Nissan wants its segment back.
Following the image blow the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ have dealt to Nissan’s reputation as the dominant purveyor of Japanese sporty cars, development has begun (and is likely stepped up) on a car rumored to be the replacement of the Silvia, called the 240SX, in North America.
Our source inside Japan got hold of an illustration of an engine being developed by Nissan, designated W53F PF, which was recently leaked to a prominent Japanese car magazine. The "53" in its code most likely refers to the same platform designation used by the Nissan 370Z and Infiniti G sedans. And, judging from the illustration, our source suggests it is an inline-4 with a turbocharger or supercharger; this is of particular significance, because before Nissan canned plans for a Silvia successor in the wake of the Great Recession a few years ago, it was to be built with either a turbocharged or supercharged inline-4. Coincidence? We don't think so.
The engine appears smaller than 2.0 liters in displacement, and may be sharing some components with the current Nissan Juke's 1.6-liter turbo inline-4, which is codenamed MR16DDT. If Nissan were to produce this engine, the new Silvia would be armed with about 200 bhp and 217 lb.-ft. of torque, making it quick off the line and likely able to beat the FR-S/BRZ from 0-60. Another possibility is a new engine based on Mercedes-Benz's 1.8 liter that currently powers the C180. As unlikely as it might once have been, Nissan and MB have formed an engine and platform-sharing partnership, so this is certainly a viable option. However, if dropped into the Silvia, our source tells us that since the turbo 1.8-liter engine only makes 156 bhp and 184 lb.-ft., peaking from 1600 to 4200 rpm—which would make the car a step behind its Scion and Subaru rivals—we can expect it to be tuned by Nissan to put out at least 200 bhp.
We also were able to snag a top secret rendering of what the car should look like. The styling is hot, with an organic Japanese fusion of geometric shapes, surprising but attractive angles, and flowing curves that make it appear as if it will "cut" through the wind very efficiently.
If these early, basic fundamentals are what they appear to be, then in the affordable, fun-to-drive, front-engine/rear-drive sports coupe arena, Nissan will indeed have a proper counterpunch to the FR-S/BRZ.