Nissan is developing a new Z car - that much is certain. But will it ever make it to market?
Previously, we treated the prospect of an all-new replacement for the aging Nissan 370Z sports car a certainty, owing to a mountain of evidence including prototype spy photos, a newly trademarked "Z" logo, and even statements from Nissan brass.
But just because a development program appears to be underway, that does not necessarily mean a new Z car will ultimately land on the market, especially if brass decide that such a car works against their efforts to cultivate a green, environmentally responsible image, or if it requires more capital than Nissan can justify. We were reminded of this harsh truth by a recent column penned for Roadshow by none other than Nissan's Senior VP for Global Design, Alfonso Albaisa.
We'll remind you that this is a man who, during a 2018 interview, remarked: "The Z car, oh my god. Huge pressure... You can imagine I'm completely excited that I am in the position to work on that."
But Albaisa was more cautious in his Roadshow column, expounding on the standard boilerplate response of "we don't comment on future product plans."
"I know what you want me to say right now: that a new Z is on its way," Albaisa wrote. "I've read the rumors and half the time in published articles there's a quote from me or my partner in crime, Head of Global Product Planning and Programs Ivan Espinosa. It's all highly speculative and unconfirmed."
The Nissan design boss then proceeded to recount the story of what drew him to automotive design and, in particular, Nissan's Fairlady Z, before recapitulating:
"Let's be honest, I think we all would love to see the Z continue... The classic proportions will never go out of style. So, stay tuned, as you may never know what you may see from Nissan in the future."
Way to temper our excitement, Alfonso.
Even still, we're going to go out on a limb and say that a new Nissan Z car is almost definitely coming. Rumored to be called the "400Z," the forthcoming sports car is tipped to have a twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 good for some 400 horsepower, while a range-topping NISMO could make up to a reported 475 or more.