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Next Nissan Z car will be smaller

The current 370Z uses a 3.7-litre V6 and weighs in at 1468kg. Both figures are likely to drop with the next Z model.

Nissan is stoking up its sports car mojo. It's developing the next-generation GT-R, looking at developing the IDx Concept, and has unveiled a slew of hot variations of the GT-R, Juke and Pulsar from its Nismo tuning arm.

So what's happening with the Z car, with the 370Z having been around for six years and starting to now look a little long in the tooth against new rivals like the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ?

Expect to see a departure from the current car, with a smaller vehicle powered by a similarly downsized engine -- a turbo-charged four-cylinder, according to Autocar -- rather than the 3.7-litre V6 carried by the 370Z. Power is likely to slightly rise over the six's 245kW, while torque will likely at the least match its 363Nm, depending on the expected lighter weight of the new Z (the 370Z rings the bell at 1468kg).

The design is yet to be signed off but Nissan design boss Shiro Nakamura confirmed to the Britsh site that a plan was already in place and that the coming Z "could be smaller" while product chief Andy Palmer pointed to the turbo four engine, adding that we'll see both a standard version and a Nismo one.

With Nissan Australia still working on a business case for the Nismo offerings, there's no certainty we'll see that model here, but we're sure to get the cooking Z, following in the footsteps of the 370Z that arrived first in 2009, and a lineage of 44 years that stretches all the way back to the Datsun 240Z in 1970.

This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott