332hp snowmobile starts the week with some flurry-based fun!
Having been officially unveiled at the 2008 LA Auto Show, Nissan's 370Z is getting on for a decade old now. In the face of stiff competition from the likes of the Mustang GT, M240i and GT86, fewer than 900 were sold in Europe last year - down from a 2010 high of 2,200 - and, with no replacement in sight, things seem unlikely to change soon.
So, what to do to thrust the ailing coupe back into the limelight? Well, Nissan has its answer - turn it into a snowmobile...
Behold, then, the one-off "370Zki" - pronounced "370-Ski", obviously. Created for this week's Chicago Auto Show, Nissan describes the 370Zki as "continuing our recent tradition of bringing imaginative winter vehicle concepts to the Chicago Auto Show."
In order to transform a standard 370Z Roadster into the piste bothering 370Zki a few alterations were of course necessary. A custom lift kit had to be designed and fabricated, adding the extra 3-inches of ride height required by the car's 4ft long DOMINATOR® tracks. The suspension was modified at both ends, custom mountings and spacers were made for the back and adapters for the skis were created for the front, brake lines had to be rerouted, and the exhaust system was modified.
All of that work required the removal of the entire drivetrain, with the engine and transmission having to be custom-mounted, and a front skid plate fabricated to protect it from damage, resulting in the 332hp snowmobile you see before you.
Sticking things on tracks may be getting rather old hat now - it's not even the first time Nissan has done it, and GMC's All Mountain seemed to have shotgunned the publicity stunt for this winter - but we have to admit, it does still look like a lot of fun. Watch it slithering over the slopes below!
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Of course we all understand the challenges that an OEM might face while trading a platform that's a bit long in the tooth. Also, the market has shifted toward crossovers, the sports car segment in general is down, blah, blah, blah.
On the other hand, the 370Z is such a worthy car... I hope that she continues for years. Good value and a huge aftermarket and community.
It would be exciting if Nissan could simply refresh the 370Z at a modest internal cost, instead of thinking in terms of the industry standard: discrete generations and entirely new platforms at tremendous cost.
To the European sales figures above, I'll add the US (source):