Nissan and Mercedes are rumoured to be teaming up yet again to create the Japanese brand’s next Z car.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the cult car classic that first debuted as the 240Z in 1969 and saw numerous iterations over the years, culminating in the current 370Z that will be 10 years old in the model’s jubilee.
But it might not be the last Z, as Japanese publication response.jp reports European sources confirmed the two automotive giants are planning to collaborate and share costs on a new coupe platform that would underpin the future Z car and a new Benz model.
In a move that could mimic the potential success Toyota and BMW face with their similar Supra and Z4 co-development program, it wouldn’t be the first time Nissan and Mercedes have worked together.
Beyond the latest X-Class ute which is based on Nissan’s Navara, Mercedes supplied Nissan licensing for the original L16 engine that was revised as the six-cylinder L24 and L26 powerplants used in the coveted 240Z and 260Z.
It’s also not the first time Daimler-Mercedes has developed a coupe for another make, supplying its then-owned Chrysler company with the Crossfire two-door between 2004-2008 that was based on its older SLK platform.
And like the current Mercedes GLA-based QX30 that’s badged by Nissan’s premium offshoot Infiniti, the upcoming coupe might share both engines and architecture with the three-pointed star.
Word on the grapevine is that the new Nissan will bring a long nose and set-back cabin with a variety of engines; a Mercedes-built 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol and Infiniti’s 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo used in the Q60. A hybrid is also on the cards but Inifniti director of global motorsport and performance, Tommaso Volpe, told Drive last month its upcoming KERS hybrid system based on the same V6 engine for the Black S would not be suitable for Nissan vehicles.
It's also unlikely Nissan wants to tread on the performance toes of its flagship GT-R, but it may want a competitor to the Toyota Supra which is yet to be revealed.
Beyond the Japanese outlet’s rumours, further information is next to non-existent, though it goes on to suggest the car might be unveiled at the 2019 Los Angeles motor show. However, Nissan chief planning officer Philippe Klein was ambiguous when he spoke to Automotive News in January this year.
“The Z is a difficult market. It is rather shrinking worldwide. But we still believe there is a place for the Z and we want to keep it alive, and that’s what we’re working on.”
“If we do a complete new vehicle, what should it be to keep the passion alive? And we’re working very seriously on this - how we can keep the Z alive and refreshing, and what would be the next generation?”