By on January 17, 2020

While it still makes appearances at tuner events and car shows, the Nissan 370Z has roughly the same marketing heat as a pair of secondhand shoes. Last year, Nissan only moved 2,384 in the United States, with another 701 being sold in Europe — suggesting the decade-old (albeit fun) coupe may have outlived its usefulness years ago.

Its successor remains elusive, but persistent rumors claim Nissan is working on something to replace the venerable Z. Despite the manufacturer withholding any kind of confirmation, details leaked from dealer meetings suggest the brand is going with a heritage-inspired look, tapping vintage Z models for the design.

Whereas the general shape will remain similar to the 370Z, the front end is said to mimic the square mouth of the 240Z and come with nearly round headlamps. Meanwhile, the back half is supposed to adopt elements of the 300ZX.

According to Autoblog, unnamed sources who claim to have seen the prototype at dealer meetings say Nissan is “going back to the roots of the car” with its styling. Design elements from both the 300ZX (above) and 240Z (below) are said to be incorporated; however, spy shots of the vehicle believed to replace the current Z still show it wearing a modified 370Z body. That’s bad news for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the new sheetmetal, but it likely means Nissan is working on its powertrain.

From Autoblog:

From a powertrain perspective, we’re told that a version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 from the Infiniti Q50/Q60 400 Red Sport will be pulled for duty. That engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission only right now, but we’re told a manual transmission will be offered alongside the automatic. As a reminder, Nissan did pair the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with a manual in a 370Z SEMA show car previously, but it still hasn’t seen a production application.

As for a possible Nismo variant in the future, one of our sources also tells us it’s likely that we’ll see this version join the next-generation Z car eventually. Close to 500 horsepower is rumored for this specific flavor of Z.

Assuming the manufacturer sticks with the program, a new Z could manifest in a little over a year. Nissan Senior Vice President Ivan Espinosa even said to “expect something soon” back in October, adding that the car was already under development.

Stephanie Brinley, IHS Markit principal automotive analyst, told Autoblog that a new Z was already well overdue. “It’s getting old,” she said. “I think that some direction in the next couple years would be good. I think it’ll get to the point that safety compliance issues will need to be addressed.”

She also noted the company’s need to restore its image, suggesting a standout performance model could be the ticket. But Nissan has bigger fish to fry. Due to financial hardships, the business has entered into a major restructuring program requiring the elimination of 12,500 jobs. It’s also has to address lapses in quality control, conflict with alliance partner Renault, blowback from the Carlos Ghosn scandal, and a global fleet that’s in desperate need of new product.

All things considered, a low-volume Z car probably isn’t exceptionally high on Nissan’s list of priorities. However, if done correctly, it could show the automaker in a positive light for once. That doesn’t guarantee the 400Z (or whatever they end up calling it) won’t get delayed or cancelled, but it does offer hope that it could be one of the 12 new products the company plans to introduce over the next two years. Here’s to hoping it arrives soon, and with some of the retro moxie we saw on the IDx concept inspired by the Datsun 510 to boot.

[Images: Nissan; MasaPhoto/Shutterstock; imwaltersy/Shutterstock]

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30 Comments on “Rumor Mill: Next Nissan Z Car to Go Retro?...”

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Using the 400 HP turbo is almost a given… what other choice do they have? The real question is can they keep the weight down. I loved the size of my 350Z, but the ride quality drove me to a C7. The ‘Vette weighs the same but pushes out 460 V8 ponies. However its a LONG car at 7″ longer then the Z (but feels like even more).

  • avatar

    Good on Nissan for continuing to beat their head against the sports car wall. I think the segment is eventually going to die altogether except for the Miata on one end and 911s and up on the other, but I’d love it if they’d prove me wrong.

  • avatar

    Nissan is in too much trouble to dedicate resources to something fun.

  • avatar

    Remember when the 370Z was said to be “going back to the roots of the car”? Those were the good old days. A long, long, long time ago.

    • 0 avatar

      I would say the 350Z was much less complicated than the 300ZX TT, so maybe that’s valid in a way.

      Movie quote: “To do “then” now would be “retro”. But to do “then” then was very … “nowtro”, if you will!”

    • 0 avatar

      Is that like the 1994 Mustang slogan, “It is what it was”?

      Sometimes words don’t mean much…

  • avatar

    Believe it when I see it. Hope they get their inspiration more form the 240 and less from the 300

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m still sad about the demise of the IDx. I want that car (unless it has a CVT).

