Will Dr. Z Help Build a New Z? Nissan/Mercedes-Benz Rumor Points To a New Nissan Sports Car

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
will dr z help build a new z nissan mercedes benz rumor points to a new nissan

The Nissan Z-car has died once before — in 1996, only to return in 2003 as the 350Z. It’s been suggested that the Z will go the way of the Mitsubishi Eclipse and become yet another crossover. But a rumor out of Japan links Nissan with Mercedes-Benz for a new Z, possibly in time for the model’s 50th Anniversary in 2019/2020.

The Japanese site response.jp (thanks, Google Translate) has posted a rendering of the potential new sports car, showing the company’s corporate V-motion grille lined with LED strips, and a long hood that harkens back to the traditional proportions of the original 240Z.

Any news of the Z returning as a proper sports car instead of a crossover that trades heritage for blandness ( Eclipse Cross, Ford Mach 1) is welcome news indeed.

Curiously, the render uses the C-pillar kink typically found on Nissan’s Infiniti brand. I struggle to imagine this making it to production. So does Ben Hsu of Japanese Nostalgic Car, who notes that it would be “..incredibly odd for the Z to have what is a uniquely Infiniti design cue.”

Whether Nissan cares to completely redesign a vehicle that moved only 4,614 units last year is yet to be determined. Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer, Philipe Klein, noted in January that “there is a lot of passion people [have for] this vehicle, but case more difficult.”

When reached for comment, Dan Bedore, director of Nissan’s North American communications, responded, “The Nissan Z is an iconic nameplate. We appreciate the excitement and interest in its future among Z fans and other automotive enthusiasts. We have not announced any plans beyond the 2018 model year Nissan 370Z and, as a matter of policy, do not engage in speculation about future product plans.”

However, response.jp notes that Nissan executives have watched the partnership between Toyota and BMW blossom into the new Supra concept with envy. The existing partnership between Nissan and Mercedes-Benz could yield similar results from another Japanese/German tieup.

Possible powerplants for the new Z include Mercedes-Benz’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo found in the QX30 and Q50, as well as the 400 hp twin-turbo V6 found in the Q60 Red Sport. That long hood, however, hints at another option — the inline six found in the new Mercedes-AMG 53 models (and possibly in a new Aston Martin).

After all, the original 240Z used an inline-six, the L24 — itself a development of a Mercedes-Benz design licensed by Prince Motors for the original Skyline.

[Images: response.jp , Corey Lewis/TTAC, Chris Tonn]

Join the conversation
2 of 13 comments
  • Onyxtape Onyxtape on Mar 14, 2018

    Just rebadge an Infiniti Eau Rouge and call it a day.

  • JMII JMII on Mar 15, 2018

    I'm not holding my breath for the next Z. As mentioned Nissan has all the parts it needs via the Infiniti Q60... well except the transmission since it only has the auto. However the Q60 is too heavy and too expensive so unless it goes on a massive diet and gets cheaper Nissan shouldn't even bother. The sales numbers just don't support making a unique Z and the competition (Pony cars) have won the $ per HP race.

  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.