Automakers are now trying to produce cars that will not only meet emission regulations, but also one with high fuel economy. So, limited-demand sports cars are gradually leaving the scene. What is the justification for producing a car that will not appeal to the market? Nissan is also working in this direction; the venerable sport coupe Nissan 370Z will be replaced by a new version, the 2015 Nissan Z which will hit enter the dealership for the 2015 model year.
Nissan Z took a break, and when it returned in the 2003 model year, car reviewers and enthusiasts gave a warm welcome to the stylish machine. Although it did not come as powerful or as fast as we expected, there were many positive reviews on it and its potential was applauded. After some time we got tired of it. The effect of what we saw faded and sale dropped. The low sale continued even with the release of the 370Z. In 2012 model year, the sale became really abysmal and Nissan realised that urgent solution was needed. That was when the new Nissan Z idea was conceived.
For those who remember the first Nissan Z, you will remember that it was not a powerful car. It was a lightweight car with precision handling and optimal power-to-weight ratio. From the rumours we have been hearing, this is exactly what Nissan Z is going back to. Nissan’s head of design department, Shiro Nakamura gave some credibility to these rumours. According to him, Nissan will aim to combine excitement, agility and substance with above average interior space in its future models, and the Nissan Z 2015 which could debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show will be lighter and leaner in order to have a stronger impact.
The current 370Z coupe weighs about 3,314 pounds; it is the most powerful, expensive and heaviest Z ever made, and it has an unimpressive EPA rating (19mpg in the city and 26mpg on the highway). Your guess is as good as mine; buyers turned their backs on it. So, Nissan’s idea is that if a car that combines the above qualities does not sell, if it builds a direct opposite; one that is lighter, more fuel efficient and less expensive, it will appeal to a wider array of customers especially the youth. This is exactly what the new generation Nissan Z concept is all about, and I believe that Nissan is on point here.
We do not have all the details about the powertrain now, but speculation abounds. The Scion FRS and Subaru BRZ offer better and more engaging driving experiences, yet their base prices are about $5,000 lower than that of a standard Z. In order to be more competitive, we expect the Nissan Z 2015 to replace the current 2.7-litre VQ V6 with a lighter turbocharged four-cylinder. This will bring about a better fuel economy and a more competitive price point.
We are a bit apprehensive about this new car and the potential reduction in horsepower, but we have heard that the new engine can also be tuned to be better performing. Whatever the case may be, if Nissan can really give us a light, lean 2015 Nissan Z with a solid fuel economy, we can actually cope with a little loss in horsepower.