Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
April 10th, 2012
Recently, Nissan design boss Shiro Nakamura talked with Australian car magazine Drive and dropped some rather unexpected and very interesting bits of news. Nakamura revealed that Nissan was considering downsizing its sports cars, and that may include a revival of a sub-370Z model. He also revealed that, for the first time in its history, the next Nissan Z may not have a higher displacement motor than the outgoing one.
“I much prefer smaller sports cars,” he said. “It is the time to look at [smaller engines]. With 370Z, we still don’t know if the next-generation will have a smaller or larger engine.”
Curiously, that could make things confusing for Nissan’s marketing department. Throughout the Z-Car’s history, the three-digit number in a particular model’s name signaled how large its engine was — the 240Z had a 2.4 liter inline-6, the 300ZX had a 3.0 liter V6, the 370Z has a 3.7 liter V6, and so on. Nissan could stay faithful to the naming scheme — Nakamura joked to Drive about a 200Z — or abandon the current approach and choose numbers based on the car’s performance like many European car makers.
Besides the possibility of a smaller engine, Nakamura said reducing the weight of the next Z car is a priority and all other future Nissan sports cars will be lightweight.
Other than the news he dropped on the next Nissan Z, Nakamura hinted that Nissan may be looking at the return of the Silvia, which is better known here in the States as the 240SX. Drive says that Nakamura was coy in his reponse, and the time it took him to respond to their questions about a new Silvia suggested to them something was going on over at Nissan.
“I cannot say,” he eventually said, although he admitted beforehand he was a big fan of the idea. “A light, sport coupe is a nice concept, I like it.”
Nissan, in addition to the 370Z, also has the GT-R. Could Nissan support three separate sports cars: a new 240SX to rival the Subaru BR-Z and Scion FR-S, the next Nissan Z, and the GT-R? According to Nakamura, yes.
“If there is a market, we will do it,” Nakamura said.