By on October 2, 2008

The forthcoming version of Nissan’s Z-car only gets 200cc more displacement than the current version, but Nissan is saying that improved performance will put the 370 Z on par with Audi’s TT and Porsche’s Cayman. “When we launched the current Z in 2002, it was a symbol of Nissan’s revival, a kind of brand symbol, plus driving performance,” Nissan’s Japanese marketing director Tatsuo Shimada tells Automotive News (sub). “This time with the 370Z, we are focusing more on the driving performance, as a pure driving sports car.” Besides the bump in displacement and power, the 370 Z will be lighter than the outgoing model. Development testing on the Nurburgring and elsewhere has specifically targeted improved handling in order to take on its European targets. Or, in less PR-friendly terms, the Mazda RX-8 R3. The flip-side of all the “taking on Europe” talk is that the Z should probably end up far more expensive than the current model, likely north of the $35k mark. If it can give the Cayman a run for its money though, that will still be something of a performance bargain. In other words, a true Z car. The 370 Z goes on sale in Japan later this year. A U.S. launch date has not been set.

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25 Comments on “Nissan: The Z Is Gonna Be A [Porsche] Contender!...”


  • avatar
    Robstar

    I think for a little north of $35k territory, I’d rather have an 2 year old elise.

  • avatar
    arapaima

    That front end is really ugly. It kinda like those cats with the squished faces.

  • avatar

    Last time they tried going up market they had to pull it from lack of sales.

  • avatar
    factotum

    Finally, they’ve rid the car of its ridiculous door handles.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    That thing is an Challenger/Camaro style porker. It could lose 200 lbs and still be way too heavy. If it goes too far over 35k it is going to run into base Corvette territory and have to compete with 3200 lbs and 420 hp.

  • avatar

    Er, didn’t the earlier ZX (and RX-7, and Supra) die because they priced themselves out of the market?

    I don’t love the Z’s burly-linebacker looks, but I would still consider one because it’s reasonably attainable. If it goes after the Cayman, that will no longer be true, and its appeal kind of goes away.

    I loved the Acura NSX, but I couldn’t afford one of those, either.

  • avatar
    John R

    @Detroit-Iron

    http://www.kbb.com/KBB/NewCars/Specifications/2008_Nissan_350Z_224031.aspx?SelectedTabIndex=1&trid=23

    So…3146 lbs is too heavy? Its going to be lighter than the Corvette (if your figure is correct).

    Secondly, anyone keen on getting a Z may not cross shop with a Corvette.

    [@Niedermeyer]

    Lastly, the renderings above look like they are from Japanese mag, Best Car maybe (?), not the manufacturer. The headlamps are supposed to be reminiscent of those on the new Maxima (not that that’s any better depending on your tastes).

    One last thing about the whole”…well they’re going to price themselves out of the market…” business. Seeing as how this same rhetoric has been bandied about with the introduction of the 350Z nearly 6-8 years ago and the car still sells I think it may be wise to have a wait and see attitude.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    The Z350 is already more powerful and torquey than the TT or Cayman. More engine power isn’t what they need.

  • avatar
    beetlebug

    I agree that pricing it upmarket is going to hurt it. It’ll be the same story of how the 300Z and the Supra got knocked out of the market. There’s a spot for reasonably priced sports cars, especially now that the economy is tanking. Not a big spot, but bigger I think than the premium priced side. The current 350Z is in the “reasonably priced” niche I think (at least the base car). I hope Nissan understands that.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    John R: This looks like a more plausible guess at the production look.

  • avatar
    John R

    Damn. That’s pretty close. I was hoping it would look like this.

  • avatar
    Howler

    Porsche performance or not, this cars design language hasnt aged well. From that photo it seems the redesign is going the wrong way too. From what I read the Z great car on a track, but when I drove it in RL cases around town, or even down an expressway its a total pig, heavy with lots of lateral backlash and rubbery sloppiness I feel a 89 944 puts it to shame. The only design/redesign I actually thought worked was the Honda Prelude, too bad it was so bland on the inside and so fwd. This segment of asian sports cars is just headed for mediocre land(Eclipse), they tend to all look overbaked, like a jet ski or something. The same of the RX-8 R3 Im sure its a great car but I dont watch enough anime to appreciate its japanopop looks or cheapo materials. Plus why keep pushing that oddball rotary engine just make it an option or something it should be ovious to Mazda it scares away potential buyers.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Is the news of this substaintial price increase coming from Nissan or is this a guess on the part of the writer?

    Not for nothing but the engine will basically be an off the shelf item that already exist and will be shared amoung a few Nissan products.

    The platfrom will NOT be all new and will also be shared with other Nissan products.

    There is a very good arguement that can be made that Nissan will NOT increase the price too much.

    One needs to remember why the 350z exist today. It exist simply beacuse Nissan was able to use both a multi-purpose engine and platform to produce it. IF not for the FM platform and VQ engine Nissan would NOT have invested in a sports car.

  • avatar

    You guys forgot something. Autoblog is suggesting that the 370Z will be 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing 350Z. If that’s about right, and if the motor gets about 50 more horses, than we may have a new contenda…

  • avatar
    rpn453

    . . . but Nissan is saying that improved performance will put the 370 Z on par with Audi’s TT and Porsche’s Cayman.

    The TT? I haven’t driven one, but everything I’ve read and seen indicates that’s not what they should be aiming for. Watching The Stig plow that thing through the corners was hilarious!

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Color me corrected. I thought it was in the 3700-3800 range.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    If the base price jumps to $35k or slightly more, it better outperform a sub-$30k RX-8 in every respect. The 350Z interior appears to be designed by a committee of blind men; so, I hope they put a little thought and money into the interior layout and materials. As stated above, at that price you’re runnig into Corvette territory. The current 350Z certainly doesn’t compete with the Corvette, and a little bump in horsepower won’t change that.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    John R….you need to re-read your own link…the current Z weighs 3346 lbs in coupe guise, which is heavier than all Corvettes built in the past 11 years. Not porker, but for a V6 powered compact…still quite heavy.

  • avatar
    matt

    as a current owner of a 2005 Z, i’d rather they improve the interior than give it more power/displacement. but the weight loss idea is great.

  • avatar

    Well, the proof will be in how it drives.

  • avatar
    Usta Bee

    Will it still have the goofy rear strut tower brace taking up all the cargo room ?.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I agree It better drive well. A used 3, 350Z, Vette or AMG have the engine thing down pretty well.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    I normally don’t care much about car’s looks, but this thing better had a rocket of an engine if it wants to succeed. The only thing it’s missing stylistically is a pair of fart cans and articulated purple side skirts, and it would fit very well in some of the neighborhoods around here. Then again, it’s a bit on the expensive side for the pimped-out Civic market.

  • avatar
    John R

    @ doctorv8

    I did read my link.

    The figure I quoted is the assumed weight of the 370Z. 3346 lb – 200 lbs = 3146 lbs.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    John R,

    If they slice 200 lbs off the FM chassis to make the next gen Z car, I’ll eat my hat.

    That would require extensive use of aluminum and other lightweight materials, and I doubt Nissan is dumb enough to move the 370Z far enough upmarket to warrant the increased costs.

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