Nissan has to be looking at rivals Toyota and Subaru with jealousy. They have gotten a great deal of attention (and rightfully so) over the Scion FR-S/Subaru BR-Z. Right now, the Nissan GT-R and 370Z form basis of Nissan’s sports car efforts.
Over the years, cars tend to get bigger, more powerful and more expensive. Never is that more evident than with the Nissan Z, which has gone from being a 240Z to a 370Z. Today the Nissan 370Z is an accomplished sports car, and it dings the register more than it ever did. For a young enthusiast looking to buy a sports car, the Scion FR-S/Subaru BR-Z are much more within reach.
Nissan recognizes this. Speaking with the, Nissan design head Shiro Nakamura hinted at a possible change in direction. “I much prefer [a] smaller sports car,” says Nakamura. “It is the time to look at that [smaller engines]. With 370Z, we still don’t know [if the] next generation will have a larger or smaller engine.”
Everyone is downsizing right now, so a displacement increase shouldn’t be needed (imagine a 340Z). The current 3.7-liter VQ V-6 suits the current car well, and the name has a good ring to it. What would be nice though is a new, smaller sports car that is affordable like the original in addition to the current car. The result would go head to head with Toyota/Subaru. We think 370Z should stay as is, while a 240Z or 200SX could slot in below. With all its brand recognition, there is no reason the Z range couldn’t support another model. The Z name would give it some added cachet. If not, there is always an other older name you can bring back, such as 200SX. Nakamura was questioned about 3 sports cars in the future, and he said “If there is a market we will do it.” Toyota/Subaru might be the proof they need that there is.