The next-generation Nissan 370Z will likely downsize its V6 engine in response to toughening emission restrictions and customer demands in Europe.

Nissan 370Z Roadster-51

The next-iteration of the iconic Nissan Z sports car is likely to be offered with multiple engine choices as Nissan seeks to sell a model that appeals to both Europe, where V6 engines are basically extinct, and North America, where the 370Z’s popularity is in part due to its larger powerplant.

Speaking exclusively to CarAdvice today at the Nismo Festival in Mount Fuji, Japan, Roel de Vries, Nissan’s corporate vice president and global head of marketing and brand strategy, said there’s opportunity for multiple engines for the next-generation Z.

Nissan 370Z Roadster-48

“Can you sell a V6 [370Z] in Europe? No. Does that mean the next Z will have a V6 [for Europe]? No, of course we are not going to do that.” de Vries told CarAdvice.

“[But] there’s still an audience that wants a six-cylinder engine, so why should we give it up? That’s all part of on going studies.”

The current Nissan 370Z is powered by a 3.7-litre V6, but Nissan will likely offer the next-generation Z with both a four-cylinder turbo and six-cylinder engine. There’s also speculation of a potential base model that may carry a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine.

This would put the entry-model Z closer to the likes of Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ in terms of pricing, which would be ideal for Nissan considering the company seems to have put its plans for a new affordable rear-wheel drive sportscar on ice.

Nissan 370Z Roadster-36

But does a lower-capacity Z diminish the model’s image? De Vries says that Nissan doesn't needs to keep a V6 in the Z to maintain its heritage and performance benchmark.

“I think an engine is never a need or 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 V6 to do that.”

Of course, the question then becomes what Nissan intends to call the 370Z successor. Surely the 370 part would not make much sense if the engine size doesn’t correlate?

Nissan 370Z Roadster-21

“In my opinion the displacement as part of the product name is a bit behind us. [So] Naming might also change, in the past when we all grow up, the bigger the engine the more expensive the car, the faster it would be. Everybody has left that, because it’s not about displacement of the engine, it’s about what the engine could do.”

“We [will] definitely keep the Z name, but when we did 350 to 370 it was because of the capacity, but who says the next-generation doesn’t have three engines and its not just called Z?”

The previous generation Nissan 350Z was manufactured for six years before it was replaced with the 370Z in 2009. With 2015 just around the corner, it marks the sixth year the 370Z has been in production, which is likely to indicate a successor is no more than 24 months away.

Should Nissan offer the next-generation Z car with multiple engines? Would you buy a turbocharged four-cylinder Z and more importantly, does it make sense to pit an entry model Z against the BRZ and 86?