures.
From afar, it’s easy to see that this Z gets a much more aggressive visual package than the standard model. The fascias and side skirts really hang low, with pronounced valence bulges that offer a hint of BN-style kits. The rear spoiler is also more aggressive than the one included on the Z Performance trim, now extending onto the rear quarter panels. I definitely dig the extra attitude; it really amps up the tuner car vibes.
Of course, the big development here is how much of the front bumper is exposed. This clearly won’t be anything like the current standard or optional (in Japan) bumper, so let’s break it down. While Nissan hasn’t been able to move the forward radar sensor out of the way, this Z gets honeycomb mesh and a massively opened-up grille. Not only does the new grille extend below the bottom of the radar unit, it also stretches out wider when compared to the standard grille pictured below. Also quite interesting are what appear to be straked brake ducts outboard of the main grille, a great idea for keeping things cool on the track.
While the standard front end does look a lot better in real life than it does in pictures thanks to the subtlety in its shaping, the revised front bumper we’re seeing here holds a lot of promise for those who don’t want their Nissan sports car to look like it’s wearing a retainer.
In addition to the revised cooling apertures, the front bumper styling of this revised Z seems dramatically different from what we’ve previously seen. Instead of a high noseline that curves around the headlamps, Nissan has moved the bumper’s upper character line lower to make it essentially flat. This should make the nose of the car appear lower than on a standard Z even though all the hard points should be the same. The bumper surfacing also flares out just a touch above the grille, adding a nice little bit of complexity to the look of the bumper.
Those with a keen eye for Nissans will recognize the wheels on this Z prototype as being similar to the wheels on the 2022 GT-R Nismo. While they appear to feature a slightly different spoke profile, they’re the right sort of design and application to suggest they’re lightweight forged RAYS units, a favorite supplier for fast Nissans. These wheels are also shod in Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT 600 tires, which tracks well with Nismo tradition. The old 370Z Nismo and the GT-R Nismo both have run on Dunlops, so it’s not surprising to see Dunlops here.
Looking inside the car, I see a wicked set of sport seats. These definitely aren’t the carbon fiber seats seen on the updated GT-R Nismo, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these are sourced from Recaro due to Nismo’s history with the brand. Either way, they’re markedly different than the seats on the standard Z, so expect more support in the corners.
From wheels to tires to seats to styling, all signs point toward Nissan working on a Nismo variant of the new Z. Don’t be surprised if it packs more power, re-tuned suspension, and extra chassis bracing over a standard Z. The good news is that although this high-performance variant will be more expensive than a Z Performance, Nissan has decent headroom for pricing considering how a manual Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium costs $57,245 to a Z Performance’s $52,085. The new Nissan Z has a hell of a V6 and a proper limited-slip diff, but it needs some suspension tweaks and a better shifter to really excel. Let’s hope this upcoming high-performance model answers enthusiasts’ prayers.
If you happen to spot a cool car while out and about, we’d love to see it. Whether a camouflaged prototype like this, an absurdly pristine Plymouth Cricket, an obscure kit car, a ratty Lamborghini Espada in an unlikely locale, or anything in between, our tips email is always open for cool cars.
(Photo credits: 57sweptside)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.
It Looks Like The Nissan Z Will Be Available With An Alternate Front Grille Similar To Something I Proposed Back In 2020
The Nissan Z GT4 Is A Proper Racecar You’ll Actually Be Able To Buy
Official 2023 Nissan Z Pricing Is Out, And It Looks Like A Bit Of A Bargain
The 2024 Nissan GT-R Surprises Everyone With A Facelift, Declares Its Immortality
The 2023 Manual Toyota GR Supra Is Now The Car It Should’ve Been
Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.
Man I love the new Z, but all reviews point to it being a GT more than a sports car. Hopefully this fixes some of those complaints
I feel bad for the guy in the car. I’ve been caught on video in a camouflaged prototype, and it sucks. We were doing a driver change and spent a couple of minutes adjusting 4-point harnesses while a couple of kids videoed us through the window.
At least we didn’t make the car look broken by putting the hazards on.
Changes to the Z? Yeah, okay, but mostly, I love the wrap. I want some for my van.
Looks like they might be going for a “G nose” look with the lowered top grille line.
Those as my first thought when I saw that character line. I’m sure the car will be revealed in white with red accents, but I’d love to see it in that deep burgundy (not the current colour available to this model) with black accenting.
Camouflaged prototypes are so common here in SE Michigan that I never think to take pictures of them. I drove by a large pickup in camo in the Costco parking lot just yesterday. The usual brick of doom that is a modern full-size pickup is nowhere near as interesting as a new Z model, however.
I saw one in SF a year ago, but none since.
Also appears to be different front brake calipers than the Akebonos that the Nismo/sports have used for years. Curious to see more about those.
I saw my first new Z on the road the other day, they look sharp! I know a lot of people weren’t fans of the design but I dig it, it’s so much nicer than most cars now with their excessive creases, character lines, etc..
People didn’t like the design? Most of the negatives I’ve heard were around things like interior and handling not improving enough to keep up with the Mustang, Supra, and 2-series.
blog.stillen.com or Stillen.com, there is a test of the Z as well as an article on the new Stillen Exhaust for the same. I expect they will follow tradition and introduce a front bumper/spoiler kit very soon. They are a quality source of race tested hi po stuff.
Give me a pencil and three hours AND I WILL SOLVE THAT MAZE.
I’m going to make a bold assumption, well not that bold, but almost the whole front will be consumed by black plastic, with mostly fake grille. After all, most of the grille in the current regular Z is fake.
To be fair though… when it comes to faux intakes and aero, the Z is the most genuine car in production outside of an EV. The rectangular grille opening is literally all it has.
The bumper opening here sure looks functional. It’s not blocked off plastic honeycomb, at least.
Most of it’s grille is fake though https://opposite-lock.com/topic/46576/the-z-but-with-only-functional-grille/1?_=1680113790194
I think we all know and agree with that though? Not really relevant to my comment.
I wonder if a bumper change across the line might occur, such as the 2019/2020 camaro