Friday, August 5, 2011
Nissan's MX-5 rival could be a hybrid
Nissan has revived its plans to build a small, rear-wheel drive sports car to rival the Mazda MX-5 - but with a twist, according to Auto Express.
Not only will it have either hybrid or pure electric power, it says, but it will be based on a mid-sized platform to be supplied by… Daimler.
Actually, that bit is neither new nor speculative; Nissan and Daimler signed an agreement in March this year under which the German luxury car group will supply chassis to Nissan.
The Daimler platform would apparently be the basis for everything from the next 370Z to a new GT-R, the Infiniti G and a new luxury sports car - but nobody said anything at the time about a small roadster.
Insiders are saying it could look a lot like the pure-electric, rear-wheel drive EsFlow concept we saw for the first time at this year's Geneva show, powered by either a hybrid based on the 1.6-litre Juke turbopetrol engine, or an amped-up version of the Leaf powertrain.
And just to make it truly international, they reckon the part-aluminium chassis and suspension will be tuned by the masters of adding lightness, Lotus.
Nissan is apparently planning a European launch as soon as 2013, with a target price of €17 500 (R170 000).
And, with British agility coupled to more than 150kW of rear-wheel drive “green” power, Mazda's long-running success story - the biggest selling open two-seater ever built and still king of the hill after almost 23 years - could finally have some real competition.