Nissan is set to celebrate 50 years of the Z car and the Skyline. The party starts at the New York Auto Show, which is where the automaker will roll out special editions of both its 370Z and GT-R. There’s a problem though, and that is the fact that both models are rather long in the tooth. The world is ready for a new Z car, and has been for some time now. An brand new GT-R is needed to do battle with the large crop of supercars that have been born since its launch. It’s time for both to evolve.
What should Nissan do with the Z car? We’ve talked about this before but I believe Nissan has two paths ahead of it for the Z. One is to slide back power and price in an effort to create a competitor to the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ. The other is to stuff that 400-horsepower Infiniti engine under the hood, but leave the steering bits hydraulic please.
Otherwise it’s time to kill this car and move on. I say that as someone who loves the Z car and its history (minus the 350Z, that does nothing for me). It’s funny to see what’s become of the modern Z, as it mirrors the Z32-era car that effectively helped kill the sports car for some time. That wasn’t solely the fault of the 300ZX, of course. But the price war onslaught of the 300ZX, Mitsubishi’s 3000GT, and the Toyota Supra, couple with a shifting focus to SUVs thanks to the Ford Explorer, helped put sports cars on the back burner for a bit.
Today, crossovers are the hot ticket. But there are still spots in the garage afforded to sports cars and muscle cars. Supercar makers are selling in record volume. A handful of affordable options exist for enthusiast. And the battle between the domestic machines is hotter than ever.
The time is right for Nissan to evolve the Z, and it do well down either path. It just has to get moving down one of them, and quickly.