Nissan Gripz - The Z Crossover Unveiled At Frankfurt Motor Show
The next model to carry the coveted Z badge could be a crossover as the Nissan Gripz concept was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week.
Sep 19, 2015
The Nissan Gripz concept was unveiled in Frankfurt last week. On paper the concept sounds pretty out there but after all was explained, it turns out to be a crossover model like no other! Inspired by the Z rally cars of the 1970s, desert rally cars and a more unusual idol; racing bicycles. Nissan are not transforming their Z series but rather borrowing aspects of their sports car and adapting it to the success of their other models such as the Juke.
The crossover concept is rumoured to be the next generation of the Juke and after the grand unveiling it does share a resemblance. The Juke was originally inspired by motorcycles so the Gripz concept shares similar inspiration.
Inspired by motorsports heritage
The Nissan design team were influenced by Nissan’s motorsports heritage for the main exterior design of the crossover. From the long hood, fast back and sleek yet muscular design with the juxtaposition of a higher stance that are a common feature of the lifted hatchback.
The traditional two-seater sports car is evolving, manufacturers are looking at innovating and exciting ways to blend a sports car with other model types. This is Nissan’s interpretation; the sub-brand will include vehicles that are more suitable for an everyday commute than the existing 370Z. Phillipe Klein, the product planning chief at Nissan reported that “the concept is an exploration of different trends in the market aiming to introduce a dynamic sports car with fuel economy and alternative drive.”
The muscular exterior with a prominent V motion grille and sharp lines is a sportier affair than your usual crossover. The concept is also shorter than the Juke and Wider than the 370Z, 65mm shorter and 135mm wider with a wheelbase that is longer by 50mm. The most intriguing choice is the carbon fibre bonnet, a direct nod to the 240Z. Can't get to grips with the Z crossover? (we couldn't resist...) well you can expect the finished article to be a direct homage to Nissan’s Z series and at least that is something to admire.
For work & play
Nissan’s design team wanted the cabin to reflect the functionality of a sports bicycle. The main goal of the Gripz concept is to adapt the sports vehicle to be used for both work and leisure. A similar principle of how sports bicycles are used to commute to work but can still be enjoyed at the weekend. Providing the driver with a similar sensation of the freedom you experience when riding a bicyle.
The steering wheel even looks like a bicycle wheel and the pedals BMX/mountain bike inspired. The rest of the interior has a stripped-back design which can be customised by removing or replacing some of the leather patches. A mixture of artificial leather, gloss and a lot of carbonfibre surrounds the sportscar inspired seats.
As for performance, the engine hasn’t really been a main feature but we do know that under the hood holds a version of the electric motor that you’d expect to find in the Nissan Leaf. Paired with a petrol motor to power the electric motor. Although clearly a hybrid there was no mention of whether the Gripz was also capable of plug-in power.
You can rest assured that although introducing a new crossover will carry the Z badge, it is extremely unlikely that it will be a replacement of the 370Z that remains a popular success for Nissan. The Gripz may be the start of a Z sub-brand, a sports-crossover that sits somewhere in between the Z and the Juke. It may even be unlikely that the concept will replace the Juke after firmly earning its place as one of the UK’s best-selling and most successful crossovers.
Do you want to see a Nissan Z – inspired sports crossover to be enjoyed both for work commutes as well as a great sports car at the weekend? Let us know your thoughts about the Nissan Gripz concept!