By on January 29, 2018

2018 Nissan 370Z, Image: Nissan

As we told you on Sunday, Nissan’s chief planning officer, Philippe Klein, desperately wants to hold on to the sporty heritage of the Z name, but doesn’t know how it can fit into the brand’s future lineup. The horizon’s hazy for this athletic occupant of the Nissan stable.

Besides a refresh for the 2013 model year, the existing 370Z is an ancient thing, having first appeared on North American shores in early 2009. The elimination of the manual transmission in 2018 Roadster models doesn’t help its performance image, though segment rivals can take most of the blame for the model’s declining fortunes.

We’re now hearing more information on something Klein alluded to. There’s more Z to come, but it will apparently be more of the same, not some altogether new creation.

Speaking to Motor Authority, a Nissan source claims the existing Z will “be updated to meet future safety and regulatory standards as to not be regulatoried out of production.”

It’s a short-term fix to Nissan’s Z problem, for sure. Upgraded specs and a move away from styling we’ve enjoyed since before the recession could budge the sales needle in the opposite direction. As it stands, U.S. Z car sales are lower than at any point since the reintroduction of the model (in 350Z form) to Nissan’s lineup in 2002. Sales declined 22 percent in 2017.

Still, it remains to be seen whether Nissan bothers with a full redesign for a model that sold 4,614 units in the U.S. last year. Giving the model a stay of execution would, however, hand extra development time to the automaker as it works on a replacement. It certainly seems Nissan has doubts about doing something as drastic as applying the name to a dreaded crossover. Maybe a extra year or two could help it better gauge the market.

In his recent interview with Automotive News, Klein said, “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?”

The Motor Authority source claims “there’s strong interested within the company for the Z to live on,” but there’s no successor confirmed at this point.

[Image: Nissan]

 

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28 Comments on “‘Z’ Won’t Disappear From Nissan’s Dictionary Just Yet: Report...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    In the interest of saving another storied nameplate from extinction, and as it seems Sergio won’t give Tim Kuniskis the Fiata to play with, maybe instead Dodge can enter into a JV with Nissan and give birth to the Razor concept from years past? The additional volume could justify maintaining the manufacturing space for the 370Z, and give Dodge something nimble to sell once more.

    Unless this rumored Alfa 6C has some legs…

    But don’t mind me, I’m just sitting here in my cube dreaming again.

  • avatar
    ragnarlothbrok

    Forget the Z! Make the IDX as an EV on the new Nissan Leaf platform!

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      It blows my mind that no one has done this. Flip around the drivetrain on your existing EV platform, make a small affordable (35k) RWD sporty car that can act as a halo for your entire green division. Give it a ridiculously low drag coefficient and say “Look, we’re the ones who made EVs fun!”

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        As though a FWD platform is able to accommodate a RWD setup just like that.

        I like the concept of what you guys are describing (an affordable RWD sporty EV with styling like the IDx concept), but there’s a lot more to it than simply a minor rearrangement of the motor.

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          Yeah it doesnt work like that unless you think mid engined transverse coupes are ‘cheap’ and will ‘sell’…

          They are better off using their Navara NP23 very light truck utility platform but I doubt people will accept ladder frames and live axles leaf springs in this day and age.

  • avatar

    “regulatoried”

    Yes well, there’s a word and it is regulated.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Update the Nissan inline-6 engine portfolio. Drop the VK engine family. No one thinks of Nissan as being a V8 powerhouse. The company does have a history of building excellent inline 6-cylinder engines.

    Put a 3.0L naturally-aspirated I-6 in the current Z (don’t redesign). Put the turbocharged version in the GTR and make a turbo version for the Titan and V8 Nissan/Infiniti vehicles. Ditch the VQ’s and replace with turbocharged 4-cylinders.

    This will probably never happen because it’s risky. Instead, Nissan will put a turbo 4-cylinder in the Z, which no one is asking for, and the car will die a protracted death.

    • 0 avatar

      They have a brand new line of V6 engines for Infiniti, that’s the way of the future for Nissan after VQ goes away.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’m quite sure the entire car (at the very least, everything forward of the A pillar) would need to be redesigned to accommodate an Inline 6.

