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From Autoblog -

Nissan is reportedly hard at work on its next-generation Z. According to Inside Line, designers are already churning away on a concept version of the 2015 Z that may bow at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. The report notes that Shiro Nakamura, head of design for Nissan, says the new Z will be both smaller and lighter than the current 370Z.

The model will also be geared toward a wider audience, and Nissan may be investigating the possibility of ditching the tried-and-true 3.7-liter VQ V6 for a turbocharged four-cylinder, a move that would almost certainly help fuel efficiency. The current Z is saddled with a lackluster 26 mpg highway, and strong early sales of cars like the Scion FR-S certainly indicate certain buyers are willing to drop a few ponies for a machine that's engaging to drive and at least somewhat fuel efficient.

Blasphemy? Maybe, but the thought of an engaging, lightweight turbo four sports car is the stuff dreams are made of – it's the "wider audience" part of the discussion that has us concerned as enthusiasts. A smaller Z would likely mean abandoning the Z's FM platform which also underpins machines like the Infiniti G Coupe and Sedan as well as the FX softroader. Inside Line says Nissan may turn to its corporate partner Daimler for some help in the chassis department.
 

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Inside Line -

Just the Facts:

The 2015 Nissan Z will be lighter, leaner and appeal to a more mainstream audience, Nissan's design boss Shiro Nakamura told Inside Line in a recent interview.
Work on the new Z is "at an early stage," he said, with a concept version of the car in the works.
Unveiling of the new Z concept could come as early as the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.


LONDON — The 2015 Nissan Z will be lighter, leaner and appeal to a more mainstream audience, Nissan's design boss Shiro Nakamura told Inside Line in a recent interview.

Work on the new Z is "at an early stage," he said, with a concept version of the car in the works.

Unveiling of the new Z concept could come as early as the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

Presumably, a lighter Nissan Z would return better gas mileage than the current version. The 2013 Nissan 370Z returns 19 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. The 370Z coupe has a curb weight of 3,314 pounds.

The current 370Z has not enjoyed quite the same success as the 2002 350Z, which revived the Z car reputation and sold well in the U.S., Japan and Europe. "The next one has to have a stronger impact," says Nakamura.

And that won't be achieved by making it bigger. "It cannot be any larger," he says. "It's at its maximum size now and should go leaner." By that he means lighter too, with the new model to feature a down-sized engine, probably a four-cylinder turbo rather than today's 3.7-liter V6. "It needs to be lighter, and more accessible to open the door to more people," he adds.

Nissan must also juggle the product planning implications of this move to a lighter, leaner, downsized Z, because the current car not only shares its FM platform with the conceptually close Infiniti G Coupe, but also the G sedan and the Infiniti FX.

The Alliance tie-up with Daimler may also mean that the next Z can draw on Mercedes hardware, although the German company's higher-cost components may limit the scope for platform-sharing.

Speaking more widely about the Nissan range, Nakamura says that "Excitement, substance and agility" will feature in the design of future models. These new qualities will be combined with the above-average roominess of today's models, a task Nakamura admits will be "quite challenging," although the European-market Qashqai and Juke show the way ahead.

"They are already sporty, and have a nice stance. Over the next few years Nissans will have a more consistent look," he adds, explaining that such "a diversified range, from Micra to Titan, is in some ways a strength, but also a challenge."

Inside Line says: Nissan will have a challenge maintaining the continuity of the heavier, more brutal Zs of the past with the next lighter, leaner iteration.
 

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The model will also be geared toward a wider audience, and Nissan may be investigating the possibility of ditching the tried-and-true 3.7-liter VQ V6 for a turbocharged four-cylinder, a move that would almost certainly help fuel efficiency. The current Z is saddled with a lackluster 26 mpg highway, and strong early sales of cars like the Scion FR-S certainly indicate certain buyers are willing to drop a few ponies for a machine that's engaging to drive and at least somewhat fuel efficient.

Blasphemy? Maybe, but the thought of an engaging, lightweight turbo four sports car is the stuff dreams are made of – it's the "wider audience" part of the discussion that has us concerned as enthusiasts. A smaller Z would likely mean abandoning the Z's FM platform which also underpins machines like the Infiniti G Coupe and Sedan as well as the FX softroader. Inside Line says Nissan may turn to its corporate partner Daimler for some help in the chassis department.
This is what got me concerned. "Wider audience". And then mentioning the FR-S. I would like to think that a car like the 370z is a step above the FR-S.

