Nissan's Z and GT-R sports cars are apparently alive and well inside the Japanese automaker, despite rumors of the former's demise. Top Gear magazine reported Tuesday that both cars appear to have a bright and possibly electrifying future.
The latest report puts Jean-Pierre Diernaz, vice president of Nissan marketing in Europe, on the record saying both a next-generation Z and GT-R are a "work in progress." Critically, he used a plural form of "sports car" when saying "they" are a part of the company's identity. Motor Authority reported in January that the Z car may not be dead in light of rumors after a source inside Nissan told us "there's strong interest within the company for the Z to live on," though a successor hadn't been confirmed.
"One way or another, they have to be there," Diernaz told Top Gear.
MA reached out to Nissan for comment on both the unconfirmed next-generation Z and GT-R. A spokesperson said, "The Z and GT-R are icons. We are always looking toward the future, but we haven't announced any plans and don't discuss future product."
Nissan is reportedly looking at electrification for the next Z, while we've heard rumors for some time that the next GT-R will incorporate a hybrid powertrain. Diernaz said electrification and sports cars aren't "conflicting" and a hybrid system is easier to share with other vehicles, rather than just an internal combustion engine. Nissan's move to replace Renault in the Formula E Championship will allegedly help speed up engineering, too, according to the TG report.
Speculation has suggested Nissan will have a new Z car concept ready to celebrate the car's 50th birthday in 2019. However, we expect Nissan will mark the occasion with a special edition model. Don't expect anything over-the-top, but perhaps a heritage paint color, badges, and bespoke wheels. A successor to the 370Z is likely still years away from reality.