      While I dearly love an Inline 6, its not as easy as just dropping it in a car specifically designed for a V-6 (which is much more compact).

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        The 370Z’s engine bay can accommodate an inline-6 with minimal modification. The issue is whether an inline-6 would ruin the car’s weight distribution and handling characteristics. The answer is probably yes on both counts.

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        How about a 15° V6? Still compact while simplifying the design to a single cylinder head and two cam shafts.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          VW already went that direction with the VR engine family. To put it kindly, those engines were suboptimal regarding power output and longevity. Actually, they sucked, and the 2.8L VR6 in my B3 Passat expired early, which was typical.

          I think we are all looking for a way to avoid the inevitable, which is a 2.0L turbocharge four-banger, which would have superior performance and economy, while delivering an utterly inoffensive, vanilla driving experience. Perfect for the sort of global mega-corps that dominate the auto industry.

  • avatar
    George B

    I’d make future Nissan Z cars as Infiniti Q60 minus Infiniti luxury and styling cues. Reuse as much hardware as possible between two low-volume coupes. The VR30DDTT engine is plenty strong enough and 3.0L twin-turbo V6 is well within the Z car tradition. Maybe the Nissan is RWD-only while the Infiniti has an AWD option.

    • 0 avatar
      bodayguy

      Agreed 100%. I would buy this.

      400-450 HP. Less than $50K. Shouldn’t be that hard.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Since the Q60 is on a version if the Z’s (ancient) FM platform, all it would need would be an updated powertrain lineup and refreshed styling to be what you’re asking for.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Yep this is SO easy since its how the current Z/old G line up worked. The Z is (was?) just a G minus the rear seats and with a hatch instead. So take the current Q Sport’s 400 HP twin turbo V6 and slap it into the ancient Z’s body with a few tweaks and keep the price under $40K (more like $35K) and you would have something. Sadly the Q is no longer available with a manual so not sure which parts bin Nissan has left for that. Going into the GTRs bin would price the Z into forget-about-it territory. So they pretty much have no choice but to go down market with the Z given the bargain you get with a base 300 HP turbo Mustang. At this point the Z’s only claim to fame is its a hatchback as everything in this segment is a coupe with a trunk.

        Honestly this is still a tough sell. As I’ve said before the Z occupies a strange middle ground: not enough power (no V8 option) to complete with muscle car crowd, but also not light enough to fit into the Miata/FRS/BRZ world. Thus the V6 turbo makes so much sense here. However sporty 2 door hatchbacks are about the rarest breed on the market today so the development and advertising budget for any new Z must be the spare change found under the couch cushions at Nissan HQ. This is why the Z rides on chassis from ’03.

        Keeping the base platform means good aftermarket support so a clean sheet redesign would actually hurt the car overall I think. Plus the current setup is not bad, just a bit too heavy and a bit under powered. Fixing the weight is a difficult task these days given the safety regulations, but the power problem is solved. Just put the 400 HP twin turbo in there already! However given Nissan’s track record they will just ugly it up and then slap a CVT in there.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          YEs, minimizing investment is key. Not hard to make sweeping styling changes without changing the bones, and AFAIK the transmission is the same. The question is, who’s buying? I imagine anyone interested in a Z isn’t scared to get a used one, and I feel like they are mid 12 second cars with pretty run of the mill bolt ons.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Turbo 5.6L.

      And side pipes.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I am seriously considering picking up a NISMO Z simply to get the seats in it. I first experienced them at the Nissan HQ in Yokohama and I was shocked to find out there were available here. Who knows how comfortable they are on a long trip, but I just freakin’ love them.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Rogue-based 400ZX. Coupe style, AWD. Sub-30k price at entry level. You heard it from Super D first.

  • avatar
    tkewley

    The root issue remains that sports car sales in total are currently in the dumper, and have been for several years. The consistent sellers in that market over the last couple of decades have been the 911, Corvette, and Miata. Sales for all of these have plunged – particularly the Miata. Until that changes, Nissan has no incentive to develop a new Z – or any sports car, for that matter.

  • avatar
    TonyP

    For the life of me, I can’t imagine the car shopper who walks into a Nissan dealer, in 2018, with the intention of buying a brand new 370Z.

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