A Euro-Japanese Crossover for Nissan’s Future
Concept cars from automakers can be one of two things—a flight of fancy from designers and engineers designed to attract attention to the brand, but with no hope of production—or a lightly veiled version of a future model. Nissan’s signature concept at the Geneva Motor Show this week was a bit of a hybrid (pun intended). It had plenty of fancy, but probably presented a good look at the next generation Rogue crossover.
The Nissan IMQ continues the company’s exploration of its electrified vision, in this case a compact crossover powered by a hybrid system combining a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with electric motors in each wheel. Total system power is 335 horsepower and a stump-pulling 516 pounds-feet of torque. Nissan has branded this its e-Power system, in this case paired with all-wheel drive package.
All this rides on 22-inch alloy wheels with custom-made Bridgestone Connect “smart” tires that promise to communicate with the car’s driver and its control systems so both can adjust to tire load, pressure, temperature, grip level, wear and tire health.
A Schizophrenic Interior
The communicative tires are just the beginning of this ride into future. The interior of the Nissan IMQ envisions an autonomous future with two large screens to present information while autonomously making your way to a destination. In addition to an enhanced version of Nissan’s ProPilot driving assistance, the IMQ features Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) technology first shown at CES in January.
I2V is a 3D augmented reality system that can help drivers see around corners, peek ahead in traffic to see the cause of a traffic jam, or even create a virtual companion for long solo trips. We found a bit of a disconnect in all of the AV-oriented technology with Nissan’s description of the interior as being “focused on the driver.” If the car’s driving itself, that seems like a bit of an oxymoron.
Drawing on Japanese Design
The new design theme in the IMQ embodies the Japanese concept of lamellas—detailed layers that appear in both the interior and exterior of the crossover. The highly angular design draws attention away from the focal point of the last generation of Nissan design–the V-Motion grill. For the concept car, doors are hinged on the front and rear to give a more expansive view of the interior on the display stand. These so-called “suicide doors” rarely make it into production. The sharp creases of the hand-built concept may not make it to the stamping presses, either.
Lamellas abound in the interior, too, seen on the floor design under the floating seats and spaceship-look dash. The 33-inch-wide embedded screen dominates the dash, but still lacks the dominating presence of Tesla’s center screen or Byton’s car-wide monitor. Nonetheless, the clean interior has got style and more than a hint at where Nissan designers intend to take their cars in the near future. While Nissan said the design direction was aimed at Europe, where the IMQ debuted, it’s hard to imagine this design not becoming a worldwide theme.
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