The Japanese carmaker is expected to be shown in coupé guise before the end of next year, around 50 years after the arrival of the original Z car.
Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa said that he was in favour of a new Z car to replace the 370Z, in a conversation with our sister publication, Autocar UK, last year. He said the sports car market was a challenging one but was “personally advocating” a new Z car.
The forthcoming model is known internally as the Z35 – a codename that continues a process started with the Z31 model launched in 1983. Senior officials from Nissan say that it has been paired with the next Infiniti Q60, with which it will share its rear-wheel-drive platform, engine line-up and electric system.
Dimensionally, the new Z car is set to mirror the more upmarket Q60. At about 4,520mm long, 1,890mm wide and 1,240mm tall, it will be slightly larger than the 370Z. In addition to its coupé version, Nissan plans a successor to the 370Z Roadster – although this model is unlikely to arrive in showrooms until 2021.
Power for the new coupé and convertible, which insiders suggest could be called the 400Z, is planned to come from Nissan’s 3.0-litre V6 engine used in a number of existing models, including Infiniti's Q50 and Q60. In standard versions of the new Z car, the engine – which has a 60deg vee angle – is expected to run a similar state of tune to that of the Q60, which develops 405hp and 475Nm of torque. By comparison, the outgoing 370Z has a turbocharged 3.7-litre V6 powerplant that delivers 328hp and 364Nm.
The highlight of the new Z-car line-up is set to be a four-wheel-drive Nismo version. Due to arrive in 2021, this is earmarked to run a powered-up version of the turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine with a claimed 482hp and 612Nm.
It has been understood that Nissan intends to reveal the styling of the new Z car in concept form at the 2018 Tokyo motor show in October. The definitive production version is then planned to be unveiled at the 2019 Los Angeles motor show.
Future generations of the Z model are understood to have been in doubt because of struggling profitability in the sports car segment. Honda has admitted a similar quandary about an S2000 replacement and Toyota and BMW have teamed up in order to cut costs in the creation of their respective forthcoming Supra and Z4 sports cars.