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by Jay Traugott
The affordable sports coupe segment is hot right now and Nissan very much wants to cash in with a potential GT86 fighter. A reborn 240SX could be the answer.
Since the launch of the hugely successful Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ, competing automakers have clearly taken notice that the market is still hot for affordable, back-to-basics sports cars. With the exception of Mazda's MX-5 Miata, Japanese automakers such as Nissan have long backed out of this segment by turning their focus to more conventional sedans, SUVs and CUVs. But things are different now and Nissan is reportedly looking to get back into the game by reviving the old 240SX coupe.
Yes, the 370Z and its predecessor, the 350Z, have been on the market since 2003, but its base price today is north of $25,000, starting off at $33k. The GT-R is an entirely different beast. The 240SX, for those old enough to recall, was also a basic sports coupe, first launched in the US in 1988 and remaining on the market for the following decade. In Japan, it was known as the Silvia. Like the GT86, it too was powered by a naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine mated to a manual transmission, sending power to the rear-wheels. While previous reports indicated that Nissan could take the next Z down-market, it could instead bring back the 240SX to slot below it.
A reborn 240SX could utilize the same platform as the 370Z's replacement, but leave the V6 to the Z and borrow the Juke's 1.6-liter turbo four or even a 1.8-liter unit sourced from Mercedes-Benz through its new partnership with Nissan-Renault. Either one of these could be tuned to produce 200 horsepower, putting the rumored model directly in the GT86's crosshairs. Nissan hasn't confirmed anything just yet, but judging by the demand and hype for Toyota and Subaru's little sports coupe, a new 240SX could be just the thing Nissan is looking for.