Nissan's design boss Shiro Nakamura said that the 2015 Nissan Z is in development and is at its early phase. He told Inside Line that the new Z would leaner, would weigh less, and is targeted at a wider audience. He also shared that a concept version of the car is also being developed.
It’s possible that the new Z concept will be introduced at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show at the earliest. It’s assumed that a lighter Nissan Z would offer better gas mileage than the existing version. The EPA said that the 2013 Nissan 370Z is capable of returning 19 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway. The 370Z coupe has a curb weight of 3,314 pounds.
The current 370Z hasn’t been as successful as the 2002 350Z, which revitalizes the Z car’s image and had impressive sales in the U.S., Japan and Europe. Nakamura said that the next one needs to have a “stronger impact." He believes that this can’t be achieved by boosting its size since it’s already at its maximum size and instead, it has to be leaner and lighter. The new model features a down-sized engine, most likely a four-cylinder turbo instead of today's 3.7-liter V6.
He added that this would have to be lighter and be more accessible so that more people would consider it. Nissan would need to manage the product planning implications of this move so that the Z is lighter, leaner, and smaller.
That’s because the current car doesn’t just share its FM platform with the conceptually close Infiniti G Coupe but also the G sedan and the Infiniti FX. It’s also possible that the Alliance tie-up with Daimler indicates that the next Z can be based on Mercedes hardware. However, the German company's more expensive parts may restrict the scope for platform-sharing.
With roots that go way back to the 240Z of four decades ago, 370Z's design is that of a typical sports vehicle layout showing a long bonnet, truncated back, short overhangs, and a compact cabin.
Nissan 370Z's dimensions are 4,245mm from the front to the back bumper and it’s stable with a 2,550mm wheelbase, making it quite shorter than its older brother. With a height of 1,315mm, it is shorter by 10mm but broader by 30mm at 1845mm. To make sure that the lower roofline does not interfere with the headroom inside, the seating position has also been shortened, producing a lower center of gravity.
Also, the torsional strength of the exterior has been improved by up to 30 percent against the 350Z, particularly at the front because a bracing bar has been installed above the suspension turrets.
Aluminum is widely used for the back hatch and the doors as well as the bonnet. Because of weight reduction techniques, the overall weight was reduced by 32kg in spite of the additional environmental, safety and luxury parts.