But won’t this make a future Z car redundant in the context of an SUV-loving clientele?

Remember Nissan’s Ariya concept car? Well, you’d better, because it is slated to deliver a downpour of electric performance that might even put the Nissan 370Z to shame.

This new bit of information comes from Nissan’s very own senior global design Vice President Alfonso Albaisa, who admitted to Green Car Reports that ‘the real version of the Ariya is fast - faster or as fast as a Z car.’

Nissan's Ariya-derived EV Will Be as Fast or Faster Than a Z Car Exterior
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Well, what do you know? Mr. Albaisa’s statement drops just after Nissan unveiled its uninspiredly named e-4orce all-wheel-drive electric powertrain, which already promised the likes of ‘sports car performance’ and ‘predictable handling.’ Can you see the puzzle pieces falling perfectly?

The e-4orce setup mixes two electric motors (one for each axle) with the same torque-split tech found on the GT-R flagship. However, Nissan never said it is going to be used in a production car other than the road-legal version of the Ariya, but we expect it to eventually find its way into a more sportiness-oriented model, like the next Z car or even GT-R.

However, given Mr. Albaisa’s statement that the powertrain could make the road-going Ariya faster and perhaps better than the 370Z, we can’t help but wonder whether a Z car makes sense anymore strategically speaking, given how people still have the hots for crossovers and SUVs in the detriment of sedans and sports cars.

Sports car-like performance is only bound to up the appeal of an already attractive SUV-shaped vehicle and we know very well that an all-electric drivetrain can deliver that sort of flair.

The current Nissan 370Z Nismo makes do with a naturally-aspirated 350-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6, a true rara avis in the car world these days. The unit is also good for 276 pound-feet of torque.

Nissan's Ariya-derived EV Will Be as Fast or Faster Than a Z Car Exterior
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Now, this level of performance can be easily outgunned with an ell-electric setup, especially one that employs two electric motors. Despite the fact that the Ariya concept trumpeted 300 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, there’s a lot more potential to be extracted out of the electric setup.

Even without further tweaking, you still get more torque than in the 370Z Nismo, and supposedly a better or similar 0-60 time than the current Z’s - which is 5.1 seconds, by the way.

What’s more, bumping the specs to around 400 horsepower and just as much twist shouldn’t pose any difficulties. Other than that, the resulting performance would even fall in line with the sub-five-second sprint time initially advertised by the Ariya concept, especially since Nissan’s global design VP made it clear that the Ariya is ‘a high-performance crossover, because at the end of the day it’s super-fast’ and ‘the handling characteristics are extremely good.’

2020 Nissan Z Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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In the end, this is the question that needs to be asked: by launching a potent Ariya production EV and in parallel looking to electrify the next Z car, isn’t Nissan gambling with the sports car’s chances?

As we said, SUVs are already massively attractive. Slap them with a quick-accelerating drivetrain and who can guarantee that people won’t go for the added performance on a comfortable package instead of the performance yet low practicality of a sports car?

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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