Nissan Targeting Porsche With Its New 370Z


Nissan's next-gen 370Z is expected to exceed the current 350Z (pictured) thanks to less weight and more power

Nissan's next-gen 370Z is expected to exceed the current 350Z (pictured) thanks to less weight and more power

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The 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show will be a big event again this year, as many carmakers have model reveals planned. None are more central to the carmaker's brand image than the upcoming Z-car launch expected from Nissan in the form of the all-new 370Z. The latest reports indicate that the company is eying the Porsche Cayman with its new sleeker design and up-rated power, just as its bigger brother the GT-R has taken on the 911 Turbo.

Controversy over the GT-R's rivalry with Porsche's top-of-the-line hardware has arisen just today, with Porsche accusing Nissan of falsifying its Nurburgring lap times. The 370Z's assault on the Cayman's position is likely to be as fraught with tension as the significantly cheaper Japanese car's styling and performance are - for some - approaching those of the established German builder.

The new 370Z, as the car is expected to be called thanks to its 3.7L VQ-derived engine, will feature a significant boost in horsepower over the 306hp (228kW) 3.5L unit in the current 350Z. The same 3.7L engine is rated at 328hp (245kW) and 270lb-ft (366Nm) of torque in the Infiniti G37, and the Z cars have a history of getting the most highly-tuned versions of the shared engine, so up to 350hp (261kW) could realistically be on the table.

Weight loss is also expected to feature significantly in the next-gen Z-car, the better to improve transitional response, acceleration and braking - all of which Nissan thinks will push it into the arena of Porsche Cayman performance, reports Automotive News.

"When we launched the current Z in 2002, it was a symbol of Nissan's revival, a kind of brand symbol, plus driving performance," said Tetsuo Shimada, Nissan's head of marketing in Japan. "This time with the 370Z, we are focusing more on the driving performance, as a pure driving sports car."

Whether the car will be able to live up to such lofty goals, given the nearly $20,000 price deficit between the 350Z and the Cayman is a question that only the trials of the marketplace will bear out. Nissan is also reportedly targeting the Audi TT.

The all-new 370Z is expected to begin hitting the streets of Japan in late December, with an early 2009 sales launch for the U.S. and the rest of the world.

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Comments (7)
  1. I don't see Nissan and Porsche in the same league, this could take on the Stang and Genesis coupe etc.

  2. Ahh remember the late eighties? If you wanted a sports coupe you had to have the 944 Turbo but its party did not last long, why?

    Mazda had an RX7, Nissan the 300Z and Toyota the Supra all of these cars gave people an alternative and by the early to mid nineties in their final iterations these cars eat Porsches for lunch!! Toyota's Supra Turbo was even track tested by Phil Hill in Road & Track magazine against the lastest Testarossa and gave it a complete beating.

    If Porsche falls asleep at the wheel again then history may be up for some repitition! Their current school yard fight with VW maybe just the sleeping pill the Japanese are looking for.

  3. Actually no I don;t remember the late 80's thanks for asking though

  4. Then that explains why you cant see the Japanese taking on the Germans.

  5. i totally agree that it is time for another japanese upset... i just wish that toyota would get in the race and bring back the supra...that would be nice by 2010 the 370z, a redesigned rx8, and a supra...

  6. I do remember the late 80's, (born in 70, so that was my automotive coming of age) and back then, the Japanese had some awesome cars.
    However, if you owned a mint condition Porsche 911 or even (gasp) 928 from that era, it's still a well made, respectable, cool car.
    If you owned an RX-7 (commonly called "the poor man's Porsche" back then) form then, it would be a total pile of **** by now.
    I don't really think you can compare the two, except in performance. I don't see it quite as the same as with the G35 and BMW 3 series.
    But now that the new number is "7" I wonder if we'll soon see the Mercedes 370 or the BMW 337. Funny how they are always playing with those numbers...

  7. theae cheap Car comanys always tlakig about
    comparing Porsche Or Mercedes-Benz
    but i dont think that they will ever built cars like the Germans (not even the american Could) but they just maknig noise for thier cars.

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