It doesn't make sense to us either, but the Grip Z concept is inspired by a rally 240Z and a Tour de France racing bicycle.
Nissan pulled the wraps off of its Gripz concept this week at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show.
Believe it or not, this compact crossover pays homage to Nissan's 1971 Safari Rally-winning Nissan 240Z.
The concept stretches the limits of the automaker's current design language with boomerang-shaped headlamps, the "V-Motion" grille and other angular elements.
Like the Juke and Qashqui crossovers, the Gripz blends a coupe-like profile with the elevated ground clearance of an SUV.
The chassis is composed of carbon fiber, upon which Nissan has laid a body of lightweight composite.
Nissan says that the conceptual powertrain beneath the skin is a "Pure Drive e-Power" setup.
The wheels are driven by an electric motor that is identical to that of the Nissan Leaf EV.
The motor puts a stated 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque to the wheels via a single-speed transmission.
The automaker says that "an efficient petrol engine" is used to power the electric motor (much like the Chevrolet Voltec powertrain), but did not state the specs of this generator.
A motor identical to that of the Nissan Leaf seems to indicate that the Gripz is most likely only two-wheel drive. Its sporty character and Z-car heritage lean toward rear-wheel drive.
The front doors swing up and away from the rear-hinged back doors to reveal a massive, pillar-less portal into the cabin.
The compact concept has space for four in its sparse cabin.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed to see Nissan exploring a compact crossover inspired by the Z when the actual production Z languishes without major updates for another year.
Nissan says that the concept combines "the stripped-back lightness of a Tour de France road-racing bicycle with the strength of a rally car." I suppose that both of those things have wheels? I'm not seeing the connection.
Nissan's style still rubs me the wrong way, but Gripz's promise to blend the handling of the Juke and the Leaf's electric torque with a lightweight chassis seems promising.
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