Barely a week goes by here in Japan without some high octane speculation that a new Nissan 200SX is around the corner.

200SX The quick, funky, oversteer-happy four-cylinder coupe was a reasonable sales hit back in the ‘nineties, and has since won notoriety as the weapon of choice for the world’s professional drift stars.

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.