The Nissan Z Proto will need a real name; we ponder what it should be

With the Nissan Z Proto officially revealed, a lot of questions have been answered. We know what it looks like, and it looks quite good. We know it will have a twin-turbo V6 and manual and automatic transmission options, which also sounds good. But it also raises many questions, since the company didn’t give many specifics. One of those is, what is it going to be called? Yes, it will have a Z in the name, but there are numbers and maybe even an extra letter to determine! We don’t have a final answer to that, but we have some ideas for what it could or perhaps should be called.

Whatever the Z Proto is called, it will almost certainly derive its numbers from its engine. Ever since its introduction, the engine displacement has dictated the name of the Z. The 240Z had a 2.4-liter engine, the 260Z a 2.6 and even up to today, the 370Z has a 3.7-liter engine. While Nissan hasn’t given specifics about the twin-turbo engine, we have a good feeling it’s probably a version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 used in the Infiniti Q50. As such, the new Z would logically have 300 in the name.

But in the auto industry, very little is sacred, so this could be the moment that Nissan changes how it picks the Z’s number. This same engine offers a very appealing number: 400. That’s the horsepower of the high-output Q50 Red Sport. And a 400Z of some sort has a nice ring to it. It also takes advantage of the natural increase in numbers over the years. But it could potentially alienate hardcore fans of the model who would want a displacement-based name.

Then there’s the question of whether it should be a Z, or a ZX. The standalone Z has only been used on the first-generation Z cars and the 350Z and 370Z. The three generations in between were either the 280ZX or 300ZX. There isn’t much rhyme or reason for the name changes, but they did happen at generational shifts. With a reintroduction of turbo power, this might be a good time to revive the ZX moniker. It would also be a nice throwback with the 300 name, since the last 300ZX was also available with a twin-turbo engine. Calling it 400ZX would probably be fine, too, but probably overkill, since the 400 alone would make it clear that this new model is substantially different from previous Zs.

In the office, we’re split between 300ZX and 400Z. I’m leaning toward 300ZX, since I think it would be great for Nissan to maintain its naming tradition. But a couple of our editors like the big, even number of 400. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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