Barely a week goes by here in Japan without some high octane speculation that a new Nissan 200SX is around the corner.
The on-off story was reignited the other day when we reported on Renault’s plans to build an Alpine sportscar – a car that would have to be spun off the next Nissan 200SX/ Silvia platform.
Makes a lot of sense, you would think. Take Nissan’s new 370Z platform (coming this autumn), shorten and lighten it and mount what spies say is a new 2.0-litre turbo engine under the bonnet, and voila, you have the basics of a cracking new lightweight sportster.
Trouble is, it might not be quite that simple. A Nissan insider murmurs that that the Z platform is designed for V6 and V8 engines. Nissan could tweak it to take a smaller four-cylinder engine – the question is whether the car (or cars) spun off it would then stand up as a profitable business case. It’s a question that’s causing some furrowed brows at Nissan right now.
Something is definitely going on. Nissan has always wanted to produce a ‘compact sports’ model beneath the GT-R and the 350Z, but our impeccable source tells us the project keeps stopping and staring because the financial numbers just don’t add up.
But which direction will Nissan’s sportscar future take? The minimalist Urge concept was a hit at the 2006 Detroit show – and would be a far more radical departure for Nissan. Or will the company play it safe with a modern remake of the classic 200SX?
Answers on a postcard, please. To Mr. Carlos Ghosn, Nissan Motor Co, Ginza, Japan.