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Why it took so long for Nissan to build another Z

It has been 12 years since Nissan launched its last Z car, the 370Z.

Nissan’s next sports car has been previewed in the form of the just-revealed Z Proto, 12 years since the 370Z first hit showrooms in 2008.

Why so long between drinks?

Speaking to journalists after the reveal of the Z proto, Nissan Z, GT-R and Nismo product specialist Hiroshi Tamura said it was a simple case of timing the market.

“If customers said, or are saying, ‘no thank-you’, then we have to stop,” he said. “(It was also about) how we can make a story … or a product … using the most appropriate business model.

“That’s the other – I don’t want to say issue – but the balance. If the market says give me this kind of accessibly priced sports car, why not.

“If audience says ‘no thank you’, that is fair, and this is not (a) happy (result) for the executives … and that’s why the timing is also very important.”

  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto
  • Nissan Z Proto Nissan Z Proto

So, it seems now is the time when the business case has stacked up to produce a new Z, though exactly how new it is, is still in contention.

Nissan is yet to confirm what platform will underpin the next Z car, but it is understood to be an iteration of the Infiniti Q60/Nissan 370Z FM architecture, itself an evolution of the 350Z.

The engine is also rumoured to be the existing 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 from the Red Sport variants of the Infiniti Q50 and Q60, likely contributing to some cost savings.

Inside, the Z Proto looks to also carryover some cabin pieces from its 370Z predecessor, but new elements include the instrument cluster and multimedia system.

Mr Tamura also revealed work first started on the next-gen Z when he penned an idea in March 2017 to show Nissan executives, with the vision culminating in the retro-inspired Z Proto.

However, Mr Tamura noted that the production version of the Z Proto – rumoured to be called 400Z – will do the Z car heritage proud, and noted it is a standalone model unlike some other sports car competitors.

“Our Z is Z, Z is standalone,” he said.

“That kind of 50 years of historical car, (it) must reflect our heritage.”

Of note, Toyota’s new Supra shares much of its componentry as the BMW Z4, with both built on the same assembly line in Gratz, Austria and the former using the engine, transmission, interior trim and platform as the latter.