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Next-gen Nissan Z to feature heritage-inspired design, sources say

17 January 2020 - Autoblog

Next-gen Nissan Z to feature heritage-inspired design, sources say

The front end evokes the 240Z and it will finally get an infotainment system

Nissan is reportedly hard at work on the next-generation of its legendary Z car (although the company won’t explicitly confirm), and we’re hearing it will have a familiar look. Sources who have seen the upcoming sports car at dealer meetings told us it will feature heritage-inspired design. “They’re going back to the roots of the car,” one source told us.

The silhouette and general shape is similar to the current Z, but the design is all new. The front end mimics that of a 240Z with a square mouth and near-round headlights. Its rear taillights are meant to follow that of the 300ZX from the 1990s.

On the inside, Nissan is finally going to move the Z into the new age. The 370Z doesn’t even have a modern infotainment system today — where one might expect a screen, Nissan instead has a storage cubby. The next-gen Z will get an interior design similar to other new Nissans like the redesigned Altima and Sentra. Finally, it will get a real infotainment system.

From a powertrain perspective, we’re told that a version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 from the Infiniti Q50/Q60 400 Red Sport will be pulled for duty. That engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission only right now, but we’re told a manual transmission will be offered alongside the automatic. As a reminder, Nissan did pair the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with a manual in a 370Z SEMA show car previously, but it still hasn’t seen a production application.

As for a possible Nismo variant in the future, one of our sources also tells us it’s likely that we’ll see this version join the next-generation Z car eventually. Close to 500 horsepower is rumored for this specific flavor of Z.

The 370Z, which is still a wonderfully fun car to drive, is fairly long in the tooth at this point. It’s been on sale since 2009, and it’s hard to tell the difference between one of those first models and a brand-new 2020 370Z. That’s when you know it’s time for a change. Stephanie Brinley, IHS Markit principal automotive analyst thinks Nissan needs to move along, too.

“It’s getting old. I think that some direction in the next couple years would be good. I think it’ll get to the point that safety compliance issues will need to be addressed,” Brinley told us.

Nissan seems to want a change, too. We’ve seen spy shots of what could be a mule on the Nurburgring, and a previous Motor Trend report has essentially confirmed that the car is in the works and on the way.

There’s no hard date for a reveal at this point, but it’s rumored to be a year and a half to two years out still. Nissan has given us a steadfast no comment on everything, but that’s the usual for matters like this. We were told that Nissan has plans to introduce 12 new products in the next 20 months. There’s a chance this is one of them, but we wouldn’t doubt it if a low-profit sports car were delayed. As it gets closer to a final reveal, we’ll be on the hunt for spy photos and every scrap of detail we can find on the next-gen Z. It’ll be an exciting road, as this sports car is essential to the automaker’s lineup.

“It’s part of Nissan’s reputation. It’s part of what makes Nissan, Nissan,” Brinley says. We agree.

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