Nissan has finally unwrapped its new Z Proto, a concept vehicle that effectively previews the long-awaited replacement for the 370Z.

The Japanese firm says the new Z Proto signals its “intent to launch a new generation of the legendary Z sportscar”, which earlier reports suggested will end up wearing the 400Z badge.

While Nissan confirmed the prototype draws its urge from a twin-turbo V6 engine mated with a six-speed manual gearbox (and later confirmed the production model would be available with the option of an automatic transmission, too), it did not hint at any power or torque figures, saying only the newcomer “packs a powerful punch”.

The concept measures 4 382 mm from nose to tail, which is a full 132 mm longer than the current 370Z and just three millimetres more than the Toyota GR Supra. The show car is 1 850 mm wide, while standing 1 310 mm tall. It was developed by Nissan’s design team in Japan, with the styling “communicating respect for the original model”.

In the official images, the concept sports a bright yellow pearlescent paint, which Nissan describes as a “tribute” to a popular paint scheme used on both the first generation Z (S30) and the 300ZX (Z32), along with a black roof.

Alfonso Albaisa, head of design at Nissan, said his team “made countless studies and sketches as we researched each generation and what made them a success".

"Ultimately, we decided the Z Proto should travel between the decades, including the future.

"The LED headlights have two half-circles that hark back to the Japan market-only 240ZG of the ‘70s. The ZG has clear dome lenses over the headlight buckets, which under light give off two circular reflections over each headlight. We liked that unique characteristic and discovered that it naturally fit with the Z's identity."

Interestingly, he added the vehicle "is not a concept or study of a potential model", saying the "Z Proto is a statement that a new Z is coming, period".

The Japanese automaker says the prototype’s rear draws inspiration from the 300ZX (Z32) taillamps, while the side skirts, front lower lip and rear valance are fashioned from carbon-fibre. A set of 19-inch alloy wheels and dual tailpipes complete the look.

Inside, Nissan says the Z Proto's cabin “seamlessly blends modern technology with vintage Z touches”. There’s a 12,3-inch digital instrument cluster (complete with a redline shift point at the twelve o-clock position), a deep-dish steering wheel and plenty of yellow accents.

Hiroshi Tamura, chief product specialist of the Z Proto, said the “Z has always been a strong dynamic performer".

"Z is a balance of power and agility. It is a vehicle that creates a connection with the driver not just on the physical level, but emotionally, and responds to the driver's impulses."