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Did You Know Nissan Almost Made a Mid-Engine Acura NSX Fighter?

The Nissan MID4 concept is like the R32 GT-R and 300ZX Twin Turbo had a mid-engined baby.

Japan’s economic swell in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in the production of many strange, wondrous vehicles. But for every car like the Nissan S-Cargo that reached the market, there was one that didn’t and sadly, we’re looking here at an example of the latter category: a since-forgotten, high-performance Nissan that could’ve rivaled the Honda NSX.

In 1985, Nissan introduced a concept car called the MID4. It was a mid-engined sports car prototype meant to compete with the best produced in Europe at the time and was a showcase of technologies yet to come from Nissan. It had an early version of the ATTESA all-wheel-drive system that’d become famous in the R32 Skyline GT-R, though because of the MID4’s engine location, its power split was set to 33/67 front-rear. HICAS four-wheel-steer, double-wishbone front suspension, and multilink rear would’ve made the MID4 a remarkably nimble car, and with a claimed top speed of over 155 miles per hour, it would’ve been fast in a straight line too.

Almost fast, anyway. The first MID4 concept was powered by a 3.0-liter VG30DE V6, which produced just 190 horsepower in the contemporary Z31 300ZX. That’s not a ton of beans for a high-performance car with AWD, so in 1987, Nissan debuted an updated MID4-II concept, this one with styling that was equal parts NSX and Silvia, and a powertrain worthier of this application. It now touted a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo VG30DETT V6, which Nissan fans will recognize as the engine that powered the Z32 300ZX Twin Turbo. It produced more grunt in the MID4-II than it did the Z, though, with 325 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque.

As mechanically and electronically complex as the MID4-II was, it wasn’t all that porky at 3,086 pounds. All the cutting-edge tech stuffed into the MID4 meant, however, that it would’ve been mind-bogglingly costly to produce (and with how cramped its engine bay was, tricky to work on too). In the end, Nissan never sent the MID4 into production, leaving us with unanswered questions about what could have been. How would modified MID4s have looked? Could it have gone racing? Might the MID4 have been capable of eating the NSX‘s lunch? We’ll never know, but these questions are what imagination is for.

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