Nissan Gripz Concept Details Revealed At Frankfurt Motor Show Photo:
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Tony O'Kane | Sep, 16 2015 | 4 Comments

Nissan has lifted the lid on its adventurous Gripz concept, and concerned Z-car fans can breathe a sigh of relief - it's not the 370Z replacement it was rumoured to be.

Rather, Nissan prefers that the Gripz be "seen as a design statement rather than a replacement for an existing model". The iconic Z nameplate is safe for now, it appears.

But that's not to say there's no Z DNA in the design. Besides building on the compact crossover template set by the Juke, the Gripz also draws on the Japanese automaker's motorsports heritage: namely its iconic 240Z Safari Rally racers of the 1970s.

The Gripz's black-on-red paint scheme is the most telling link to those cars, but so is its jacked-up ride height and fastback silhouette. Like the classic 240Z rally cars, the Gripz blends a go-anywhere stance with a sporty bodyshell.

The Gripz borrows from other Nissan vehicles as well. The boomerang-shaped headlights not only evoke the 370Z's lamps, but also those of the Sway concept (which previews the new Micra) revealed at Geneva earlier this year.

Meanwhile Its electric drive motor is also borrowed from the Nissan Leaf, and is charged by a small-capacity four-cylinder petrol engine. No V6-rivalling powertrain here.

While the company isn't talking specific performance numbers just yet, the Gripz's driving experience is, according to Nissan, meant to be a "smooth, refined and exhilarating" one, with "outstanding fuel efficiency".

Previous teaser images suggested a two-door configuration for the Gripz (which measures just 4100mm long, shorter than the Juke), however the carbon-framed concept in fact boasts a pillarless four-door design with tiny rear-hinged doors and "swan hinged" front doors.

Pass through those doors and you'll find a 2+2 seating layout with plenty of design features inspired by the world of cycling.

The seats and centre console are inspired by bicycles, the door pulls are shaped like saddles and the steering wheel replicates the 22-inch three-spoke road wheels - which in turn are styled after road bike rims.

"Gripz is a concept like no other," said Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer at Nissan.

"We are challenging convention, redefining the connection between driver and the car.

"What influence this Concept's design has on the next crossover generation from Nissan remains to be seen, though we are keen to gauge public reaction when it appears at the Frankfurt Show."

It's certainly a gutsy, boundary-pushing design, but does it tickle your fancy? Have your say in the comments below.

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