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The Best Option For Nissan To keep Z Cars Relevant and The 4 Liter 400Z

As Nissan continues to increase engine size with the 400Z to keep up with the horsepower wars, it should consider other ways to bring the Z back to the forefront and make it relevant again.
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Where do we stand with the future of arguably one of the greatest sports cars of all time? According to some rumors we will be seeing a 400Z coming out in the near future possibly being released shortly after the new Toyota Supra comes to market. But is this really the direction that Nissan should be taking for the fabled Z car?

Nissan Z is Getting Larger

Over the years we’ve seen the Z get larger engines, larger bodies, and larger price tags. I believe that this has gotten away from what the original Z car was all about.

The original Nissan 240Z was all about fun at an affordable cost. When it was originally released in the US market the 240Z cost roughly $3500 or just under $23000 in today’s money. Which at the time was a great deal for your money. The 240Z was able to compete with its European rivals both on and off the track at a fraction of the cost. Speaking of 240Z: Check out these 6 dominant family traits NISMO 370Z shares with the original 240Z.

Now the current generation of Z car, the 370Z, starts at just under $30,000 for the base model, but can go as high as almost $46000 which still isn’t bad considering you get a 3.7 liter V6 engine putting down 332hp. But at that price range or less you can get new decently equipped vehicles such as the V6 Camaro, Mustang GT, MX-5, or the BRZ/GT-86. The Camaro and the Mustang both have as much power if not more than the 370Z and the MX-5 and BRZ/GT-86 handle just as well if not better than the 370Z.

So where does that leave the 370Z in the sports car market? It leaves the Z car in ‘sports car limbo’. The market is rife with amazing sports cars that just seem to be better money for value.

A 4 Liter Z Car

If Nissan continues with its naming of the Z car the 400Z should have a displacement of roughly 4 liters. Now that would make the engine either a large V6 or push it into the V8 arena. This would also likely raise the cost of the Z and if it does end up with a V8 put it in competition with more expensive sports cars and the resurgent American Muscle cars.

The best option for Nissan to not only keep the Z car relevant as well as bring in new fans for the Z car would be to go back to its roots. With Nissan’s acquisition of Mitsubishi Motors they now have access to the engineering and technology Mitsubishi had. Nissan's best bet would be to use the engine that was used in the last generation Lancer Evolution X that had a 2 litre turbocharged engine producing close to 300hp.

Using this engine would save Nissan thousands of dollars in research and development and allow them to focus on other things such as styling and the drivetrain. What helped keep the price of the 240Z so reasonable was Nissan’s ability to take what they already had in development and mix it all together to make something great. If you were to break down the 240Z to its core you would see that a lot of it really came from the fantastic 510.

Making The Z Fun and Affordable Again

Nissan should bring the Z back to its roots as a fun and affordable sports car for the masses even if that means bringing an end to the horsepower wars and focusing on what made it great in the first place. Use what they already have at their disposal, bring down it’s size, lower the displacement of the engine, and ultimately bring down the price of the Z car.

We are in a time where Nissan is pricing the Z out of the market, gas prices continue to rise (thus the need for a smaller forced induction engine), and many younger drivers who may like the Z car but can’t afford a used one let alone a new one.

Let’s make the Z a sports car for everyone again and price it so that a new generation of people can own a Z car and learn why they are so great.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts about the future of Nissan Z cars in the comments section below for discussion.


