USA TODAY US Edition
Gripz crossover offers glimpse into the future at Nissan
Nissan took the wraps off its futuristic Gripz concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday, and it’s a crossover in more ways than one.
Part rally car, part off-roader, part sport coupe and part hybrid, the Gripz was Nissan’s opportunity to draw attention to both the company’s past and future.
The Gripz draws its inspiration from the 240Z Safari rally car, which Nissan Europe boss Paul Willcox called “perhaps Nissan’s first crossover.”
But it’s also meant to show off the technology and design that will be behind the next generation of Nissans, including lightweight construction and a hybrid powertrain.
Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s senior vice president for design and chief creative officer, said the Gripz shows how a crossover can evolve into a performance car.
Drivers can select from an “EV” mode for everyday driving, a 4-wheel-drive mode for off-road fun or travel in the snow, or a “drift” mode — which uses the Gripz’s electric motors to give the same feel as a rear-wheel drive sports car.
The design is one we wouldn’t be surprised to see inspiring the next Z — or the next Juke. A matte-black hood leads to what Nakamura called the V-Motion front end, which will be Nissan’s design signature going forward. The interior supposedly is inspired by a racing bicycle and makes heavy use of carbon fiber.
And if you do take it off-road or on the track, cameras built into the headlamps will record your every move and stream your shenanigans to the Internet, live. More responsible owners may prefer to use the system as a security camera when the car is parked.