The clearest evidence yet of a new Tokyo-bound Nissan sports car has surfaced, with a new interview leaving little doubt the carmaker is on the warpath.
Speaking with Motor Trend this week, Nissan executive Andy Palmer singled out the 86 and BRZ models from Toyota and Subaru as "midlife crisis cars designed for a 50 year-old".
"That's not what we do," he added.
Palmer went on to confirm that Nissan is preparing to reveal its own new sports car next month.
"Are you coming to the Tokyo Motor Show? You'll see the answer to the midlife crisis. Except it won't be for the midlife crisis," he said.
The outspoken executive's latest comments follow an interview given to Britain's Auto Express in September, when he said he had driven the new car and that a Tokyo debut is likely.
More than a few reports on the new Nissan have been circulating in recent months, with some suggesting the smaller and lighter new model power will be provided by a de-tuned version of the 370Z's 3.7 litre V6 engine.
But, speaking with TMR last year, Nissan’s Francois Bancon said that extending the Z line-up by adding a smaller-engined variant would be the best way to broaden the Z’s appeal - and reduce its price of entry.
“I’m not saying the Z should not have a six-cylinder, because a huge number of Z owners want a V6,” he said.
“But if you want to extend [sales] volume I think you should add something to the V6. Whether that’s a four-cylinder or a smaller-capacity V6 I don’t know, those details are not confirmed yet.”
“For the Z you need a high-performance powertrain though, so downsizing the V6 may be a better solution.”
For now however, it remains unclear if the car bound for Tokyo will preview the next Z - expected to hit showrooms in 2014 - or if it will be a new smaller model. (A new Silvia..? - Ed.)
Nissan may not be alone among the Japanese brands in planning a new hero sports model for this year's Tokyo Motor Show, with a preview of Toyota and BMW's collaborative project also expected to appear.
Let the battle begin.
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