Gripz concept previews state of Nissan Z brand
Nissan has released a preview of a concept car it will be unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show, while also confirming that is destined to take the place of the 370Z.
The big shocker here is that it is not a sports car, but rather a crossover junior SUV.
We reported on this earlier last week, at which point the possibility of the new Z car being a crossover was still unknown, but a strong possibility based on the rest of the Nissan range and the market.
The 370Z has reached a point where Nissan’s chief creative officer believes can’t grow to a 390Z because it is already powerful enough. Anything more powerful or sportier would start encroaching on GT-R territory, which remains the brand’s performance crown jewel.
The idea of a crossover Z had been mentioned because it would expose Nissan to a market that wants something more SUV-like bit doesn’t want to commit to a larger SUV like the Qashqai, or to those who feel that the Juke is too quirky and not sporty enough.
These trends are particularly prevalent in the US market, where the Z brand also has a very strong following.
The Gripz will revitalise the Z badge, as well as revisiting the black bonnet used on the classic Datsun 240Z rally car. This means that Nissan will probably look to appease loyal Z fans who might consider the use of the Z badge on a crossover as sacrilege, with plenty of nostalgic references.
The styling previewed so far looks to be very extreme; the front is very sculpted and it is not yet known if Nissan will stick to a classic three-door formula, or whether the Gripz will be a faux coupé with hidden rear doors.
We are expecting an aggressively sloped roof to the point that rear headroom will be limited, making the rear seats occasional at best.
Not much has been said about what will power the Gripz but there is a notion that Nissan will try to preview some all-wheel drive hybrid technology, with a traditional petrol engine in the front and a electric motor powering the rear axle.
Hopefully we will know more when the concept goes on show in Frankfurt later this week.