Nissan is reportedly working on the next generation of Z car to finally replace the aging 370Z.
The Z cars have always had a special place in the history of Nissan. From the early days of proving that a sports car can be both fast and reliable, to the modern times when Nissan became the poster child for drift and street racing.
But these days sport compacts aren’t what people want. Gone are the days when a carmaker can come out with a new design every few years that will be gobbled up by a sports car-hungry public. These days people want SUVs and crossovers with electrified powertrains and not a tiny, impractical car that can squeal its tires around a bend.
Which might explain why the 370Z has stuck around for so long. Initially introduced in 2008, the latest Z car is starting to show its age. Luckily, we’ve just gotten word that Nissan is officially working on a replacement.
In an interview with Australian car site WhichCar, Nissan Senior Vice President for Global Design Alfonso Albaisa revealed that he and his team are hard at work designing the next Z car, and apparently he understands the weight of the task before him.
“The Z-car, oh my god. Huge pressure,” Albaisa said. “You can imagine I’m completely excited that I am in the position to work on that.”
Albaisa certainly has the chops to get the job done. A 31-year veteran at Nissan, he’s worked on concept cars from the Prototype 9 racer at last year’s Pebble Beach to the Infiniti Q concepts. If anyone can design an exciting new Z car, it’s Albaisa.
Currently, the 370Z has a big 3.7-L V6 that puts out 350 hp. The Z cars have all historically all had large, naturally aspirated engines that provide a throaty noise and instant throttle response, but that might not be the case for the next generation. Emissions restrictions are getting tighter every year, making the inclusion of some sort of forced induction for greater efficiency almost a necessity.
Or Nissan could go down the road of electrification. So far, Nissan has locked down the entry-level EV market with their affordable Leaf electric car, and that same technology could be applied to a hybrid powertrain of the next Z car.
WhichCar suspects that we’ll get more info at next year’s Tokyo Motor Show--it’ll be the 50th anniversary of the very first Z car, the 240Z.