Should we be worried? The Axis Powers seem to be getting a bit uncomfortably close with their technology sharing. The latest rumor is that Nissan is preparing a seventh-generation Fairlady Z, one that is being co-developed with Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.
Details are extremely scarce, but according to Japanese website Response, Nissan was inspired by the recently revealed Toyota Supra, which was co-developed with BMW and will likely have a BMW inline-six.
The article goes on to say that the chassis would be shared with a Mercedes of some sort. Nissan would offer the Z in two trim levels, a lower-spec model with a 2.0-liter turbo four built by Mercedes, and a high-performance model using the 400-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 found in the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400.
There’s an artist’s rendering included as well, not based on an actual prototype but on descriptions of styling cues. It seems that the car will return to a long nose design with proportions similar to the original S30 Z. In the illustration the nose sports the V-motion grille that defines modern Nissans, while the rear profile is distinguished by the maedate C-pillar found on Infinitis.
Please take all of this with a blizzard warning load of salt. The automotive rumor mill in Japan is like 1990s Motor Trend on crack. For example, Nissan and Infiniti are extremely conscious of brand separation in a way that, say, Honda and Acura or Chevy and Cadillac are not. So it would seem incredibly odd for the Z to have what is a uniquely Infiniti design cue.
Also, though Renault-Nissan have been working with Daimler on cars like the Infiniti QX30 and Mercedes X-Class, earlier this year that partnership hit the rocks. The newly launched Infiniti QX50 was supposed to ride on the shared MFA2 modular platform co-developed with Mercedes. Nissan and Mercedes parent company Daimler even jointly built a factory in Mexico to crank them out. However, Infiniti spokespeople say now that the QX50 is a unique platform not shared with anything. In this day and age, it makes almost zero sense for Nissan to develop a platform for a single model, so the relationship must have soured at some point with Mercedes abandoning the project. Have Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche made up?
There are enough red flags here that we would be remiss if we didn’t point them out. There’s one last bit that we hope is true, though. The article says that the new Z would debut in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the original.