UPDATE, August 28: Looks like the 400Z has now been delayed another couple of years.
UPDATE, August 27: new speculative renderings of the 2021 Nissan 400Z have surfaced in the Japanese media, posted to enthusiast forum GR86.org this week. We've added them to this story (above and further down), but the content is otherwise unchanged.
July 17: The 2021 Nissan 400Z is believed to be in the final stages of development and due in local showrooms next year.
The new Nissan Zed car is expected to launch with a twin turbo 3.0-litre V6 and be based largely on the underpinnings of the current model – but with a complete reskin, elements of which will be a nod to the original model from 1969.
Recent teaser images of the vehicle show rounded headlights and sleek horizontal tail-lights, said to be a tribute to the first Nissan Zed car.
In a video conference with international media Nissan's global design boss Alfonso Albaisa said of the new styling: "It's not retro as much as it's respect", adding that while the teaser was only a hint, "what it shows is real".
Although engine details are yet to be officially confirmed – and the car is yet to be revealed in all its glory – Nissan’s vice-president of global product strategy, Ivan Espinosa, told the same media conference the next Zed car is “very close”.
When asked about plans for a fully electric model or a hybrid version, Mr Espinosa said while he “cannot give details”, he believed there is room for traditional power and electrified Zed cars in the future.
“What I can tell you is I still see space for two different things,” said Mr Espinosa. “Probably in the short term you can still see ... a bit more conventional technology coming. By conventional I mean (an internal combustion engine).”
However the executive in charge of future Nissan cars indicated the Zed would eventually experiment with a hybrid option before considering full electric power.
Mr Espinosa said a fully electric Zed car could be possible, however he cautioned: “The technology of (electric cars) is very well advanced, but it's not at the level you can deliver the performance expected in a sports car.”
He said there were “still some challenges with the weight of batteries” and the consistency of battery power output “to do lap times”. However, Mr Espinosa said Nissan was “learning a lot from our Formula E (electric motor racing) team.”
Given the 2021 Nissan 400Z is understood to be based on the current model’s architecture, CarAdvice understands a hybrid or electric version would not be introduced until the next generation Zed car due in the second half of next decade.
“You’d have probably two steps in the early stages or the coming years,” said Mr Espinosa. “We still see space for a bit more innovation (with internal combustion engines) and in the mid to long term you could start hearing from Nissan maybe exploring on the sports cars with electrification.”
CarAdvice understands the platform that underpins the current 370Z and the new 400Z due next year has not been developed to accomodate electrification.