Next Nissan Z May Rely On Less For More

2013 Nissan 370Z

2013 Nissan 370Z

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As automakers grow more concerned with tightening fuel economy and emission regulations, dedicated and limited-demand sports cars like the Nissan 370Z get increasingly hard to justify for mainstream car makers.

A new version of the venerable sport coupe is due to hit the market for the 2015 model year, and it sounds like the next generation of Z car will be built to appeal to a wider array of customers. It will be lighter and more fuel-efficient, too.

Though work on the car is still in the initial stages, Inside Line has picked up some details via a conversation with Nissan’s design head, Shiro Nakamura. Insisting that the next Nissan Z “has to have a stronger impact,” Nakamura says the new generation sports car, “should go leaner.”

A turbocharged four-cylinder engine would make the car lighter, and would probably decrease the price as well, broadening the Z’s potential appeal. Like all future Z models, Nakamura insists the car will be infused with “excitement, substance and agility,” and will likely carry more of a family resemblance to other Nissan models.

This report seems to agree with what we’ve previously reported about Nissan and its direction on future sports cars. While a four-cylinder engine can be tuned to produce an impressive amount of power, would such a car qualify as a Nissan Z (which has always utilized a six-cylinder engine, whether it was an in-line six or a V-6)?

We’re not sure than Nissan can justify a three-sports-car lineup, and there’s no denying that a (properly executed) 240SX remake could draw more customers than a redone Z. On the other hand, the Z is integral to Nissan’s corporate identity, even if sales are modest.

What’s your take: is Nissan better off building a lower-performance and higher-volume 240SX, or a new Nissan Z that’s potentially filled with price and fuel economy concessions?


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Comments (23)
  1. "will likely carry more of a family resemblance to other Nissan models"

    It better not if you want to appeal to more buyers! IMO the 370Z is the only Nissan I would even consider buying.

  2. If the 370Z was closer to 3000lbs it would sell better. It doesn't need more power, just a better power to weight ratio. The weight, and the interior are the only drawbacks I see. I'm not saying it needs more luxury, it just needs better style. It looks funky IMO with 3 gauges in the center of the dash, and the weird looking info display on the left of the cluster.

  3. Definitely 3000lb max!!!

    Turbo 4, hell yeah! Where is that merc partnership--use one of their 4 bangers!

    Note to Nissan/Infiniti: the VQ engine is getting long in the tooth!!!

  4. @themishmosh, I agree that the VQ is starting to show its age, but I'd have a hard time accepting a turbo-four Z. I say use a forced induction four in base models, but make a six available as an option.

  5. Kurt - I don't think a forced induction system would fit very well in a low profile car like Subaru and Toyota just introduced. A turbo is a natural fit in compact places.

  6. @Lamar, I agree that a sub 3,000 pound Z is needed, and Nissan seems to be going in this direction. The interior could use a few improvements, but the center-dash three gauge cluster ties back to the original 240Z. I'd hate to see that go, personally.

  7. I find it hilarious how the new dodge vipers curb weight is listed at 3297 lbs with an 8.4 L V10 640 hp and better styling inside and out with bigger everything ... The 2012 370z curb weight is listed at 3245 lbs with a 3.7L V6 332 hp with horrible styling inside and aging styling out side... I do understand that they or in different performance brackets and buyer demands but I just had to point that out

  8. @phil, the new Viper has yet to be officially priced, but will likely cross the $100 barrier. The cost difference between that and a 370Z buys lots of lightweight carbon fiber and unobtainium go-fast pasts for the Z...

    Still, you raise a valid point - the Z is a lot heavier than it needs to be right now.

  9. Sorry, make that "$100k barrier." I'm absolutely certain it will cost more than $100.

  10. The weight has alwasys been a problem with the new Z.Hence the need for Nissan to throw more HP to fix that problem instead of starting from scratch.

  11. As long as Nissan wants to continue to compete with ford and Chevy (even hyundai) in the 300 hp+ department here in America then they will never stop making a v6 Z!!!

  12. @phil, maybe a two-engine strategy makes the most sense. Use a turbo four in base models, but offer a six in higher trim ones (like Hyundai does with the Genesis Coupe).

  13. @kurt... I understand your view point and I agree slightly... Only problem with that is that the Z was always regarded as a Nissan premium model... Adding a 4 cyl base component to the line will devalue that premium image significantly... That strategy may work in Europe but in America even after the CAFE regulations, Americans still like their premium models with big engines! The genesis in comparison has not developed the cult following the Z has relitively speaking and still has opportunities to go up in value or drop value to appeal to its most important buyers...

  14. @phil, the best argument I can use to defend that strategy is BMW. Critics said a turbocharged four-cylinder 3 Series wouldn't sell, since buyers "expected" an in-line six.

    Personally, I'd love to see Nissan bring back an in-line six for the Z, as was used in 240 - 280Z models. I know it won't happen (mostly because Nissan lacks a suitable in-line six engine), but I can dream...

  15. With a six comes more mass to get closer to that 50-50 dream #. Hence the Z is right back where it started from...too heavy.

  16. i think they should go the way of the BRZ/GT86 from the Subaru/Toyota partnership

  17. @Nick, that would be perfect for a 240SX replacement, but the BRZ/GT86/FR-S is a different class of car from the Z. In a perfect world, Nissan would give us both.

  18. Nissan should have seen the writing on the wall quite a few years ago when there was interest in a modern retro of the 240Z. But Nissan choose to give us the Juke and the Murano CrossCabriolet. The sales numbers speak for themselves as to how well these vehicles sold and or selling.
    A modern 240Z with a 2.0L turbo would have fit well for those whom could not afford the entry addmission to the Big Brother "Z".
    Now that Nissan sees what the joint venture between Subaru and Toyota has produced it's time to play catchup or the "Me too" game.

  19. if nissan is looking for any competition with the brz/frs, they need to develop a s16 and thats where a turbo 4 should belong, not in a z where they r known for their 6 cylinders.

  20. Nissan should revive the Silvia and make an inline 4 an option or they could make a new Silvia that has the same platform as the next Z but built side by side with different skin and a different engine. The second possibility adds 1 more name while saving money.

  21. I meant Nissan should make an inline 4 option in the Z

  22. They need to get back to the roots of the Z car. Light, Cheap, and Fast. The newer cars keep getting fatter and more expensive. The 370z is on the way the Z32 300zx went. Overpriced and undersold. When they first generation 300zx came out, it sold more in 1 year then the entire amount of z32s sold in the states. Why? It was cheap, light and fast for it's time. It was compared to Corvettes and Porsche's. Not Mustangs and Camaros... They need to bring the performance of the 370z (z34)up and the price down. Otherwise they need to badge as something else as it is no longer what a z car stood for.

  23. The lower performing vehicle would not appeal to the normal Z owners. As a proud owner of a heavily modified 370, I would never be behind the wheel of a "four-banger"! It might work for the pretenders but never for the Z Cult(IMHO)! The better option woould be to lower the weight and increase the horses!!

    As far as a four banger- Good Luck with that Nissan!!

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