Like many of you, I balked at the $51,365 as-equipped price tag of the last Nissan 370Z we tested. That's ridiculous for a Z, and guess who agrees with us? Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura, who says the retro Nissan IDx concepts could influence the next Z as well.
The Datsun 510-inspired IDx-es have been on-again and off-again for production a few times since it debuted at the Detroit Auto Show this year. While we're definitely in favor of a small, light, rear-wheel drive coupe or sedan like the old 510, Nissan has the not-so-small problem of lacking a platform for the car.
But in an interview with Motor Authority, Nakamura spoke about Nissan's future sports car plans. He said the company plans to stay a two sports car brand, with the Nissan GT-R up top and remaining a supersonic giant slayer. The next one is probably getting hybrid hypercar power to up its game even further.
Here's what Nakamura said about the second sports car, the Z:
"The Z is the affordable sports car, but the current Z has become a little bit more than affordable," lamented Nakamura. "Same as the original Z, it's becoming bigger and more expensive."
Nakamura added that the automaker needs to think about how it can make the Z more affordable and approachable for the customer. And when asked about the success of the Subaru BRZ / Scion FR-S / Toyota FT86 trio, Nakamura acknowledged that it's generated a lot of enthusiasm, and "we have to follow it."
So the next Z could be more like the Toyobaru, lighter and smaller and more sporting than the fat pig it's become. That makes sense. So what of the IDx?
Nakamura hinted that the challenge lies in how you combine the spirit of Nissan's two models. "The Z is a simple sports car; it has nearly 50 years' history." Meanwhile, Nakamura pointed to the IDx concepts as not so futuristic, but very fresh.
"How we can use that kind of approach to get the next-generation Z, that can be our homework," adding that the project to synergize such a new affordable sports car will take several years and cannot be done quickly.
He closed by saying "Z or IDx, whichever" would be the more affordable of GT-R/other sports car pairing. Could that mean the IDx could take the current place of the Z in their lineup, or that it could simply influence the Z in terms of direction?
I feel like the latter is the more plausible scenario, as Nissan seems unlikely to abandon such a well-known and well-loved name for something so much more unproven. Either way, they need to get the Z's price and size down to where it's a more viable car in its field.
Check out the full story over at Motor Authority.