The new Nissan Z is the first car in design boss Alfonso Albaisa’s career designed primarily to cater to existing fans.
Speaking at the launch in New York, Mr Albaisa told CarExpert the new Z was the “first project I’ve had in 33 years where we didn’t need the traditional method of development”.
Where the usual Nissan development process focuses on “future customers” and bringing new buyers to the brand or the model, the Z was developed “mainly” for existing owners and Z-car enthusiasts.
With that in mind, the design team “studied deeply the meaning of each Z and what areas are important with the Z”.
Nissan also reached out to existing Z owners, as well as racers who use the car.
That plays out in the car’s smaller details, such as the door handles.
According to Mr Albaisa, it was American journalist, designer, and race car driver Peter Brock who insisted the design chief “suck those door handles into the car”.
Indeed, the vertical door handles are one of the elements with which Mr Albaisa is proudest.
He was adamant that the Z would have handles that sat almost flush with body, unlike the units on the 350Z and 370Z, which protrude quite significantly.
They also serve as a meeting place for the curved hump over the rear wheel arches and the falling shoulder line the extends from the bonnet’s edge all the way through the doors.
Bigger picture, the front end of the Z has been inspired by the 240Z, while the rear borrows heavily from the 300ZX.
The production Z looks almost identical to the Z Proto concept revealed in 2020.
The detailing in the grille has changed, there’s a subtle lip spoiler on the boot lid, and the badging is different – but it’s seriously rare a car hits showrooms looking so true to the concept preceding it.