Nissan has approved the creation of a new sports car to replace the aging 370Z.
The sixth generation of Nissan’s famous Z-car line of sports coupes is getting a little long in the tooth. Originally produced in 2009, the zippy little Nissan saw a bit of a refresh in 2012 for the 2013 model year, but since then it’s been basically the same car.
As it approaches ancient history (at least, for a production car) some have wondered whether Nissan will continue to invest in the Z-car line amidst a world market that has turned away from sports cars.
Last year, Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa told Autocar that he had been “personally advocating” to stay in the sports car segment despite falling international sales and ever more stringent CO2 emissions requirements. And he’s not the only one: Honda is still not sure whether their fabled S2000 roadster will ever get a replacement, while Toyota and BMW had to share development costs to create their upcoming Supra.
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Well, wonder no longer. According to inside sources speaking to the British car mag, a new Z mobile is in the works.
Codenamed Z35, a series of Nissan monikers that started with the original 300ZX in 1983, the new Z-car will be built on the same platform as the Infiniti Q60. It’ll also share the car’s lineup of engines and have the same electronics.
However, Nissan insiders want to assure an increasingly concerned public that the new car won’t just be a retooled Q60, even though on the surface that certainly seems like what they’re doing. The Q60’s twin-turbo V6 engine will be boosted, at least certainly for the NISMO version, while the bodywork will be definitively Nissan.
On the other hand, it’ll also be roughly the same size of the Q60 and have basically the same gizmos in the cockpit.
The bottom line is, carmakers love sports cars for no other reason than the fact they’re great advertising. But, few people are buying them, so it’s getting hard to justify the enormous costs of R&D in new sports cars. Nissan is basically cutting corners to replace the 370Z with something moderately good, and the Q60 fits the bill.
This doesn’t mean it can’t be a great car, however. We won’t find out until the car’s eventual unveiling, with a concept likely to be shown at the Tokyo motor show in October and a production model expected for the LA auto show next year.