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Nissan Will Show a Sub-Z Concept Sports Car Later This Year

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On: Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 4:53PM | By: Chris Weiss

Nissan Will Show a Sub-Z Concept Sports Car Later This Year

With the success of the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S, it’s no surprise that Nissan is toying around with an entry level sports car of its own. It already has the flagship GT-R and mid-range 370Z, and a smaller 200SX revival has been funneling around the rumor mill for months. According to Australian auto media sources, Nissan will show one potential direction for an entry level sports car at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show and it’s likely to include some form of electric powertrain.

Australian site GoAuto quotes Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer as saying, “But we’ve got some other plans for what we think sports cars for Gen Xs and Gen Ys would look like, and I think that the Zed (370Z) will sit apart as a classic sports car. But we think that there is room below that for something very special. And for that we will see you at Tokyo.”

Palmer went on to say that both a hybrid and full-electric configuration could make sense, citing the instant torque and power advantages of electric motors. Palmer’s comments came at the New York International Auto Show and were made amidst a greater statement about Nissan’s commitment to electrification. Palmer mentioned bringing a fully electric race car to Le Mans next year and future electrification of the GT-R supercar.

Nothing else is currently known about the Tokyo sports car, including whether or not it will be a concept car or a polished, production-ready model. It seems clear that the car will use some sort of electric power, but whether that will be a light hybrid, plug-in hybrid or fully electric powertrain remains to be seen.

Palmer told Car & Driver earlier this year that the car won’t be a competitor to the FR-S or BRZ and will be more youth oriented, like the Juke. Also like the Juke, we’ll either “love it or hate it.”

We’ve got a bit of deja vu. Almost exactly a year ago, we first heard a rumor about a 200SX revival. Also originating from Australia, Drive’s report also said that the 370Z might shrink in size for the first time in its history amidst a greater strategy of making lighter cars with smaller, more efficient engines. A small hybrid/electric sports car seems to fit quite well in that overarching strategy.

Bloggers are speculating that the new small sports car will be a production version of the 2011 Esflow concept (pictured). Introduced at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Esflow concept was a fully electric RWD sports coupe with a motor driving each rear wheel. Nissan said it was capable of hitting 60 mph in under 5 seconds before traveling a full 240 km on a single charge.

The 2013 Tokyo Motor Show opens to the press on November 20. We look forward to seeing what Nissan has in store.


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