  • avatar

    I was going to make a joke about hoping that this would inspire Chevy to base the next Camaro on the 2nd gen Camaro design but all signs point to GM killing the Camaro to shove the ugly Vette down everyone’s throats.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Having owned a G35 and a G37 this is exciting news. Especially the manual. Honestly, I hope they don’t change the chassis tuning , but really need to tweek the electric steering. The q50 service loaners were pretty Camry-like. Granted my G was a Sport .
    They should just kill the q60 (or did they already?),Skyline and offer a 2+2
    Z that’s more luxurious and go after Supra fans who aren’t thrilled with the styling or lack of a manual option. A V6TT and 2.0T VCT stripper model would be ideal.

  • avatar

    I wish they wouldn’t. I loved how the 350z felt like something contemporary while carrying forth the spirit of the original. Retro only works if there’s a devoted following (mustang) – everything else ends up like the PT Cruiser. Or New Beetle. Or Camaro.

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      I dunno, a z31 or z32 appearing Z speaks to my generation , whereas the current Stang speaks to Boomers, not me, so it could work. Ask any gen 1 NSX fan whats really wrong the latest iteration… it has no connection to the original. AWD, hybrid, no manual, except that it’s less expensive than F-Car, Lambo.
      I’d personally rather have a 911 T,r8, or AMG in the same price point.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Twin turbo V6 with a stick? Sounds interesting…I didn’t think we’d see that much anymore.

  • avatar

    Nissan Z is already very old. How more retro you can go? Just keep it as is and reduce price (or increase if it already has collectible status).

  • avatar

    Snarky, but hasn’t the 370Z been in production so long it looped back around to retro?

    That said, at the sub-30k entry point, this was a true Ace of Base – maybe a bit of a brute, but a performance bargain that I have little hope of the twin-turbo six replacement being. Whither cheap fun cars, I guess.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven a few Nissan v6 powered cars…the G sedan and the QX35…the six had it, and the early non electric steering was pretty good.

    I didn’t even think this was still for sale.

    Hopefully thwy will build in house, and not outsource like Toyota did. The GT-R shows someone there gets it, even if that car hasn’t been revamped for a while either.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Just put the Z32 body on the current car, set the ads to Van Halen music and Take My Money!!!

  • avatar

    Now if only they would bring back the 240sx I would consider buying one second hand a couple of years before it goes back out of production.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    The Z32 is the entirety of the 1990s on wheels. Climb in one, shut the door, turn the key and Cobain is alive, the Russians are no longer a problem, MTV is still playing music, and Monica is hanging out under Bill’s desk.

    Note to Nissan…my generation (X) is incredibly nostalgic right now. We have disposable income, our kids are out or nearly so so we no longer need 4 seats, and unlike the boomers who are more or less in the Buick/Town car phase of life, we are still buying cars and driving.

    If you build it (right) Nissan, they will come.

    Look at what type R Integras and FD RX-7s are going for. Please build this. I will play all of the stupid games and market adjustment BS you can throw at me if I can shut that door, pop in Alice in Chains, and forget the world post 9-11 ever happened.

    • 0 avatar

      Dude how old are you anyway??

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Old enough to have the money to buy a car like this, but young enough to still actually pull the trigger and not use phrases like “But the Avalon’s seats don’t hurt my back as much as this.” or “Awe jeeze honey, this Buick is Swell!” when contemplating the purchase.

        The 90’s were the last great decade…especially if you are a company called Nissan. They should embrace it.

        Anyway, I think “The Matrix” nailed it…Peak Humanity was 1998. It has been a slow and steady diet of Malaise since.

  • avatar

    I think I would spend the money on a 260Z. That inline 6is so much sweeter than the V6 of today. Better bushings, better rubber and it already has a better shape. Minilites.

    Something similar to this.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Here is how I’d play it if I were Nissan:

    Ditch the GTR in the US market. Replace put the drivetrain or a similarly performing one in this vehicle. Put the twin turbo Z back it the top of the Nissan food chain.

    Give us an NA 6 version for the masses. A sort of Japanese Mustang.

    Give Infinity a V8 version of the above. Make 4 doors an option for that as well. This isn’t a new idea.

    Take the above car with 4 doors, install the NA6 affix Nissan emblems and Maxima badges.

    Lighten it, make it simple and drop a 4 in it and give me a modern 240.

    No, they won’t…but it would be cool.

  • avatar

    I’m sure all the current model needs is a black plastic piece added to the c-pillar to give everyone the floating roof design we all didn’t know we needed.

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