The Japanese automaker still cares about sports cars.
The Nissan 370Z and GT-R are - how do we say this nicely? - old. Both models have been on the market without any drastic changes since 2008 and enthusiasts have grown tired of waiting for successors. It is easy to assume that Nissan just doesn't care about sports cars anymore since crossovers are much better business for the company.
Speaking with Top Gear, Nissan's Chief Planning Officer, Philippe Klein, wanted to confirm that the 370Z and GT-R are still a part of the company's future plans. When asked if a new 370Z and GT-R are still in the works, Klein said, "There are a lot of answers to this question. First of all, it's true that performance cars are 'under the gun' of regulations. It's making the idea more complicated. But the emotion [for us] is still there, for us and for our customers."
"We have the Z and the GT-R, lots of fans, and we are fans of these cars also. I'm not able to give you details, but I would like you to keep in mind that we are considering the future of these vehicles," he added. Following a decade long wait, Top Gear was rightfully skeptical that these new cars would ever arrive and asked why anyone should continue to keep the faith.
"Yes, you should keep the faith, because we do! The driving experience is very high on our priority list," Klein answered while diverting the conversation to electrification. "I don't know how much experience you have with EVs, but they are very fun to drive. If you drive a Leaf e+, it is quite fast, with good acceleration, with a low center of gravity, and it's easy to drive and fun to drive. This is why we're moving to electrification with [hybrid] e-power. In the end, we would like the regulations to take nothing away from how fun the car is to drive. It's not always easy, but this is the direction. Yes, we're still looking at the future of sports cars, hot cars, and fun to drive cars."
We've known for a little while now that the next 370Z and GT-R could both use some form of a hybrid drivetrain, which should help them become much faster and more efficient. When asked whether or not Nissan would have to partner with another company to build a sports car - as Toyota did with BMW on the new Supra - Klein said, "I cannot answer this – what I can say is whatever we do, we have to carry our brand very strongly, otherwise it makes no sense."