When Nissan put out a hazy cinematic preview of future product in May, sports car fans were thrilled to see the Nissan Z among the assemblage. We got further thrill from what we thought would be the sports car’s expected due date: 2021. Seems our calendar-watching got the best of us, because AutoExpress reports the coupe rumored to be called the 400Z won’t debut until 2022 and won’t go on sale until 2023. When the automaker announced its latest strategy, dubbed “Nissan Next: From A to Z,” part of the plan called for launching 12 new models in the next 18 months. We figured the Z would be among that dozen. The plan, however, runs to the end of Nissan’s 2023 fiscal year, which doesn’t close until March 31, 2024. In that case, a 2023 on-sale date for the 400Z is better than it might have turned out. Assuming AE is correct, the redone sports car arrives 14 years after the current 370Z hit the market.
In addition to our anticipation, it seems we should also temper our expectations. The 400Z is supposedly going to ride on the automaker’s Front Midship platform for rear-wheel-drive models. This is the same platform the current 370Z rides on, as well as the Infiniti Q50 and Q60, so it’s already not-new. On the other hand, Nissan’s done some wonderful things with the architecture; the FM traces its roots to the JDM V35 Skyline from 2001 that came to the U.S. as the Infiniti G35 in 2002. The present GT-R rides on an evolution of the FM called Premium Midship. The 400Z might be the last little Indian on the platform, too, since the Nissan Next plan calls for Infiniti to switch to mass-produced Nissan platforms with AWD capability as Infiniti transitions to being “Nissan-plus.”
The spiritual successor to the original 1969 Fairlady Z is alleged to bring much more elegant, retro-themed styling, 300ZX-style taillights, a much better interior featuring a proper infotainment system, and generous cargo room. The engine getting the buzz lately is an evolution of the twin-turbo V6 in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 400 Red Sport with something like 400 horsepower, sending grunt to the rear wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. A NISMO-tuned version could hit 500 horsepower.
Before all that, though, we can look forward to brand new models like the Ariya electric crossover, and updated takes on Nissan’s real moneymakers like the Rogue, Rogue Sport, Kicks, and Frontier.