The 2022 Nissan 400Z sports car edged closer to Australia this week, with Nissan filing patent images locally for what appears to be the production car.
While the Nissan 400Z has already been teased with the Nissan Z Proto concept (bottom) unveiled in September 2020, new patent filings lodged with Australian intellectual property officials seem to show the production version of the hotly-anticipated sports car.
Nissan's filings appear to show a showroom-specification vehicle, with changes versus the concept headlined by a hexagonal radar sensor mounted at the bottom the grille, designed to facilitate active safety systems such as autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.
The images also reveal side marker reflectors in the edges of the rear bumper, emergency keyholes in the left side door and tailgate, and parking sensors in the front and rear bumpers.
None of the aforementioned features were present on September's concept, leading us to believe we could be looking at the production 400Z.
The production car's near-identical resemblance to the concept won't come as a surprise to Nissan Z enthusiasts, as the brand's design boss, Alfonso Albaisa, has already hinted few changes are necessary to convert the show car into something street-legal.
"The selection of the name 'Proto' is… we didn't call it a concept car because this is a car we've been developing with our engineers. The chassis, the structure, all of these things, this is a real car – it's just not finished", he told media in October 2020.
"...We often discuss this, it's… we pass the baton to our engineers, because they now own it and they're finishing it and fine-tuning, so what you see has basically gone through the process and it's something that we love, and we feel it's right, and now the engineers are going to do all the very small things."
The Nissan 400Z is expected to be unveiled some time in 2021 ahead of a showroom arrival in 2022.
As previously reported, the Nissan 400Z is expected to be underpinned by an updated version of its predecessor's platform – and powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 borrowed from Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti, developing about 298kW of power and 475Nm of torque.
It's expected to be available with a manual or an automatic transmission.
Despite the carry-over platform, the overhauled exterior is expected to be joined by a redesigned interior, featuring a large digital instrument cluster and an integrated infotainment touchscreen.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more details of the 2022 Nissan 400Z as it nears its debut. CarAdvice has reached out to Nissan Australia for comment on the patent filings, and will update this story with its response.