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Comments

Agree 110%, the same thing Ive been saying to people. Its obvious but also difficult in this day in age to return to that formula. Its a big risk on their part. Their choice is gamble on a younger market that really isnt there anymore and hope they strike gold and attention with the younger generation. Or Target the older generation and people who have grown up with Z cars and make it more plush for them and to attract a much wider audience. Hence they made that horrific crossover concept
I don't think that the younger market is a gamble or isn't there anymore. The BRZ/FRS/GT-86 is still selling really well and they are holding their value and Toyota/Subaru based those cars off of the original principles of the Z car. I think that regardless of what Nissan does for the next generation Z car, they will keep the hardcore enthusiasts. The 350Z was not overly well received by the general public at first but those already in the Z family ate them up, and now with resale value on them dropping younger buyers are getting into them too.
Pretty sure it won't be a 4 liter..the new Nissan/Infiniti strategy is the numbers on the model mean absolutely nothing. My Q50 is not a 5 liter..and my Q60 does not have a 6 liter. more than likely it will be a 3 liter.
I understand that is not the way Infiniti is doing things, but based off of the history of the Z and what little we do currently know about what Nissan is calling the next generation Z (400Z) the numbers preceding the Z have always indicated engine displacement. The best thing for Nissan to do to avoid such confusion in the US market would be to go with the Fairlady Z name that has been in Japan since the Z car's conception.
I agree with the story. Almost every remotely fun new car these days costs $30,000+ but then again you still get WAY more car for the price these days.
With the MX5 still going, and the success of the BRZ/86, there is a market for sporty coupes that don't break the bank.
I think Nissan would see a large sales increase if all they did was just follow the American muscle car lead and did an updated, but retro look, of the 240 to 280Z cars.
The problem is they are getting into 300ZX territory where it is too expensive for what it is, and there are better options at that price point. It needs to be lower cost, and fun to drive as was the original S30s that came over. It was cheaper than anything that was comparable performance wise, and better performing than anything at its price point. Toyota is killing it with the 86 simply because it is cheap and fun.
If Nissan wants to continue to focus on power and increase the price of the Z car, they need to decide what their competition is. Are they aiming for the MX-5 or the Porsche 911? Once they make up their mind and commit to that direction they should stick with it. I am worried that as power and prices continue to increase with the Z car customers could be caught in the middle. Do you go for the slightly less powerful and slightly less expensive Z or do you spend a few extra thousand dollars and get the more powerful GT-R?
I think the author is dead on right, but totally understand how the company that thought the Juke should go into production would decide a bigger and more expensive Z is the way to go.
If anything I would be fine if they kept the displacement and now focused on stylistic updates and implementing FI to help keep up with the competition. If there's one thing I agree with in the article is that the horsepower wars are over - even McClaren has admitted that. So while I'd like to see a bit more power that could come from FI maybe they start looking to make it lighter?
You may be on to something there. The VQ37VHR has been around for quite some time. Unlike the the 350Z that had 3 different variants of the VQ35 (VQ35DE, VQ35DE RevUp, and VQ35HR) in it's 7 year production life, the 370Z has had the same engine in it since it's introduction. This opens up a lot of opportunities for the aftermarket. As the 370Z starts to age it will be much easier to find aftermarket and performance parts that you know will fit instead of having to check to see if it is the right part for the right VQ35 variants, thus making it a good starting point for a build. The one thing we will have to wait and see on though is how long it takes for the 370Z to drop in price like the 350Z did in order to make it more accessible to the masses.
Guys the original 240z formula will not work in this day and age unless you want an exact Nissan version of the FRS/BRZ twins, which is not a z more like the next s chassis. sorry to say but you move forward not backward the z needs to compete vs the American pony cars, BMW m cars, Supra's of the world. Not become the next hardtop Miata.
Here's a better idea, take the endurance 5.6L v8, drop it in a car on a modified GTR platform, boost power to 475hp change the exterior design to make the car more in line with its rivals (Mustang, Camaro, RC-F), give it AWD, a 10-speed auto or a DCT, high-flowing exhaust, Call it the 560Z and join in the battle. Toyota Needs to do something similar by dropping the 5.7L DOHC I-Force V8 in a Lexus RC platform, give it about 475-480hp, call it the Celica and join in the fun with the Mustang and Camaro. I despise most import cars but if Nissan and Toyota would bring out something like that, give them their old JDM styling on a slightly bigger body with their V8 truck engines beefed up to really run then I'd be interested in possibly owning one. As long as it was affordable.
The creator of the 240z admires the gt86 for being what the z should have been. Lightweight and affordable like the original z. I agree with only the lightweight part because if they use the engine from the q60 which is force induction then that would offset things that would lower the price like lowering displacement. The power to weight would allow the z to eat American muscle like potato chips