For the past couple of years, mixed and brief reports from Nissan circulating on the net about making a downsized 370Z, a new Silvia is being planned or the new hot hatch unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show, last month. All of this to keep the Nissan from missing its share of the action in the compact sport car market; especially after witnessing the massive hype & sales of the 86, BRZ &FRS worldwide.
I believe you heard the seemingly bad news already; the idea of Nissan building a rear wheel drive car to rival the 86 /BRZ /FRS has been shelved in favour for the latter downsized front wheel drive hatch.
Going for front wheel drive might sound disappointing? I am not quite sure but Nissan has its valid reasons for the possibility making such decision.
It will take lots of time and money to develop an exact rival of the 86. Until Nissan comes up with their version of the car; Akio Toyoda would have broke even and the hachi-roku could have already dominated the market.
Although Nissan haven always been more daring and adventurous, unlike the more calculative Toyota; they seem this time to be more gentle with their spending on such a small market segment.
The wise thing to do is to be obviously resourceful and put together a product with what already exists in their technology bin. The Juke platform and the Delta Wing‘s 1.6 turbo power-plant, producing 190 bhp and 240 Nm, proved to be formidable and potentially make way for a car that competes in price as well.
As mentioned before why emulate the 86? Nissan is taking another approach to this market segment. The 86 appeals to a certain niche of drivers while Nissan’s counterpart, being front drive or even all wheel drive, could serve to be appealing for a different niche of fanatics. Remember the Nissan Pulsar GTI-R??
Also, Renault who’s known for their successful hot hatches would be lurking in the shadows of this so called ”Mini-Z” project.
Perhaps both the 86 and the upcoming Mini-Z will compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Fingers crossed let’s see what new info we get, later this year.[source:mycarforum.com]