Japanese giant Nissan’s rival to the Mazda MX-5 is back on the agenda – and it’s going electric.
The company had shelved plans to revive the legendary rear-wheel-drive 200SX back in 2008. But work on the project has started again, as part of Nissan’s push to launch 52 new cars by 2016. Before the 2+2 was canned, the plan had been for it to sit on the 370Z platform, with power from the 188bhp 1.6-litre turbo found in the Juke.
Now, though, we have learned that the car – which is likely to get an entirely different name – will use a new chassis. In March this year, Daimler bosses signed an agreement to supply mid-size platforms to Nissan, which would accommodate everything from four-cylinder motors to V8s.
This will not only underpin the new MX-5 rival, but also the 370Z replacement and the next GT-R. The Infiniti G and a new sports car from the luxury brand will also use it. Insiders in Japan believe that bosses have yet to make a decision on what will power the new Nissan, but a tuned version of the Leaf’s drivetrain and a hybrid set-up are under consideration.
The company has previously expressed an interest in an all-electric rear-wheel-drive sports car, with the ESFLOW concept, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March. To ensure sharp handling, our sources have revealed that Nissan will get help in tuning the chassis from Lotus Engineering; the Brits could also assist with a new lightweight construction. Expect the new model to arrive in 2013, with a price tag of around £20,000.