Nissan’s stable of performance machinery is a little long in the tooth but nobody’s shoving and blame their way. The market is such that sports cars aren’t something many legacy carmakers can afford to indulge in right now.
The GT-R still continues to eat supercars for breakfast as it did from the tail-end of 2007 until now but it’s clear that the predatory instincts are waning. At the more affordable end of the scale, the 370Z/Fairlady is, by comparison, a spring chicken by virtue of being born in 2009 but it’s still over a decade old as well.
We’re eternally grateful that Nissan is keeping these wonderfully analogues cars alive rather than sending them the way of the dodo bird but some fresh blood is needed; more than the bare minimum facelifts. Salvation is finally here.
Our prayers were answered in the form of Nissan’s peek at the next-generation, all-new Z-car or Fairlady. It stole the limelight in a recent video the carmaker posted on its YouTube account teasing the next generation of its portfolio.
Let’s be clear though, sports cars aren’t selling like hot cakes once again but Nissan will be dipping in its parts bin to give us what could possibly be the 400Z. Rumours indicate the styling will hark back to the original Z-cars such as the 240Z with a lower slung hood, steeper roofline and a squared off rear. The front looks to have half-circle DRLs that might be integrated with round headlights like the 240Z.
Everyone and their mothers have guessed the new Z will share the same rear-wheel drive platform as the Infiniti Q60 but more importantly be powered by a version of that coupe’s engine and boy does she have a couple of enticing turbos.
Side note, Nissan has already thrown us a bone with the new Z-car’s direction in the guise of Project Clubsport 23. It was a 370Z with a VR30DDTT under the hood. Check it out here.
The VR30DDTT couldn’t be more displaced from Nissan’s VR family of engines that includes the legendary VR38DETT in the GT-R. From an uneducated guess, both share V6 configurations and are turbocharged, that’s the only commonality to being in the same family.
However, it has an output of 400hp with 475Nm of torque in the Q60 and don’t be surprised to see that figure climb a little in the new Z. It’s a pretty trick mill with an aluminium block and a 10.3:1 compression ratio. There’s also twin water pumps, twin water-to-air intercoolers, direct injection and exhaust manifolds integrated into heads (like the BMW B58 in the new Toyota Supra). Let’s hope there’ll be a manual, unlike the Supra.
There understandably more electronics in play here with electronic wastegate actuators and even an electronically controlled variable displacement oil pump. The turbos both have optical speed sensors and variable timing is present (electronic for intakes, hydraulics for exhaust).
Since Nissan has made it official that’s the new Z, expect the floodgates to open on details in the coming months. There were whispers that 2020 was supposed to mark its reveal but with the pandemic, that’s been pushed to 2021.