Nissan Silvia

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Keywords: Nissan Silvia

Description: When the global financial crisis hit in September 2008, the V-10 powered Honda NSX wasn't the only casualty. Read on to learn more on the Nissan Silvia brought to you by the automotive experts at Motor Trend.

When the global financial crisis hit in September 2008, the V-10 powered Honda NSX wasn’t the only casualty. Nissan ‘s rear-wheel drive Silvia — sold in the U.S. as the 240SX from 1989 to 1998 — coupe project also hit the chopping block, despite being some 70-percent complete, including its exterior design. At the time, Nissan’s bean counters could not justify completing the project.

Fast-forward nearly three years. With its balance sheet back in order, Nissan has just announced its ambitious Power 88 plan, which proposes to boost global market share and profit margin by 8 percent within six years, in large part by launching some 52 new vehicles by 2016. That’s one new car every six weeks!

According to Japan’s Holiday Auto magazine, it appears the Silvia will be one of those 52 cars. Although the probability of it getting a new name is extremely high, for argument’s sake, we’ll call it Silvia.

So what went into that coupe when it was axed in 2008? Dropped onto the 370Z’s FR-L rear-drive platform but with a 2+2 configuration, the coupe was set to incorporate the Juke’s 1.6 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged powerplant and cost around 2.5 million yen (about $28,000). The engine was a curious choice, given that the FR-L platform is optimized for six- and eight-cylinder applications.

This is where the story gets interesting. In March 2011, Daimler bosses signed an agreement to supply midsize platforms to Nissan within two years that would be flexible enough to employ engines from inline fours up to V-8s. We already know this platform will form the basis for the next generation Skyline and Infiniti G models, but we have also just learned that it will find its way into other future Infinitis.

We have also discovered that the reborn Silvia project is the tip of the iceberg of a whole new rear-wheel-drive platform strategy from Nissan that will take shape after 2020. This project will not only involve a combination of Nissan and Daimler technologies, but specialized involvement from a surprising new partner, Lotus Engineering. Known for its superb tuning of Japanese cars including the Toyota Celica XX and the Isuzu Piazza, Lotus was also reportedly involved in early development of the R35 GT-R.

What does this new three-way collaboration add up to? The commercialization of rear-drive electric vehicles (EVs). And that’s where Lotus’ expertise in optimizing lightweight construction will come in handy — especially when dealing with weighty battery and motor technology. To achieve the desired effect, our source tells us that Lotus will opt for a brand new “bathtub” construction to replace the orthodox monocoque body. As we have seen with the Leaf, heavy battery packs require a different type of monocoque construction compared to standard gas-powered cars. The new platform will have to cater to both EV needs and that of traditional gas and diesel-powered cars. So, as you have probably guessed, Nissan has not yet decided whether the all-new Silvia will be powered by a gas engine or an electric system, or both. In fact, one insider sees the new Silvia resurfacing in around 2013 as a kind of “bridge” between the axed gas-powered Silvia of 2008 and the electric-powered, rear-drive ESFLOW concept car that debuted at Geneva earlier this year.



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