Nissan’s MX-5 is back

Nissan Esflow
2 Aug, 2011 10:00am Peter Lyon

Nissan has revived plans for a rear-wheel drive sports car and the newcomer will use the Leaf’s electric drivetrain

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.

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Otherwise it will cost an arm and several legs, have a range much too short to encourage enthusiastic driving and will have to be recharged over a number of hours.
If it has to be 'eco', go for a hybrid that will at least mean the car has a usable range without a ton of hugely expensive batteries.

This is an absolute must to ensure the price is right to get the sales volume! Then after this is up and running the hybrid or electric versions can come but not before!

Electric cars are completely impractical for 99% of all drivers. 50miles range for a sports car, is stupid. A sports car is meant for touring not to the supermarket and back twice a week followed by a day when the car can't leave the house.
Keen drivers will drive petrol sports cars until global oil supply dries up, estimated to be 50years ago.

Ha ,ha,,, GIVE ME A BREAK!!!...
this POS will NEVER be an MX-5, a HEAVY all Electric MX-5 beater...I don't think so...many have tried and ALL have failed!

Those alloys would look great on my MX-5.

Nissan, how can this be an MX5 rival?

The point of the MX5 when they brought it out in the late eighties was to reintroduce a classic open top sports car to the market in the spirit of the old Lotus Elan. Classic rear drive, front engine layout and rifle bolt manual gearshift, but importantly a light weight body.....That heavy electric thing above would never rival an MX5, so may be pitch it as a rival to the Prius?!

Hybrid please, all electric cars are not the answer to our problems. The car looks great and will be a welcome addition in the market place. i would rather see a small engine with a turbo bolted on.

All-electrics are not just impractical, they are a con-trick. Generation of mains power causes pollution, batteries are expensive, heavy and have limited life, performance is poor and the price has to be discounted to make them saleable. Clean diesel is the answer. Ask Volkswagen if you don't believe it!

If it has to be a hybrid to satisfy the environMENTALists, clean diesel is again the best partner for the elecrtic package!

The best applications for all-electrics are already established; golf carts and milk carts. They are absolutely fine if not expected to go further than the average milk round or 18-hole golf course and if charging facilities are close by! Two pints of gold top or a hole in one, please!

Seriously, MX5 rival and electric??.......... don't think so, sports & electric just don't work!

Well spotted!

"....and the newcomer will use the Leaf’s electric drivetrain"


Never read something like this before "..and new Z or Skyline will use Micra's or Almera's drivetrain"

I don't have knowledge about EVs technology but from demanding drivers point of view I don't believe hatchback drivetrain will do as perfectly in sports car :O

This is more like "sporty electric drivetrain" whatever you call it:

"The Karma's drivetrain is a development of one made for military use by US special forces. The 'Agressor' concept was designed to use a conventional engine to travel to and from operations and a silent electric mode while behind enemy lines. "