Here’s the new Nissan 370Z coupe looking more than ever like a junior GT-R, caught on a rain-splashed shakedown as engineers hone the set-up ahead of launch at next month’s Los Angeles motor show. This is the model that will replace today’s 350Z, the brilliant sports car that’s helped turn around Nissan’s image this decade.
We’ll finally see the edgy new 370Z on 19 November 2008, but these photos reveal a squat, rakish new design with, as expected, plenty of hints of its GT-R super-coupe big brother – just look at the cockpit-style side windows and sloping roofline – to cement the link between Nissan’s sports cars.
The new 370Z: a baby GT-R?
It does look like a cross between the GT-R
and the 350Z, pepped up with modern jewellery such as the glossy rear lights and more noticeably swooping wheelarches. The newcomer is said to be around four inches shorter than today’s 350Z
, while the expected name is a signal that the car’s V6 will swell from 3.5 litres to – you guessed it – 3.7. It’s the same engine as in the Infiniti G37
Nissan’s upmarket coupe has four-wheel drive and steer capability, but the 370Z is likely to stick with rear-wheel drive. Not that Nissan wants to replicate the current car’s macho tendencies; the new Zee is likely to adopt more technology, we hear.
The 370Z will land in the UK in April/May 2009, when it’s likely to carry a price tag starting between £28,000-30,000. The coupe will be launched first, but a roadster is likely to follow.Click 'Next' to read more about the new 370Z
How big a seller is Nissan's Z car?
It's not a huge seller in volume terms – Nissan only sells around 1000 a year in the UK, mostly coupes – but officials admit it punches well above its weight in brand exposure.
The plan is to link the 370Z to the success of the GT-R to project Nissan as a sporty brand, as well as one which specialises in SUVs. And of course, the company sells plenty of Z models in America, the model's biggest market.
There is some talk of developing a new, smaller sports car to slot beneath the 370Z. But we can't help wondering what a good ol'fashioned 200Z would be like; slot in a 2.0-litre turbo four from sister firm Renault and watch sales soar...