When reports came out that Nissan hasn’t started working on the next-generation Nissan Z car, many enthusiasts dreaded the worst. Their worry seems to have been well-founded.
Australia’s had a chance to talk to Philippe Klein, chief planning officer for Nissan, at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, who was unable to provide insight into the future of the Z sports car.
When asked about a successor to the current Z, the executed said:
“It’s an interesting question because there is a lot of passion people this vehicle. This vehicle is still very alive but at the same time it is in a segment that is gradually declining, so that is making the [business] case more difficult.”
You can thank the declining sports car segment and the industry’s gradual transition to electric vehicles as reasons why we might never see another Nissan Z, as well as Nissan’s focus on the Nismo brand. Klein added:
“We have also the GT-R, with which we still believe there is some good potential from this, and we are in the same category starting to make a lot of effort on the Nismo side. Which is another way to offer excitement to our customers leveraging the more conventional side. We have no intention to quit excitement but we’re going to make it happen in different ways.”
If the Z car is to live on, it will likely do so as an Infiniti. Nissan’s luxury brand already uses the 370Z’s front-engine / rear-wheel drive platform for several of its several models, so sharing the development costs of any potential 370Z replacement with as many Infiniti models as possible would improve its viability.
Either way, the future doesn’t look bright for the Z car as we know it.
Next-Gen Subaru BRZ, Toyota 86 Officially Confirmed
The redesigned sports cars could ride on Toyota’s TNGA architecture.
Subaru and Toyota have announced that they are deepening their partnership, which will result in a successor to the BRZ and 86 sports cars.
“To deepen their relationship and to strengthen their ties toward advancing to the next stage while respecting the identity of each other’s brand, the two companies have agreed that Toyota will increase its equity stake in Subaru and that Subaru will acquire shares in Toyota,” joint statement stated.
The Japanese automakers did not provide specifics about what they are working on, but rumors suggest the two coupes could be underpinned by Toyota’s TNGA architecture and source power from a variation of the Subaru Ascent’s 2.4-liter engine.
In addition to the next-generation Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86, the partnership will also see the companies team up on all-wheel drive vehicles and more Subaru hybrid vehicles, and cooperate on autonomous driving tech.
Notably, Toyota has grown its ownership stake to a minimum of 20-percent voting rights, with Subaru “foreseen to become an affiliated company of Toyota.”
In related news, Toyota chief engineer Tetsuya Tada has hinted that the next-generation 86 will drive better than the new Supra.
Next-Gen Toyota 86 Will Have Better Handling Than Supra
A new 86 is coming, and it has the lofty aspiration of driving better than the Supra.
Toyota chief engineer Tetsuya Tada has confirmed that a next-generation 86 sports coupe is under development.
Speaking to Australia’s , the engineer noted that the Japanese automaker has put together “a new 86 team” and has an ambitious goal of building a better-handling sports car than the more expensive Supra.
“We have to make a new 86 that surpasses the Supra,” he said. “That is what the customer expects.”
Toyota has yet to provide any concrete details on the next Toyota 86 and, by extension, its Subaru BRZ twin, but rumors suggest it could be powered by Subaru’s 2.4-liter engine borrowed from the Ascent, perhaps producing around 230 horsepower if naturally aspirated or 260 horses with a turbocharger.
Other reports claim the two sports car will be built on Toyota’s TNGA platform rather Subaru’s new Global Platform, which can’t support a rear-wheel drive model, or possibly even on Mazda’s new rear-wheel drive platform.
What do you hope to see from the second-generation Toyota 86?
BMW Concept 4 Previews A Massive-Grille 4 Series
Its huge grille supposedly “embodies the aesthetic essence” of the BMW brand.
BMW used the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show to debut the BMW Concept 4, previewing the “new face” of the 4 Series.
The first thing that will catch your eye is its massive twin-kidney grille, which the German automaker describes as a “confident and classy” new take on the brand’s iconic grille. Look closer and you’ll notice that it is made of several small “number 4s” joined together.
“The kidney grille has always been a signature feature of BMW cars,” BMW design head Domagoj Dukec stated. “The BMW Concept 4 presents a confident and classy take on this iconic feature. At the same time, the BMW Concept 4 offers a look ahead to the expressive face of the 4 Series range.”
The design is said to be inspired by the 3.0 CSi, though the 1970s car had a much smaller grille than any modern BMW. Do you like it?
Massive grille aside, the BMW Concept 4 borrows many styling cues from the 3 Series and 8 Series and features classic sports car proportions. We’ll have to wait and see how all of this translates to the production 4 series.