By Steve & Tamami Laser
With the Frankfurt Motor Show press preview just a few days away, Nissan Europe has released a sneak peek at its new Gripz concept via mysterious design sketches and a short video. We like what we see so far and wonder if this concept previews an upcoming production crossover or something completely new in the world of sports cars?
It’s no secret that Nissan helped to pioneer the small crossover sector with its successful Juke, Qashqai and X-Trail models. Nissan says that with a combination of rugged 4×4 looks, hatchback running costs, and luxury car rivalling technology more than 2.5 million have been sold across Europe.
The design language for Gripz explores a new sporty direction for a crossover concept and was conceived to create an innovative new driving sensation. (video: Nissan Europe)
So can Nissan continue to innovate and move the bar higher? What if Nissan created a new way to feel driving excitement? The answers will be revealed at Frankfurt. Of course, it never hurts to speculate so here’s our five cents (Euros?) opinion. The name “Gripz” connects with bikes while also sounding like a development code for the concept (“Grip” the road like a “Z”).
Nissan has been hinting that the next Fairlady Z (370Z) might transform into a crossover. The video plays up the fact that Nissan is channeling its inner Z with this concept.
“Inspiration for the Nissan Gripz Concept came from the legendary 240Z desert racers as well as the sleek two-wheel world of road cycling,” says the automaker. This single pod gauge cluster provides another clue, and so does the oddly shaped steering wheel below.
We’re not sure how legions of fans would react to such a paradigm shift for the Z. Perhaps Gripz previews the next generation Juke influenced with Z styling cues? Or maybe it will be something completely new taking the Juke Nismo to the next level?
Another thought is that Gripz is the latest spin on Nissan’s IDx Freeflow and Nismo concepts (above) from the last Tokyo Motor Show. The compact coupes aimed at younger buyers were developed with the input of “digital natives” or those born after 1990. The result was a back-to-basics modern spin on the Datsun Bluebird (510). Yet the IDx twins never made it to production due to the lack of a low-cost rear-drive platform combined with slowing sales in the coupe segment. Perhaps Nissan will get a better Gripz on the future of affordable sporty cars with its new crossover concept?
Stay tuned – the Gripz world premiere will take place at the Nissan stand at Frankfurt on September 15. (We hope to get up-close-and-personal with Gripz at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show in October.)
News source, photos and Gripz video from Nissan Europe and Nissan Motor Corp. Japan
IDx Nismo video © CarNichiWa.com
Story ©2015 CarNichiWa.com