Nissan Doesn't Want a 390Z; Next Sportscar Should Be Affordable

The Nissan Fairlady Z, also known as the Z-car has been around since 1969, making it 46 years old right now. Not surprisingly, the sportscar is currently having a mid-life crisis, and Nissan doesn't quite know exactly how to fix it.
Nissan Doesn't Want a 390Z; Next Sportscar Should Be Affordable 1 photo
Photo: Nissan
The market is shrinking, and Japan doesn't need another unpopular 2+2. So the Z might be going back to its origins, striking both the nostalgia and affordability cords.

"We would like to do something, I personally think, [that] is more [in the] original concept of Z, which is ... more practical and appealing to younger customers. We are questioning ourselves in repeating the 350, 370. We don't want to create 390Z, right?" Nissan's chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura told Autoblog in a recent interview.

When it arrived on US soil, the Datsun 240Z retailed for today's equivalent of $24,000. By comparison, the 370Z is over 30k and would only get more expensive if Nissan chases the performance segment leaders.

If you exclude the Camaro and Mustang from the bean count, the Z is the most popular sportscar of all time, with over 2 million sold. Still, in recent months, the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S managed almost double what Nissan delivered. There's also that million Miatas and the ND generation to consider.

After Andy Palmer's departure, the IDx project for an affordable gen-Y coupe is dead. That leaves plenty of room for the Z-car to go downstream, maybe offering a lighter chassis and smaller engine.

Of course, you can't just decide to make a 2.4-liter inline-6 or V6 to match the original 240Z. That would be economically inefficient and probably wouldn't have the desired effect. But Nissan has an abundance of smaller turbocharged mills it can use. For example, there's 1.6-liter turbo that delivers 218 horsepower in the Juke Nismo RS, or the 1.8-liter turbo that's rumored to be under development (for Qashqai and Pulsar Nismo models).

With so many question marks hanging over the project, we want to hear from you guys. Do you want a 240Z successor or just a 390Z that uses the tried and tested V6 formula?
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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