When thinking of great mid-engined sports cars to come out of Japan in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Honda NSX immediately springs to mind. Before the NSX, Nissan produced a little known mid-engined concept car called the MID4, designed to compete against the best from Porsche and Ferrari.
The Nissan MID 4 concept was unveiled at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show. It featured a 3.0 litre naturally aspirated V6 named the ‘VG30DE’ and produced 183kW. The engine was positioned behind the rear seats and sent drive to all four wheels, courtesy of the ATESSA four-wheel drive system. This sent 33 percent of power to the front and 67 percent of the power to the rear wheels. A five speed manual was the only gearbox offered and the car had independent adjustable suspension. It was also the first Nissan model to feature HICAS four-wheel steering. The car weighed only 1230kg and was capable of hitting a 250 km/h top speed.
Further developments led to the introduction of the MID 4 II first seen at the 1987 Toyko Motor Show. This model had all the technology seen in the first version, but featured a twin turbo engine named the ‘VG30DETT’, helping to boost power to 243kW. Exterior design had changed and two years after this car was introduced, the NSX came out with a similar looking front end to the MID 4 II.
Only three MID 4 II’s were made and unfortunately the cost of production spelt the end of this project. The concept is long forgotten, but at least some of the technology made its way into some of Nissan’s great production cars including the Z32 300ZX and Nissan Skyline R32 GTR.