Forgotten lessons: Nissan MID4 (1985/87)

Forgotten lessons: Nissan MID4 (1985/87)

( – Permanent all-wheel drive with viscous coupling. 5-speed manual gearbox. Body with lots of fiberglass. With 4 wheel steering and four disc brakes with ABS. Dimensions: length 4.16 meters, width 1.78 meters and height 1.20 meters with a wheelbase of 2.44 meters. Weight: 1400 kg. 295 km/h top speed and 4.9 seconds to 100 km/h. And that was between 1985 and 1987. It sounds like a Porsche or a Ferrari, but it was a Nissan MID4.

Nissan MID4 (1985/87)


The sports car study was presented for the first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1985. The MID4 was intended to show the world what Nissan could achieve with its in-house technologies.

The first car (as at least two were made) was a white pearl left car model – see photo above. The second car made was red. The car had a 3 liter V6 (VG30) from the Z31 – Fairlady Z/300ZX, is installed as a central engine. However, with four camshafts, 24 valves and an output of 230 hp at 6000 rpm.

First Nissan with ATESA and HICAS

But that was not the most interesting thing. The car had all-wheel drive, which distributed the power transmitted 33% to the front axle and 67% to the rear axle to achieve good balance and handling at high speeds.

This system was the first ATESA – Nissan 4WD system development, which was later adopted for production models such as Skyline, Bluebird, Cefiro and others.

The first MID4 also had the first stage of HICAS all-wheel steering, which was intended to ensure better cornering, taking into account acceleration and lateral acceleration when driving through curves. This system, after modification, was adopted in the Z series and the middle / upper Nissan coupe and sedan models.

A smooth hybrid body of Porsche 959 and Ferrari Testarossa

Finally, the car had four disc brakes with an anti-lock system and the body was designed to be aerodynamically efficient. The influence of the MID-4 style was also seen in October 1985 on the face of the 300ZX (Z31). A second (red) right-hand drive MID4 was probably shown at the Tokyo Motor Show that month.

Exactly two years later, Nissan presented a dream car to the public, which they called the MID4-II. It followed the main points of its predecessor, but this time in a form that could be considered marketable.

The body was better than the 1985 one, with a smoother blend of Porsche 959Ferrari Testarossa and its Nissan model. This car was tested on a racetrack in the USA and immediately proved its progressive qualities.

All-wheel drive was only available in the iconic Skyline GT-R

The engine was basically the same as the one used in the Z32 300ZX in 1990, but it made 330 hp thanks to its twin turbos and superchargers. The chassis was also adopted later in the Z32, but not the all-wheel drive system, which was developed with the help of the Austrian manufacturer Steyr-Daimler-Puch.

Nissan management felt that with good tires and suspension, the new Z32 will have good road holding even without the all-wheel drive system.

Of course, it was considered to equip the car with a system, but the weight will increase and the external structure will change, causing the car to be raised by about 5 cm and the hood line changed. The lucky car to receive the system was the Skyline GT-R, a sports car brand in Japan.

At least three prototypes of the MID4-II were built, one in horn white from the Tokyo show, one in red metallic and another in titanium gray used for track testing. All were left hand drive.

Other forgotten subjects:

Forgotten Lessons: Audi R8 V12 TDI Concept (2008)
Forgotten Lessons: Nissan AP-X (1993)

In 1987, Nissan was still unsure whether to build the MID4 as a successor to the Z, but ultimately decided it would be too expensive. Surprisingly, just three years later, just like the development of the original Z, Nissan was interested in the project again.

But this time you wanted (perhaps in response to Honda NSX) make a supercar that would be powered by Infiniti’s 4.5-liter V8, but that’s another story.