This Nissan GRIPZ Concept is out and stunning! Bold and sculptural lines take on a new level of layered surfacing, unique spoilers and evolved design themes.
There is good news and not-so-good news to share, however.
The good is that this compact crossover is gorgeous and previews a next generation of Nissan SUVs and crossovers. Everything from the next Frontier to the next Armada may wear designs influenced by the GRIPZ. Nissan calls this new form language ’emotionalgeometry.’
The not-great news is that this concept does not, after all, run a twin-turbo V6 — as we speculated last week. No, no it is not.
It is an extended-range EV with a small gasoline engine serving as power to the batteries. All propulsion is purportedly from the electric motors from a Nissan Leaf. This is sortof the territory explored by the Cadillac ELR. The tech that could not actually recharge the Chevy Volt completely… and required engine assist directly into the drivetrain for big mountain roads.
The power stats are hard to come by, but assuredly not a true Dakar contender on power or go-anywhere range. Alas, even if this is just a styling buck, it looks amazing.
Dramatic 2+2 takes Crossover concept to a new level
- A new breed of sporty compact crossover for a new, younger generation
- Inspired by classic desert rally cars and racing bicycles
- Packed with EV technology, based on Series hybrid system ‘Pure Drive’ e-Power
- Introducing ‘emotionalgeometry’ design language from Nissan
- Built in ‘dashcam’ cameras take Nissan’s safety technology to a new level
Crossover pioneer Nissan has revealed a new concept car which points to an innovative new future for the marque. Conceived by designers in Europe and Japan, the Nissan Gripz Concept blends the ability and practicality of a compact crossover with the excitement and performance of a sports car.
Infused with an exciting and adventurous feel, thanks to its radical design and advanced powertrain concept – theNissan Gripz Concept is Nissan’s next move as a game changer, and is a glimpse of how a future compact crossover from the pioneer of the segment might look.
The Nissan Gripz Concept is designed as a car with a dual personality; a vehicle that can handle the day-to-day commute and deliver a genuine adventure at the weekend.
In the same way a cyclist will use a bike to get to work and then head out on that same machine for an adrenaline fuelled ride when the working day is over, so too can the driver of the Nissan Gripz Concept tackle the city streets during the week before enjoying a drive over a mountain pass on a day off.
Although maintaining a similar footprint to a compact crossover, the Nissan Gripz Concept has the silhouette of a sports car with a raised ride height, equipped to conquer more challenging driving conditions.
The result pays homage to one of Nissan’s first ‘crossovers’ – the iconic Safari Rally-winning Nissan 240Z. In the 1970s these sports cars were re-engineered using expertise gathered from Nissan’s 4×4 range to cope with the demanding conditions of the Baja Peninsula, the open plains of Kenya, Uganda and present day Tanzania. These rally racers featured a raised ride height, toughened suspension and sported a matt-black finish for the bonnet and trunk set against a deep red-orange body colour.
The Nissan 240Zs were proof that sports cars didn’t have to be low to the ground to be fun. The Nissan Gripz Concept proves this again – incorporating Nissan’s expertise in crossovers, 4x4s, sports cars, and to bring it fully up to date for the new generation, electric powertrain prowess.
The Nissan Gripz Concept is equipped with an EV technology based Series hybrid system ‘Pure Drive e-Power’. An efficient petrol engine is used to power the electric motor found in the Nissan LEAF.
The powertrain combines Nissan’s various control technologies from its years of experience developing EVs. This configuration delivers smooth, swift and linear acceleration in near-silence, with supreme efficiency. As a result, the Nissan Gripz Concept offers a smooth, refined and exhilarating driving experience with outstanding fuel efficiency.
The Nissan Gripz Concept is seen as a design statement rather than a replacement for an existing model, although it does feature cues from Nissan’s new ‘emotionalgeometry’ design language.
The Crossover concept incorporates four key design elements first seen in Europe on the Nissan Sway, one of the stars of the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. As with Sway, Gripz features a V-motion grille, boomerang lamps front and rear, a floating roof and a kicked-up C pillar.
However, the similarities end there. While Sway hinted at a possible direction for a compact hatchback, the Nissan Gripz Concept is quite the different proposition.
“Nissan pioneered the idea of the compact crossover, and this is reflected in the enormous popularity of Qashqai and Juke and the resulting growth of the market segment as other manufacturers play catch-up.”
