Australian deliveries of the seventh generation Nissan Z will begin in September, with more than 1200 orders to date and counting.
But the full product might never have come about if Nissan hadn’t decided to carry over a significant amount of R&D and parts from the previous generation 370Z and use a corporate Infiniti engine.
The new Nissan Z project started in March 2017 with a handwritten note from the man most synonymous with GT-R and Z at Nissan: Hiroshi Tamura.
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Written in Japanese, the note laid out reasons why the 370Z was no longer selling as well as the company had hoped, but also set some targets for the next-generation model.
By Tamura’s own admission, given the Japanese giant’s internal struggles in 2017, updating the Z probably wasn’t high on Nissan’s agenda at the time.
According to the note, the 370Z’s poor sales were due to its exterior design, performance and lack of updates. Targets for the new model were set to have an all-new exterior, a partial interior update and around 400 hp (298 kW) that could only be delivered with a twin-turbo engine.
Still, the only way to get the Z project green light was to use an existing platform and parts.
“To be honest, [for] About 80 percent of the bodywork we swapped parts out,” Mr. Tamura told CarExpert about the Nissan Z and sharing parts with the 370Z.
“[However]the transfer of parts is very important to us and the transfer is a reality of affordability so you can enjoy affordability.”
The new Nissan Z uses the same platform, manual transmission and architecture as the 370Z, but utilizes a nine-speed automatic transmission previously used in cars like the Nissan Frontier.
The heart of the Z comes from the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport, with the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with variable valve timing and fast-spooling small-bore turbochargers putting out 298 kW of power and 475 Nm of torque.
Mr. Tamura told CarExpert that if he had approached the powers that be at Nissan with expensive production and R&D costs to create the new Z on a brand new architecture, it might never have come to life.
“I’ve already spent about 40 years in this company, which means I have experience … so easy to imagine for the reaction of the result [for an all-new platform]. We need to stretch a bit, but not dream and stretch too much.”
He believes that Nissan’s approval to launch the new Z was due to its affordability for the company and customers, as it was able to produce a vehicle that exceeded performance expectations thanks to what was already available for Infiniti developed twin-turbo engine and the existing platform for the 370Z.
Mr. Tamura says that he “with sixth sense and experience” carefully managed to get the vehicle into production with the set targets for performance, modern design and drivability, without the project stalling due to potentially high costs.
Nissan sold 5,244 370Zs in Australia, versus 4,990 sales of the 350Z. The new Z is expected to sell more overall over its lifetime, with the market for sports cars in this segment growing from around 10,000 a year to 14,000 or 15,000 by 2026.
https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/motoring/new-nissan-z-370z-parts-required-for-affordability-c-8025462 New Nissan Z: 370Z parts required for affordability