Mike Stevens | Jul 28, 2008

What do you get when you send a German automotive design student to study in Taiwan? Why, you get one of the most stunning four-door coupes we'll probably never see on the road. Or at least, not for some time to come, and probably not without some dumbing down homologation.

The Datsun XLink, conceived at the Yulon Nissan Design Centre in Taiwan, is the design brainchild of Pforzheim University design student Benjamin Nawka, and represents his thoughts on what would make for the ideal opening salvo in a hypothetical re-introduction of the Datsun brand.


As the first four-door coupe in the compact car segment, it would certainly be one heck of a re-introduction. When presenting the design at Pforzheim Graduate Show 2008 earlier this month, Nawka was optimistic about the XLink's real-world potential.

"[The XLink is] the first product of the new lifestyle brand DATSUN, whose re-introduction is based on the excellent image of the 240Z and other cars which were mainly affordable, reliable and easy-to-use."

"[It] combines a unique and fresh design language as well as a number of features and marketing ideas."

Riding on massive 19" rims barely hiding motorcycle-like disc brakes big enough to double for wheels on a small train, The XLink seats four passengers, and its 380 litre boot should provided ample space to cram your fare-evading friends into on your next trip to the drive-in of 2025.

The odd little 'winglets' at the front and rear of the XLink contain Daytime Running Lights (DRL), as well as blindspot and rear vision cameras.

Nawka describes the in-car computer—the XLink Experience Communication System—as a system which would allow XLink drivers to connect with each other and share data on each others cars and travels. If you're simply out for an aimless cruise, a "Coincidence Mode" navigation system would suggest random destinations to keep things fresh.

To aid its versatility in different markets around the world, Nawka says the XLink would feature a height-adjustable chassis, allowing it to make its way along the roughest of roads.

"It's not an SUV, but it can drive on pretty bad roads."

Looking at those rims, it would want more than just a height-adjustable chassis if it's going to cross-country comfortably, but all in all, while there's really nothing distinctively "Datsun" about it, the XLink is one seriously inspiring car.

Some of you might look at it now and think it's not much chop, but trust me; our kids are going to look at cars like this the same we look at any of today's hot cars. And no doubt we'll look at our kids the same way our folks look at us now.

The more I look at the XLink, the more I'm pleasantly reminded of the brilliant 2005 Toyota Sportivo Coupe concept.

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