The replacements for the aging pair will be shaped by what customers want.
Nissan’s big 50th Anniversary display at this year’s 2019 New York Auto Show was both a fascinating look into its proud sporting heritage and a stark reminder that not much has changed in its sports car lineup since it celebrated its 40th Anniversary.
With both the 370Z and GT-R well overdue for retirement, chief product specialist, Mr. Hiroshi Tamura was inundated with questions about when new versions of these models would be appearing. Speaking to Motor Authority, he wouldn’t divulge any details regarding that but did say customer feedback would form an integral part in the design of any potential new models.
Tamura said that customers who have had years of experience driving these cars would be in the perfect position to inform him and his team of what it is they want in the next version. If they say the car needs more lateral grip, better brakes or quicker lap times then that will be the goal. The means to achieve this will also influence whether the next GT-R retains its ICE or incorporates a hybrid or KERS system into its powerplant.
The 370Z has also soldiered on for years and its hefty curb weight and old-tech suspension setup make it feel outclassed when compared to the newer competition. Tamura says that much of a feel of a car comes down to suspension design, he cites the incremental changes that have made the GT-R a much more capable machine with each passing year. With the 370Z pricing and positioning are key factors in what can be done with its successor.
Tamura says that the Z is all about balance, it needs the right motor in a body that is not overly light or heavy. The sweet spot in terms of pricing is between $30,000 and $40,000, which also influences the amount of light-weight materials that can be used in its construction.
We may be some way off from a replacement for either the Z or GT-R but it is at least heartening to know that when they do come these sporty Nissans will offer the kind of driving experience that can only be achieved by listening to what the customer wants instead of what the marketing department desires. Let’s hope Mr. Tamura’s plans come to fruition sooner than later.