Oh dear. After speculative renderings of a facelifted 350Z surfaced in a Japanese car magazine earlier this year (below), many dismissed the images as being the product of a misinformed editor and a sleep-deprived graphic artist. Little did we know that the pictures of a be-fanged Z-car were actually well-grounded in fact.
The rather grainy picture at the top of the post was snapped at a recent Nissan event, and it clearly depicts both the prominent 'underbite' of the front bumper as well as the Maxima-esque headlight clusters.
Although half of the car is obscured in shadow, it's still quite easy to spot other fundamental differences between the 370Z and the current 350Z, like the junction between the A-pillar, bonnet and front quarter panel. The C-Pillar has also been heavily reworked, developing a prominent 'kink' and becoming part of the body sheetmetal rather than being integral to the hatch, much like that of its great-granddaddy, the 240Z.
The rest of the package should ring bells for those familiar with the 350Z: The aluminium door pulls have been retained, and those classic wheelarches are also here to stay. The bonnet has lost the bulge of the current VQ35HR-equipped 350Z, suggesting that the 246kW 3.7-litre VQ37VHR that's tipped to power the 370Z is mounted lower than the outgoing motor.
It looks pretty weird, but I've got to admit that those L-shaped headlights are beginning to grow on me: they seem to work a lot better on the 370Z than they do on the Maxima. However, those lights in combination with that front bumper would make this car look absolutely ridiculous in anybody's rear-vision mirror, but I'm sure the aftermarket industry will churn out a replacement bumper to fix up the 370Z's dental work fairly quickly after its launch.
The 370Z is expected to make it's official debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show on November 19.