Nissan produced a mid-engined concept car many don’t know about called the MID4 (abbreviation for Mid-Engine Four-Wheel Drive), designed to compete against the Honda NSX and the best from Porsche and Ferrari.
The MID4 and MID4-II were never put into production, however the engines used in these cars went onto power the Nissan 300ZX Z32. The legendary Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R used the four-wheel drive system and four-wheel steering system from these cars.
What made the MID4 so unique?
The Nissan MID4 concept, unveiled at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show, looked like a combination of a Porsche 944 and Lotus Esprit. It featured a 3.0-litre naturally aspirated V6 named the ‘VG30DE’ and produced 180kW. The engine, positioned behind the rear seats in a mid-engine configuration, sent power to all four wheels by way of the ATESSA four-wheel drive system.
Introduction of the MID4-II
Further developments led to the introduction of the MID4-II, first seen at the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show. Exterior design had changed and two years after this car’s introduction, Honda’s NSX came out with a similar looking front end to the MID4-II. A big power buldge, added to the rear boot lid, gave the car a more flowing design than the MID4. Twin exhaust outlets featured, instead of the quad exhaust outlets seen on the Z32 300ZX. The interior of the MID4-II was reminiscent of that seen in the Z32 300ZX, with a similar dashboard layout, center console and low slung seating position. The car was heavier than the MID4, weighing 1400kg, but featured a twin turbo engine named the ‘VG30DETT’, helping to boost power to 243kW. On offer was double wishbone front suspension and a Multi-link rear suspension. Ventilated disc brakes featured on the front and rear and tyre size was 235/55ZR16 at the front and 255/50ZR16 at the rear.
What legacy did these cars leave?
Unfortunately the cost of production meant the end of this project, with only three MID4-II’s built. During the MID4 project, the 300ZX was already in development and considered to be a better car to drive and also significantly cheaper. The MID4 concept is long forgotten, but at least some technology like ATESSA and HICAS found its way into other Nissan production cars. The ‘VG30’ engines also went onto power the naturally aspirated and twin-turbo Nissan Z32 300ZX models.If you enjoy this website, please donate to help it grow.