New Nissan and the sports car renaissance | CAR Magazine

New Nissan and the sports car renaissance

Published: 25 October 2023 Updated: 25 October 2023

► What’s next for Nissan?
► Why Nissan is going sporty
► New three tier line-up planned

Nissan’s stonking Hyper Force concept isn’t, sadly, a new production-ready GT-R. Far from it. But it’s a compelling statement of intent, and confirmation of what we’ve known – and hoped – for a while: that Nissan’s performance icon will return, and as an EV. 

What’s more, buoyed by the success of the current Z, Nissan’s product planners are eyeing a return to a three-tier performance car line-up, all electric, with a new GT-R as its flagship. 

Product planning’s Ivan Espinoa: ‘We are committed to having a sports car offering in the future, this is for sure. They’re at the heart of what Nissan does. We make exciting cars for people who love cars and driving. We are passionate about this and that’s not going to change. This is at the root of what we do.’

While Nissan maintains a sports car presence in some territories with the Z, effectively an upgraded and rebodied 370Z, the UK and Europe has been starved of fast, fun Nissans for years.

Hyper Force concept

‘Globally today, in the UK and Europe we had to stop the [sports car] offering because of the [emissions] regulations. Our fifth concept [the Hyper Force/next GT-R] is what we are considering doing in this space; a future hyper sportscar.’

Rival Toyota recently confirmed it’s on course to mass produce game-changing solid-state batteries by 2027. Nissan won’t be far behind, suggesting a new generation of Nissan sports cars could be with us within five years. 

‘It’s all pivoting around the use of all solid-state batteries,’ explains Espinosa. The technology, which promises to drastically crank up cell power density, is key to delivering convincing sports EVs. 

But even if the next GT-R comes in at a comparable price point to GT-Rs past, it’ll still be expensive. Which is where Nissan’s three-tiered sports car strategy comes in.

‘Traditionally in our sports car line-up we’ve always had the GT-R as the highlight, a car like the Z in the middle and an entry-level car like the Pulsar,’ explains Espinosa. ‘Today we’re missing this point. Z is doing very well in terms of sales and customer satisfaction. In the future my dream is to keep these three elements – this could be the ideal sports car offering, with an affordable entry point for young buyers in their mid-20s who are passionate about cars. Because this is something some car manufacturers have forgotten about – the passion for cars. It depends on the country, but we see that young customers are less and less attracted to cars. And I think one of the reasons is we’re not offering something really exciting. With sports cars can we make that spark, you know, and bring the flame back.’

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three