The fate of the Nissan Z has been up the air for a number of years. One minute, it seems the Z will be killed off. The next, Nissan is figuring out how to keep the Z alive. This brings us neatly to a report from Autocar which says a new Z car is expected in 2020. But after reading this report, we have some questions as to the validity of this information.
According to "senior officials from Nissan," the new Z car has the codename of Z35 and will share a number of components with the Infiniti Q60 Coupe including the rear-drive platform and engines. Using the Q60's platform would make the Z a bit larger - the Q60's length is 17 inches longer and the wheelbase is about a foot longer.
Power will come from a twin-turbo 3.0L V6 engine from the Q50 and Q60 producing 400 horsepower. There will also be a high-performance NISMO model that will use a re-tuned version of the twin-turbo V6 to produce 475 horsepower and be paired with an all-wheel drive system.
But this report has a huge red flag.
Although it's still early days, Autocar understands that Nissan intends to reveal the styling of the new Z car in concept form at the 2018 Tokyo motor show in October.
Emphasis ours. The issue is that there will not be a 2018 Tokyo Moto Show. It is a bi-annual auto show. The last one took place in 2017, meaning the next one will not happen till 2019. This also puts a red flag on the reveal of the production model at the 2019 LA Auto Show.
This report comes a week after another rumor about the Z car was debunked. Japanese site Response reported that Nissan has asked their partner Mercedes-Benz on developing a new Z car. Using a Mercedes-Benz platform, the new Z would be offered with two engines. A 2.0L turbo-four from Mercedes as the base and the twin-turbo V6 from Infiniti. But as Japanese Nostalgic Car notes in their report, "the automotive rumor mill in Japan is like 1990s Motor Trend on crack." The partnership between Nissan and Diamler hit a rough patch earlier this year as Reuters reported that Infiniti would not use Mercedes' MFA2 modular platform due to cost issues. The new QX50 which was supposed to be the Infiniti vehicle to use this new platform would instead use its own unique platform.
Motor Trend would deliver the final nail in the coffin of this rumor. According to their sources, Mercedes and Nissan did talk about the possibility of working together on a new platform that would be shared between the Z and SLC roadster. But these talks reportedly went nowhere. Also, Mercedes is planning to kill off the SLC once production of the current model ends.
We know that Nissan does want to keep the Z alive from comments made by Philippe Klein, Nissan's chief planning officer back in January.
"The Z is a difficult market. It is rather shrinking worldwide. But we still believe there is a place for the Z and we want to keep it alive, and that's what we're working on," said Klein to Automotive News at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month.
"That's for the midterm. For the long term, there are other considerations. If we do a complete new vehicle, what should it be to keep the passion alive? And we're working very seriously on this — how we can keep the Z alive and refreshing and what would be the next generation?"
As of right now, your guess is as good as ours.