After scrapping production plans for the Nissan IDx coupes, there is now a very real possibility that the next Z car will be a crossover. Autocar reports that not only will it be previewed in concept form at the Frankfurt auto show, but that it will go on sale in 2017.
How did we get to this point?
For starters, the current 370Z will be allowed to expire by 2017. As its replacement, Nissan had been considering a smaller coupe as a possibility, previewing it in concept form at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. The IDx would have been powered by a four-cylinder engine, and would have been a throwback to the packaging offered by the Datsun Z cars of the 1970s.
The company has chosen not to go that route, and has indicated that it will instead market a small sports crossover.
Nissan executives have indicated that the company will not be rehashing the same formula or trying to improve upon the 370Z directly.
“I don’t think the next one [Z car] is going to be the 390Z," the company's design chief, Shiro Nakamura, told the Australian media. "It’s not growing because it’s already big enough. You know, 350 started with 240, 300, 350 and then came 370. I don’t think we should go higher."
Why might this signal a change in vehicle type? Nissan executives already feel that a new approach is needed for the Z to avoid pushing the car up against the Nissan GT-R.