Nakamura: Next-Gen Nissan Z May Take Inspiration From 240Z
Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura revealed the next-generation Nissan Z could take its inspiration from the Datsun 240Z.
The proposal would see the new Z head downmarket, reflecting the desire to “do something… more practical and appealing to younger customers” in a market becoming smaller day by day, Autoblog reports. The Z would also reverse a trend where the iconic vehicle continues to grow in performance — and numerical naming schemes — at the expense of what the 240 represented. As Nakamura puts it:
We are questioning ourselves in repeating the 350, 370. We don’t want to create 390Z, right?
As for what the execution of the plan would entail, Nakamura says the new Z wouldn’t “necessarily go into the same category” as either the Mazda MX-5 Miata or the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ, pointing to a photo of the GTR-LM Le Mans prototype as a sign of wanting to do something “unique” with the car. He adds the Z could fill the role recently vacated by the cancellation of the IDx four-passenger sports car, parts of which are expected to live on as part of a FWD offering.
[Photo credit: Alexander Nie/ Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0]
As a 2-time Z owner (240Z & 280Z) back in the day, and even a brief flirtation with a '93 300ZX, I never thought I'd find "my" modern Z, especially after the 350Z came out, which made me blanch. But then the heavens opened, and one day I opened my copy of C&D to find that BMW had decided to make a coupe version of the Z4, something they said wasn't going to happen when it first replaced the Z3. And suddenly a car I felt was quite homely as a ragtop, became quite handsome with the addition of a roof. M version? Why yes, if we're doing the coupe, there will be an M. And so I stalked one for months until I could land the deal I wanted to make. I still have it today and want to hang onto it forever.
Smaller? For what?? To fight and pick bones with the 86 twins? The sad fact that's become glaring, in light of how "well" the FR-S/BRZ are doing, is that sports cars not named Miata , order to survive in North America, must demonstrate some utility and quantitative performance value. There is precedent with the 2+2 300ZX and I think the GT-R could benefit from sharing a down-market version of its motor with the Z. Perhaps they should be looking more at the 300ZX, not the 240, for inspiration not only for its looks but also its pragmatism. Oh! And bring Targa tops back! - https://goo.gl/SPj3Rh
The problem with the Z is that it's a neither-nor. It's too big and expensive to be a Miata competitor, and the Corvette is radically superior performance-wise. Ditto for similarly priced Camaros, Challengers and Mustangs. The basics are here but there's never enough motor to make the most of them. Solution? Make it a bargain 'Vette. Right now the Chevy is the only game in town for true high performance at a (somewhat) reasonable price. 1) Ramp up the performance - maybe a twin turbo version of the current engine. 2) Offer a targa version. If they can get 350HP out of the current engine, a twin turbo setup would probably conservatively yield power in the mid-400 hp range. With that kind of power, the Z would be a very formidable performer. Price it at $45,000-$50,000, and you'd steal quite a few Corvette sales.