Nissan has Honda’s CR-Z squarely in its sights with its new front wheel drive Compact Hybrid Sports Car.
Nissan has put a lot of effort into its future sports car line up recently with the upcoming Z34 Fairlady 370Z, leaked information regarding a new 2.0L FR Sports Car and now this: an entry level 2+2 front wheel drive (FF) compact hybrid powered sports car. It’s no coincidence that the specifications of Nissan’s new FF sports car are very close to those of the Honda CR-Z; Nissan sees Honda as its biggest rival in this category and will try to bring the hybrid FF sports car to market in the second half of 2010.
The main driving force behind development of the FF hybrid sports car is one of cost. Nissan has started its development by using a platform that will be shared with other models, in this case a modified ‘B’ platform that will make its debut in 2009 with the new Tiida. It will take on a “wide and short” two door 2+2 body shape which is popular in Europe (the EU will be its primary market) and also feature a panoramic glass roof similar to the one used on the Honda Airwave. The body dimensions are rumored to be 4400mm in length, 1780mm in width and 1450m in height with a wheelbase of 2600mm. We can expect aluminum to be used for various body panels in order to keep the weight down to 1100kg and it’s possible it will use flat bottom panels similar to that of the R35 GT-R to improve aerodynamics.
There aren’t so many details on the engine and driveline at the moment although it’s expected that an improved version of the HR15DE four cylinder engine with a capacity of 1500cc coupled to an electric motor will power the compact FF sports car, along with a front wheel drive version of the “two pedal 6-speed” DSG gearbox with paddle shift like the one used in the R35 GT-R . It was hinted that the hybrid HR15DE will also make an appearance in some Renault models in the future. Although the chassis for the most part will be shared with the Tiida, the suspension is likely to receive a performance orientated redesign incorporating different front struts with unique geometry as well as a double wishbone set up for the rear instead of the Tiida’s torsion beam. Brembo brake calipers are also rumored to be included, so too a 17 inch wheel and tire package.
The Nissan Sports Concept was first shown back in 2005 and despite a warm reception its development has continually been put on hold. Only now that a suitable hybrid engine and driveline have been chosen can the project move forward. As the FF hybrid sports car is an entry level offering, the price is expected to be under 2,300,000 yen making it slightly cheaper than Nissan’s compact FR sports car.
Text: Justin Karow
Images: The MyCar