Nissan's sports car division has been in turmoil recently. At one point the plan was to have a three-tier sports car lineup with a GT-R at the top, a new Z in the middle, and an entry-level model with elements from the pair of IDx Concept cars at the bottom.
Then we heard that plan had been scrapped due to the lack of a business case. The current 370Z has seen minor tweaks since it launched in 2009, but with the competition evolving, there's no question that it's time for a successor.
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The most recent update we heard had the next Z as something in between the current 370Z and the IDx Concepts. That would probably mean something small and rear-wheel-drive, powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder combined with a hybrid system for increased power and better fuel economy.
Today, Autocar is reporting that its sources say Nissan plans to preview the direction of a new generation of Z at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month. And that direction will be a radical one: a small, sporty crossover.
The logic behind a move to make the next Z a small, sporty crossover would be to get new, younger enthusiasts interested in the brand. In case you had somehow missed it, crossovers are all the rage these days.
Could this be Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn's way of consolidating platforms in the name of cost, engineering, and production?
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Note that Nissan already has a small, sporty crossover that's meant to bring new, active enthusiasts to the brand. It's called the Juke, and there are even NISMO and NISMO RS versions.
One might wonder why Nissan would offer two different small, sporty crossovers, aimed at the same demographic.
We've reached out to Nissan PR for comment and were told, "Nissan does not comment on articles speculating about future product plans."
For now, we'd file this rumor as just that: a rumor, and one that doesn't make a whole lot of sense at first blush.