Hardly the first person to make that statement, it’s always a surprise when an automaker criticizes the products of one of its rivals. In this case it may also shed some light on Nissan’s future sports car plans.
“Do you still think the FR-S is an old man car,” we asked Nissan North America VP of Product Planning Pierre Loing during an interview at the New York Auto Show. A reference to previous comments by the Japanese automaker’s executive vice president, Andy Palmer, who said the compact sports car was a “midlife crisis” car “designed for a 50-year-old,” Loing was frank in his response.
“It needs more power,” were his parting words before scooting off to another interview.
Previous to that, Loing was less than open on the brand’s plans for its next-generation of sports cars, though he did provide some hints at the future. He described the two opposing sports car formulas, the first of being a car with a big engine and equally big horsepower ratings. This concept he referred to as “US centric,” commenting that such a car, “becomes almost unsellable in Europe and China because of CO2.” He even admitted that the appeal of such cars is dwindling in the US saying that, “it still sells in the US, but not in as big of numbers as it used to in the early 2000s.”
Commenting that the big horsepower, big engine philosophy is, “the current recipe of Z,” the alternative is a smaller vehicle with a lower displacement engine utilizing turbocharging. “We are still studying between those two,” said Loing, though it would appear the decision for the latter has already been made.
The next-gen Z car can’t shrink too much, however, as Nissan has reportedly given the green-light to push its IDx concept into production. That car could make use of a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylidner making around 200 hp.
As for the FR-S, Scion has announced no plans to upgrade the 200 hp 4-cyllinder engine in the car, despite rumors of turbocharging and hybridizing, or even just swapping in a larger displacement 2.5-liter unit.
GALLERY: Nissan IDx Concepts
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