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Could it be? Nissan reportedly working on 370Z successor, called the 400Z

2020-04-15 04:30

Charlen Raymond

nissan 370z

Nissan 370Z. Image: Robert Hradil / Getty Images

Back in 2002, Nissan launched its 350Z sports car in South Africa. Available in both coupé and convertible guises, the car became a massive hit.

So immense was its popularity that 'EA Games' had it as the feature car on 'Need for Speed: Underground 2.' Oh, what a game! 

After a few years, the 350Z was replaced by the 370Z and after almost a decade, it received a quick nip-and-tuck. Just to keep it fresh and, dare we say it, relevant.

Because let’s be honest, the 370Z trails the competition by quite some margin. The automatic transmission, for instance, is not as sharp as the one used in the Toyota GR Supra, or even the BMW Z4. The Nissan is old by today’s standards, and a new model is long overdue.

In a segment where sales are hovering around single figures, Nissan is left with a big decision: either drop the 370Z from its line-up or bring an entirely new model to market. It would seem that the latter is in the works.

nissan 370z

Nissan 370Z. Image: Robert Hradil / Getty Images

Not confirming anything

Speaking to the UK-based motoring publication AutoCar, Alfonso Albaisa, head of design at Nissan, said: "The Z is the car that democratised sports cars back in the ’60s. Before that, you had to have the money to buy a Porsche or Jaguar. The current car has been a long time in dealerships, and so you can imagine the designers working on a successor, even if I’m not going to confirm it."

Hmm, that pretty much sounds like confirmation that a successor to the 370Z is in the works. 

Rumours are circulating that the next Z car could be called the 400Z, and it is easy to understand why. If Nissan does proceed with its next-generation Z car, the current model’s 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine would have to make way. Given that V6 engines power Nissan’s Zs, the automaker could look to its luxury brand, Infiniti, for a solution.

A twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine does duty in the Q60, where it produces - wait for it - 400bhp. 400Z, anyone?

nissan 370z

Nissan 370Z. Image: Robert Hradil / Getty Images

Will it happen?!

Converting that horsepower figure will give you close to 300kW - substantially more than the 370Z’s 245kW. In the Q60, the power helps propel the car from 0-100km/h in 5.0 seconds. Helped, in part, by a four-wheel-drive system. 

The 400Z, if it does see the light, could utilise this engine and see a slightly 0-100km/h sprint time thanks to a lower weight. Furthermore, the 400Z would have to be rear-wheel-drive, so borrowing a suitable architecture from Infiniti, most like the Q50 or even the Q60 is not out of the question. 

The reason for this would be because the 400Z will sell in low volumes, so there is no need to spend money on an entirely new platform. Just as a reference, think Supra/Z4.

Our take

It’s about time that Nissan gets its act in order and wave their flag again. They are master car builders, and their history is rich when it comes to it. Today, only the GT-R is keeping the brand strong - even if it is also more than a decade old. It’s still brilliant. Still as deadly as ever.

But lower down the price scale Nissan does not feature. Toyota has that space covered with its GR Supra, but from its homeland, there is no competition.

To revive the battles of yore between Japan’s best, Nissan has to come to the party. Also, it shouldn’t be a matter of 'if' Nissan will build a new Z car, but 'when'. Should the car get the green light, however, let’s keep our fingers crossed that right-hand drive markets will be considered. Us included.

nissan 370z

Nissan 370Z. Image: Robert Hradil / Getty Images

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