Nissan Eyes mid-engined sports car based on the Alpine A110
Nissan may have just unveiled the production version of its all-new 400bhp Z sports car in August in New York City, but now we’re hearing clips from the halls of their R&D department that they have another car project from. current sport.
And it’s nothing less than a mid-engined sports model. But given the low sales volumes of sports cars and the high development cost, the only way to make this project a reality would be to use existing technology from the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
This is not the first time that Nissan has grappled with the idea of a mid-engined sports car. In 1985, the company unveiled its mid-engined, all-wheel-drive 3.0-liter “MID4” concept (pictured above) at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Later in 1987, it presented the MID4-II at the Tokyo Motor Show, intending to launch the car on the market in the late 1980s. It was the first car to be equipped with the Nissan’s ATTESA all-wheel drive and the new HICAS four-wheel steering system, both of which appeared on the Skyline GT-R in 1989 and other models. The MID4 was originally aimed at competitors from Porsche and Ferrari, but cost issues eventually put the project aside.
Today the brand is back with a mid-engined car concept that has a lot to offer. As mentioned above, in the case of Nissan, it can lean on the Renault-Nissan Alliance, which, when you think about it, is the only reason this car is even being considered. And that means it has access to the highly acclaimed mid-engined platform of the Renault Alpine A110.
However, unlike Toyota and BMW which shared the same platform and the same 3.0-liter inline-6 engine on the Supra and Z4, or Toyota and Subaru which used the same platform and the same boxer engine from 2.4 liters in the GR86 and BRZ, Nissan will want to imprint its own identity on this project by giving its sports car its own unique bodywork and interior design, and of course its own bespoke powertrain. In fact, one would expect the car to borrow a combination of design cues from the MID4 concept of 36 years ago and the Alpine.
While the new Nissan would use Renault’s Alpine A110 platform, it wouldn’t use this coupe’s 1.8-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Instead, Nissan would go for the same 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged engine that powers the Rogue, but a revised version of its much-loved e-Power system (in Japan at least!).
First launched in Japan in 2016 in the critically acclaimed Nissan Note, e-Power offers the same all-electric motor technology as the LEAF to generate instant torque. Unlike conventional hybrid systems, however, an on-board gasoline engine acts only as a generator to charge the batteries and does not drive the wheels.
Regarding the new combination of turbo engine and e-Power, a source close to Nissan suggests that the new mid-engined sports car, which does not yet have a name, will feature 4-wheel drive, with the e-Power system up front, the 1.5-liter turbo driving the rear wheels and an estimated power eclipsing 300hp. This powertrain would be mated to a CVT with paddle shifters and sitting on the Alpine’s chassis, the car is expected to offer first-class handling. If Nissan takes the plunge with this radical new sports car, given the pandemic, costs and lingering semiconductor issues, it will fit into the brand’s lineup under the new Z and should appear from here. 2024.