If Nissan is really impressed with the sales of the FR-S/BRZ then they should green light a successor to the 240SX. A new age 240 (or 200 since it would probably be a 2.0L engine) would be perfect to go against the FR-S/BRZ on its own playing field. Offer a turbo 4 as the range topper and that will draw people with ease.
 

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-Motorauthority


2015 Nissan Z May Rely On Less For More
As automakers grow more concerned with tightening fuel economy and emission regulations, dedicated and limited-demand sports cars like the Nissan 370Z get increasingly hard to justify for mainstream car makers.

A new version of the venerable sport coupe is due to hit the market for the 2015 model year, and it sounds like the next generation of Z car will be built to appeal to a wider array of customers. It will be lighter and more fuel-efficient, too.

Though work on the car is still in the initial stages, Inside Line has picked up some details via a conversation with Nissan’s design head, Shiro Nakamura. Insisting that the next Nissan Z “has to have a stronger impact,” Nakamura says the new generation sports car, “should go leaner.”

A turbocharged four-cylinder engine would make the car lighter, and would probably decrease the price as well, broadening the Z’s potential appeal. Like all future Z models, Nakamura insists the car will be infused with “excitement, substance and agility,” and will likely carry more of a family resemblance to other Nissan models.

This report seems to agree with what we’ve previously reported about Nissan and its direction on future sports cars. While a four-cylinder engine can be tuned to produce an impressive amount of power, would such a car qualify as a Nissan Z (which has always utilized a six-cylinder engine, whether it was an in-line six or a V-6)?

We’re not sure than Nissan can justify a three-sports-car lineup, and there’s no denying that a (properly executed) 240SX remake could draw more customers than a redone Z. On the other hand, the Z is integral to Nissan’s corporate identity, even if sales are modest.

What’s your take: is Nissan better off building a lower-performance and higher-volume 240SX, or a new Nissan Z that’s potentially filled with price and fuel economy concessions?
 

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This is what got me concerned. "Wider audience". And then mentioning the FR-S. I would like to think that a car like the 370z is a step above the FR-S.

If Nissan is really impressed with the sales of the FR-S/BRZ then they should green light a successor to the 240SX. A new age 240 (or 200 since it would probably be a 2.0L engine) would be perfect to go against the FR-S/BRZ on its own playing field. Offer a turbo 4 as the range topper and that will draw people with ease.
This exactly!!
 

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We’re not sure than Nissan can justify a three-sports-car lineup, and there’s no denying that a (properly executed) 240SX remake could draw more customers than a redone Z. On the other hand, the Z is integral to Nissan’s corporate identity, even if sales are modest.

What’s your take: is Nissan better off building a lower-performance and higher-volume 240SX, or a new Nissan Z that’s potentially filled with price and fuel economy concessions?
I'm inclined to agree with Motoauthority's quote (thanks Big Boss)...

1. Its not the 90's where the money difference between a 240SX and a 300ZX is significant. The next Z car and a re-done SX price difference today would be in the 10K range, thats the current gap between the BRZ and an STI / 370Z (sport package)

2. As a 90's college grad now mid level professional, you can afford the Z but will nostalgia be enough for you to buy an SX remake? (remember you are no longer a ricer)

3. Economic reality. If I were Nissan, i would consolidate my resources, push out a 2.5L+ turbo 300+ hp Z instead of trying to fund a whole other vehicle which cannibalize my Z's market to some extent. This new Z will definitely cause a stir within the 4 cylinder coupe/sports market and the sales I lose with the V6 die hards I'll make up with new customers. If Nissan can keep this within 5k of the BRZ it could make things interesting.
 

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This is what got me concerned. "Wider audience". And then mentioning the FR-S. I would like to think that a car like the 370z is a step above the FR-S.

If Nissan is really impressed with the sales of the FR-S/BRZ then they should green light a successor to the 240SX. A new age 240 (or 200 since it would probably be a 2.0L engine) would be perfect to go against the FR-S/BRZ on its own playing field. Offer a turbo 4 as the range topper and that will draw people with ease.
+1 totally agree. Keep the Z in it's current market space and if anything bring back the 240.
 

