Keep the sportscar faith, says Nissan’s future oracle
Nissan’s fast cars are getting old. The mighty R35 GT-R has been in production since 2007, though it’s been boosted through the last 12 years with more power, better aero and a smarter interior.
The 370Z’s going grey too. It was really a thorough update of the 350Z, and has been knocking around since 2008. It predates the invention of the iPad.
High time we had some new fast fodder from Nissan, then. TG.com asked Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer, Philippe Klein, if performance cars are in the frame for Nissan’s future.
“There are a lot of answers to this question. First of all, it’s true that performance cars are ‘under the gun’ of regulations. It’s making the idea more complicated. But the emotion [for us] is still there, for us and for our customers.
“We have the Z and the GT-R, lots of fans, and we are fans of these cars also. I’m not able to give you details, but I would like you to keep in mind that we are considering the future of these vehicles.”
(Click HERE to read about the mighty Godzillas, the R32 & R34 GT-R)
Why should we keep the faith? It’s been an awfully long time, Philippe…
“Yes, you should keep the faith, because we do! The driving experience is very high on our priority list. I don’t know how much experience you have with EVs, but they are very fun to drive. If you drive a Leaf e+, it is quite fast, with good acceleration, with a low centre of gravity, and it’s easy to drive and fun to drive.
“This is why we’re moving to electrification with [hybrid] e-power. In the end we would like the regulations to take nothing away from how fun the car is to drive. It’s not always easy, but this is the direction. Yes, we’re still looking at the future of sportscars, hot cars and fun to drive cars.”
Interesting, isn’t it, that as soon as we probe the future of quick Nissans, the man in charge of the company’s future cars starts talking up electricity? So, will the next Zed or GT-R go EV?
(Click HERE to read about Nissan's magnificent project with Italdesign, the GT-R50)
(Click HERE to read about how the GT-R50 will make it to production)
“We’re still working hard on different options” says Klein, “but I can’t give you an answer just yet. The regulations bring a lot of concerns, so the question is how to answer these constraints and still offer a car to the consumer that’s fun to drive. But there are different options and we’re working on them. We’re defending the sportscar.”
Time for one last query. While the 370Z goes wrinkly and old, Toyota’s new Supra is the cult car of 2019. Would Nissan need to form an alliance, like Toyota and BMW did, to build a new 370Z? After all, the brand is already in bed with Renault and Mitsubishi. Klein is very coy with his answer.
“I cannot answer this – what I can say is whatever we do, we have to carry our brand very strongly, otherwise it makes no sense.”
STORY Ollie Kew