Ever since it was first brought into this world way back in 1969, Nissan’s sporty two-door Z car has always had a six-cylinder engine. Between the first generation S30 Datsun 240Z and the current, sixth-generation Z34 Nissan 370Z, there have been boosted versions and naturally aspirated versions, configurations in a V and inline, displacement both big and small, but always, the cylinder count has remained at six.

Now, with the current gen getting a bit long in the tooth and a seventh generation looming, Nissan may be thinking about offering a variety of engine options for its classic coupe, including a four-cylinder. That was the news coming from Roel de Vries, Nissan’s corporate vice president and global head of marketing and brand strategy, speaking to the Australian website CarAdvice at the Nismo Festival in Mount Fuji, Japan.

Despite the long history behind the six-cylinder Z, de Vries was unconvinced that any particular motor was necessary to the overall evolution of the vehicle: “I think an engine is never a need or a must, because what you need is to deliver on what the car stands for and if the 370Z stands for real performance and real driving I think it doesn’t need a V-6 to do that,” de Vries told CarAdvice.

At the same time, de Vries recognized the apparent demand for a larger engine under the hood: “Can you sell a V-6 [370Z] in Europe? No. Does this mean the next Z will have a V-6 [for Europe]? No, of course we are not going to do that. [But] there’s still an audience that wants a six-cylinder engine, so why should we give it up? That’s all part of ongoing studies.”

Here’s our wish list for engine choices: start with a base, naturally aspirated four-banger; then step up to a mid-range, turbocharged four. At the top of the heap, offer a super-powered NISMO model with a hybrid powertrain that combines an electric motor with the twin-turbo V-6 from the GT-R, the VR38DETT, to make 1,000 horsepower. Okay, that last one might be a bit of a stretch, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

Click past the jump to read more about the next Nissan 370Z.

Why it matters

Additional engine options should broaden the appeal of the new Z car considerably, and in a world of tightening restrictions on automobiles, where both governmental regulations and outright practicality play vital roles in consumer choice, a variety of engine options is necessary to save fun cars like the Z. I certainly don’t expect Nissan to neglect the six-cylinder option completely, but with a more affordable four-cylinder alternative on the table, specifically something that could compete with the likes of Toyota and Mazda, we foresee some very healthy sales figures indeed.

Nissan Z

2015 - 2017 Nissan 370Z Nismo High Resolution Exterior
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Also known as the Fairlady in Japan, Nissan’s current Z comes with everything you’d expect from a rear-drive sports coupe, like a thumping, torque-gushing, 3.7-liter, V-6 motor, nimble handling, and notchy six-speed manual gearbox. Performance specs ring in at 4.5 seconds for the 0-to-60 jaunt, and 13.3 seconds in the standing quarter-mile. Inside, you’ll find some pretty sweet amenities, like a Bose audio system, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and leather upholstery. There’s also a tuned NISMO version for those looking for more speed, and a roadster version for those fun-in-the-sun types. Base models start at $33,120, with another $12k required for the top-range, seven-speed automatic roadster.

Source: CarAdvice

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