Even before it rolled onto the stage at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday, the Nissan Gripz was already generating some wild rumors suggesting it might be anything from the next Juke crossover to a replacement for the Nissan 370Z sports car.
In a sense, both of those ideas are accurate. No, the Z-car isn’t going away, but today’s buyers want something more than the minimal soft-roaders of years past, and the Gripz suggests the next-generation Juke will bring not only the flexibility and utility of a crossover vehicle, but also the fun-to-drive characteristics of a sports cars.
Exactly how much of the Gripz concept will carry over into production remains to be seen, but expect to see some key elements, including the so-called V-Motion grille, which Nissan global creative director Shiro Nakamura confirmed will be the new face of Nissan products.
The Nissan Gripz picks up on some of the distinctive design cues – including that grille, boomerang head and taillights, floating roof and kick-up C-pillar – first seen on the Sway concept Nissan unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last Winter.
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Nissan – like sibling luxury brand Infiniti – has a history of rolling out edgy concept vehicles that ultimately translate into production models. The Infiniti Q30 also debuting at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show is a great example.
Exactly how close will the next Juke be to the Nissan Gripz concept? Nakamura says that “remains to be seen, though we are keen to gauge public reaction when it appears at the Frankfurt Show.”
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You can be sure at least some of the design details won’t carry over, notably the concept’s distinctive scissor doors. And the unusual recording system that mounts cameras into the headlamps to record your driving might not make it, either.
But the Nissan Gripz is a technological showcase, both inside – with its Gliding Wing instrument panel wrapping around an advanced infotainment system – to its “Pure Drive” hybrid system.
The automaker isn’t providing much detail about the drivetrain, beyond noting that the Gripz’s powertrain uses “An efficient gasoline engine…to power the electric motor found in the Nissan Leaf.”
The hybrid system offers a multi-mode system that can be shifted into EV mode for zero-emission driving, a 4×4 mode for off-roading or cruising on snowy highways, and even a Drift mode.
How soon might we see what – if anything – is in store for the Nissan Gripz Concept? The Japanese maker recently confirmed that it will maintain production of a next-generation Juke at its plant in Sunderland, Englad. That would suggest that we’ll find out in relatively short order.
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