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Frankfurt show: Nissan teases sporty Z SUV

Rally cry: Nissan’s new coupe-esque SUV concept is expected to pay homage to classic 240Z rally car.

Nissan set to reveal sports-based SUV at Frankfurt, could wear iconic Z badge

8 Sep 2015

NISSAN looks set to add its iconic Z badge to a new small crossover concept that will be unveiled next week in Frankfurt.

The company has hinted for some time that it would look to move the badge – first used 46 years ago in Japan on the Fairlady Z, which became the Datsun 240Z – to something other than a sportscar.

It also appears to have put the brakes on any plans to transform the V6-powered rear-wheel drive 370Z coupe and roadster into a smaller, four cylinder turbo-powered sportcar, along the lines of the iDx coupe shown at the Tokyo show in 2013.

The company has not followed its competitors Toyota (86), Subaru (BRZ) and Mazda (MX-5) in producing a smaller, cheaper sportscar.

A single image of a swoopy front end has emerged, with a heavily raked windscreen, a long bonnet, aggressive front fenders and a red-and-black paint scheme that is likely to pay homage to the company’s 1971 240Z factory rally car.

Though details are scarce, the crossover concept could slot between Nissan’s Juke and Qashqai in size, and may well follow the 370Z’s lead in offering just two doors.

It will likely be underpinned by the Renault-Nissan Alliance Common Modular Family (CMD)’s CD platform, which is currently used under the Qashqai, X-Trail, Reanult Kadjar and the upcoming Megane. The platform can be configured for front- and all-wheel-drive layouts.

A move to smaller, turbocharged engines – like the 1.6-litre unit in the Reanult Clio – is also mooted, though the Frankfurt show car will undoubtedly feature some form of advanced all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain.

The other theory from some pundits is that the concept will preview a replacement for the Juke crossover, which has been around in international markets since 2010, but it has only been available in Australia since late 2013.

“Nissan pioneered the crossover sector with its amazingly successful Juke, Qashqai and X-Trail ranges,” an ambiguous statement from the company read.

“So can Nissan continue to innovate and move the bar higher? What if Nissan created a new way to feel driving excitement? The answer will come at the Frankfurt motor show.” The Qashqai currently holds 10.6 per cent of the small-SUV market in Australia, moving 7109 units this year. Even though the Juke is up 10 per cent year on year, it has found only 1866 homes to the end of August.

The 370Z, meanwhile, sits at 311 sales for the year, a lift of 17 per cent year on year. Nissan bosses encouraged its dealers to carry the sportscar in stock earlier this year.

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