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This is what got me concerned. "Wider audience". And then mentioning the FR-S. I would like to think that a car like the 370z is a step above the FR-S.

If Nissan is really impressed with the sales of the FR-S/BRZ then they should green light a successor to the 240SX. A new age 240 (or 200 since it would probably be a 2.0L engine) would be perfect to go against the FR-S/BRZ on its own playing field. Offer a turbo 4 as the range topper and that will draw people with ease.
Agree completely. Wider audience almost certainly means diluting the purity of the Z as a sports car. It's not my cup of tea but, if I was a Z enthusiast (I am with respect to the Z32 TT), I would be greatly alarmed by these opening comments. Turbo 4 cylinder? Nissan is not known for fuel efficient engines. Since it puts that V6 in virtually everything, fixing the fuel consumption problems for the next generation of this engine (if it can be done) would have far broader and more positive benefits for the company as a whole. Downgrading the car to compete with the FR-S is a big mistake, IMO. I smell Datsun....

Ken.
 

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As automakers grow more concerned with tightening fuel economy and emission regulations, dedicated and limited-demand sports cars like the Nissan 370Z get increasingly hard to justify for mainstream car makers.
This is all that needs to be said. Governments raping the spirit of the sports car for the sake of everyone having to follow the same mass produced rules of blandness. Honestly, every auto maker should be allowed an exemption (either a flat number sold or by %) from fuel/emissions regulations for their <5% sports car model, which won't factor into their "average fleet" MPG requirements.. the sports cars sold compared to the mass of more family-friendly 4-door sedans is relatively tiny, so exempting emissions/fuel requirements on 5% is not going to have an impact, but it'll still allow the sports cars to continue to live on.
 

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Won't be a 4 cyl. Nissans next gen work horse to replace the VQ37 is a turbo 3.0L V6, this will debut in the 2014 Infiniti G30t and follow with the 2015 Z. Expect it to be more efficient in all areas.
 

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3. Economic reality. If I were Nissan, i would consolidate my resources, push out a 2.5L+ turbo 300+ hp Z instead of trying to fund a whole other vehicle which cannibalize my Z's market to some extent. This new Z will definitely cause a stir within the 4 cylinder coupe/sports market and the sales I lose with the V6 die hards I'll make up with new customers. If Nissan can keep this within 5k of the BRZ it could make things interesting.
That will not happen. The current 370Z STARTS at $33k, they aren't going to lower the price of the new model. It will most likely go up slightly. The ONLY way that is going to happen is if they offer a low output 4 cylinder as a base model, a turbo 4 as the middle car, and a v6 as the range topper. Even that scenario doesn't seem very likely to me at this point for that car.

I'm in the camp that I'd rather see the Z move ever so slightly up market (starting around $36k) with the addition of more power and less weight. While also introducing an "economy" sports car like the 240/FRS, that tops out around $28-$29k. I guess we will see! I'm just surprised to the Z already due for a major remodel.

Alex
 

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I guess we will see! I'm just surprised to the Z already due for a major remodel.
Surprised? There really hasn't been much overall design change since the 350Z came out in 2003. Most of it has been minor cosmetic/engine tweaks.. but nothing major. 10+ years for a sports car model is an eternity.
 

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That will not happen. The current 370Z STARTS at $33k, they aren't going to lower the price of the new model. It will most likely go up slightly. The ONLY way that is going to happen is if they offer a low output 4 cylinder as a base model, a turbo 4 as the middle car, and a v6 as the range topper. Even that scenario doesn't seem very likely to me at this point for that car.

I'm in the camp that I'd rather see the Z move ever so slightly up market (starting around $36k) with the addition of more power and less weight. While also introducing an "economy" sports car like the 240/FRS, that tops out around $28-$29k. I guess we will see! I'm just surprised to the Z already due for a major remodel.

Alex
Agreed all over. The days of the 240/Z/GT-R lineup needs to come again.
 

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Surprised? There really hasn't been much overall design change since the 350Z came out in 2003. Most of it has been minor cosmetic/engine tweaks.. but nothing major. 10+ years for a sports car model is an eternity.
IMO the 370 was as much as a major remodel as you can get while still using the same basic shared platform. :dunno:

Alex
 
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