One fair lady: Nissan’s 370Z may be rebadged ‘Z35’, include turbo hybrid powertrain by 2017

The Nissan 370Z is due for some major changes in the next couple of years, and that’s major with a capital Z … just go with it.

Motoring is reporting that, by 2017, Nissan’s 370Z may be rebadged ‘Z35’ and marketed as a truly global sports car. The 370Z (and its predecessor, the 350Z) were mainly endorsed in the U.S. and Japan, so the next Z-car could have a much more universal allure.

Spearheading the Z35’s broad appeal with be a wider variety of powertrain choices. Unlike its antecedents, which were solely offered with a fantastic VQ series V6, the new car will house a Mercedes-Benz-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the same one that’s found in the Infiniti Q50. The engine only makes 211 horsepower in the Infiniti (and Skyline abroad), but Nissan has a plan for that.

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To thwart horsepower reduction stress, the turbo four-pot will be mated to an electric power source to lower fuel consumption and, of course, increase thrust.

A 402-horsepower turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder is in the pipe too, which will also be given a electric boost. Combined hybrid output hasn’t been confirmed yet, but sources say the six-cylinder will be Mercedes-sourced as well. The engines do sound promising; it will be hard not to miss the VQ V6s, though.

Styling should receive significant revisions, the most prominent of which being an open-top targa layout. Motoring’s sources “feel this feature will appeal to a wider cross-section of potential customers.”

These changes makes sense, considering that, in one form or another, the 370Z has been around since 2002. Yes, the 370Z was thoroughly revamped during its evolution from the 350Z moniker, but both cars were naturally aspirated, V6-powered, hefty sports cars with a similar look and driving style.

The addition of a T-bar roof and a turbo hybrid powertrain should shake things up quite a bit, giving Z-car fans the automotive excitement they’re looking for today with the technology of tomorrow. If Motoring’s report proves to be accurate, the Z35 should be smaller and lighter than the 370Z as well.

The Z35 is expected to start for around $60,000 when it debuts by 2017.

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