Back in the 1990s, Nissan was knees deep in sports cars. These sports cars began with the Sentra SE-R, then moved to the mid-range 240SX, and at the top end was the 300ZX. Even after the Sentra SE-R was eliminated in 1995, the 200SX SE-R, which was little more than a restyled Sentra, came into existence.
In the late 1990s, this all went away, as the 300ZX disappeared after 1996, and the 200SX and 240SX vanished in 1999. The Z-car was resurrected with the 350Z , then the 370Z , but the SX lineup has since remained dormant. Now with Subaru and Toyota teaming up to bring a new mid-level sports car to the marketplace, Nissan has again begun talks of releasing its own mid-level sports car.
According to Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, Nissan’s head of design said "It is the time to look at that [smaller engines]. With 370Z, we still don’t know next generation will have a larger or smaller engine." The chances of a Z-car with a lower engine size are rather doubtful, given that it has always increased in size throughout its entire lifespan. Plus you have to add in that the Z-car crowd is a tight-knit group that will likely not take change too well.
Those points all lead to Nissan possibly creating an all-new mid-level sports car, maybe even bearing the “SX” nameplate . A good possibility could be a 250SX bearing the same – or maybe better version of – the 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine found in the 2012 Sentra SE-R. This could also spawn a base level 200SX that has the 140-horsepower engine that you can find in the base 2012 Sentra, maybe with a few upgrades to punch up the power a bit.
Given the fact that the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT 86 are not speed demons, Nissan would need to worry more about it looking and handling well, as opposed to making it a screamer. As of now, this is purely speculation, but it damn sure would be a cool thing to see!
Nissan’s plan to launch 52 new cars by 2016 has carved a path towards production for the 200SX, which may be seen as early as 2013. Prices will start from about £20,000 - or about $33,000 at the current exchange rates.
The new 200SX will be built on a new mid-size platform supplied by Daimler that will also be used for the 370Z replacement and the next GT-R . There aren’t any details on the powertrain that will be used for the future 200SX, but rumors hint towards a tuned version of the Leaf’s drivetrain or a hybrid set-up as a couple of options. Other rumors suggest that an all-electric rear-wheel-drive version may be the way to go. These rumors stem from the Nissan ESFLOW concept, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March and ignited the fires about a future hybrid Nissan sportscar.
Nissan is rumored to be working on an affordable sports car, as a rival to the Mazda MX-5. The catch? Nissan’s sports car will feature an electric or plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the car that usually comes up in discussion when automakers set their sights on developing an affordable sports car. Since its debut in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 has become the standard for world-class handling in a package to fit anyone’s budget. Some would accuse the MX-5 of being underpowered, but when it comes to the ability to carve corners with razor-like precision, the MX-5 has few rivals, and none in its price range.
If new rumors surrounding Nissan are correct, that’s about to change. As part of its plan to launch 52 new cars over the next five years, Nissan is rumored to be working on an affordable rear-drive sports car. It will be built on a midsize platform purchased from Daimler, that ultimately will be used on the next generation 370Z , GT-R , and Infiniti G as well.
In the midst of all the debuts coming out of the Geneva Auto Show, Nissan has decided this would be a perfect opportunity to reveal the Esflow, their new electric concept. However, this isn’t just any old electric car like the Leaf. No, this is an electric sports car that will carry the setup of Nissan’s other electric with a RWD setup and a more stylish exterior.
The new Esflow concept is powered by two electric motors that are charged by laminated lithium-ion batteries. Each motor is designated to its own rear wheel, taking the Esflow from 0 to 60mph in around 5 seconds with an autonomy of 240kms (150 miles) on one charge.
The concept is said to take its color inspiration from glaciers with its highly reflective solidified liquid with blue tints. The hood of the car is stretched to capacity for a longer and sleeker look while the steeply raked, wrap around windscreen adds a touch of finesse to the vehicle.
We can’t imagine seeing this concept hit the production line, but it will be interesting to see what Nissan can get out of something like this in the future.
UPDATE 03/01/11: This review has been updated with the Esflow’s full specs, as well as new images.