Nissan still holding out hope over beloved Z sports cars
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Here’s a glimmer of hope for any Nissan 370Z fans presuming the rumour the company would end the Z car programme once the current iteration is retired is true.
There has been a reasonable amount of 50th anniversary hoo-ha this year as Nissan celebrates a milestone for the sports coupe lineage. But you also get the sense it doesn’t know what to do with the 370Z; not when the Leaf and SUV range are such a strong focus. Niche models don’t often get a pass just because they have heritage behind them in the modern car industry.
The idea that the 370Z (which was given a bit of a birthday tart-up for its celebratory year) will struggle to meet future emissions regulations has decreased the likelihood it will live on.
Yet when speaking to UK motoring outlet, Auto Express last week, Nissan’s senior vice-president for design, Alfonso Albaisa, said the brand would “never leave this alone. It’s in our soul. You can feel this in other Nissan designs, like the new Ariya [concept car].
“It’s not just about fuel efficiency, it wants to be driven, for the love of driving,” he said.
When asked point-blank whether the 370Z would get a successor, Albaisa dropped a clue about what might be being discussed in the Z department.
“The current car has been a long time in the dealerships, and so you could imagine Giovanni [Arroba, Nissan’s design boss for electric vehicles] and the designers working on it.”
Perhaps Nissan has seen what Porsche has achieved with the forthcoming Taycan, and Volkswagen with the ID.3 and is planning on going “performance electric” with the Z?
It has the engineering in place — the Leaf is the biggest-selling EV — and a sportier electric counterpoint to the zero emissions hatchback could be a great marketing tool.
Watch this space.