“While the Nissan Gripz Concept is not seen as a direct replacement for either of those two iconic vehicles, it does show the extremes to which the compact crossover can be pushed,”said Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer.
Created through collaboration between Nissan Design Europe in London and Nissan Global Design Center in Japan, the exterior of the Nissan Gripz Concept is guided by the ‘emotional geometry’ body sculpting concept which depicts strong contrasts through the dynamic, tensional, yet edgy surface.
Taking the high-tech simplicity – two apparent contradictions – of a racing bicycle as inspiration, the concept features a carbon frame over which expressive body panels are placed, like armoured cladding.
Exposed carbon elements spear through the design, accentuating features such as the boomerang-shape given to the leading edge of the front door structure. Gripz has four doors – with deep dihedral front doors that swing out and up when opened, and a pair of rear-hinged half-doors behind. There is no B-pillar, allowing easy access to the 2+2 interior.
The front end is dominated by Nissan’s V-motion grille, mounted low and framed by rectangular lamps housing high and low beams.
Embedded in the lamps are forward-facing cameras that record every journey, just as a helmet-cam is used by cyclists. Using a live feed, adventures through great roads can be beamed around the world, allowing for friends to follow the car’s progress on their computer, tablet or smart phone in real time.
Boomerang-shaped running lights sit above the lamps, on top of the front fenders and denote the demarcation line between the matt-black bonnet and the red-orange main body colour.
More matt-black can be found on the extended wheel arches, the pinched and indented triangular sill – raised to increase ground clearance – and the A-pillar leading to the floating roof. The roof features a central glazed panel with bullet grey-coloured composite panels on either side over the seating areas.
These reduce in width as they flow towards the rear of the car and blend into the rear lamps, which mirror the boomerang shape of the front running lights and wrap themselves around the rear three quarters of the car.
At the rear, a dramatic truncated matt-black Kamm tail gives the concept a ‘codatronca’ effect while beneath the tailgate sits a pair of chromed trapezoidal exhaust pipes.
The three-spoke 22-inch wheels are also inspired by racing bicycles – lightweight yet strong wearing comparatively thin high-pressure tyres, especially constructed for the concept by Bridgestone. Red and white graphics found on the sidewalls are replicated on the car’s steering wheel.
While the exterior was created in Europe, a dedicated team based in Japan designed the interior. Like the exterior, functional simplicity is the key to the design.
Again featuring a mix of matt-grey and the deep red-orange colours, the interior underlines the car’s Tour de France inspiration with exposed tubes, moulded bucket seats and layered features echoing the cladding effect found on the exterior.
The seats and centre console are directly inspired by bicycles, as are the door pulls that are shaped like saddles from a racing bike. The three-spoke steering wheel, meanwhile, replicates the car’s road wheels, right down to the special graphics found on the tyre sidewalls.
Like the Nissan Sway Concept and recent production cars, the Nissan Gripz Concept has a ‘Gliding Wing’instrument panel. This elegantly thin design combines strength with simplicity and perfectly echoes the ethos of the concept.
“What influence this Concept’s design has on the next crossover generation from Nissan remains to be seen, though we are keen to gauge public reaction when it appears at the Frankfurt Show,”Nakamuraadded.
Nissan Gripz Concept Dimensions (mm)
Inspired by two wildly diverse race vehicles, the GRIPZ may or may not preview a next-gen Juke: a rally racing Datsun 240Z and a Specialized road racing bicycle.
We initially thought it was definitely a preview of next juke, but now believe (hope?) this GRIPZ might be an off-road Z car.
Would this even be possible!? Oh yes.
As the original Infiniti FX showed, the Nissan front-midship reardrive platform is exceptionally flexible. Everything from the 350Z to the G35 was built of these all-star bones — so the possibility is there. From the initial teaser video snippets seen below, the vehicle appears to run a longitudinally-mounted turbo V6. This could be wishful thinking.
2015 Nissan GRIPZ Concept
Designed to build on Nissan’s pioneering Crossover leadership, Nissan’s Gripz Concept will make its global premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Inspiration for the Nissan Gripz Concept came from the legendary 240Z desert racers as well as the sleek two-wheel world of road cycling. The design explores a new sporty direction for a Crossover concept and was conceived to create an innovative new driving sensation.
The world premiere will take place at the Nissan stand on September 15th, 2015. Stay tuned for more innovative Crossover thinking from Nissan.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.