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Does the electric Gripz concept preview Nissan's next sports car?

Radical new concept points to a potential sports crossover from the Japanese brand

This car pays homage to the Safari Rally-winning Nissan 240Z. That alone gives it pub hero points. The fact it’s a banzai, suicide-doored full EV sports car with an angry face? Double prizes.

Welcome everyone, to the Nissan Gripz concept, unveiled today at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Yes, that’s a ‘z’ lurking in the name. Does this point to the future of Nissan’s Z-car range? Would certainly be interesting if it did…

Anyway, the car itself. Though it pays dues to that gorgeous 240Z, the Gripz has been designed as a high-riding sportscar that carries the baton from the Sway concept – itself revealed earlier this year at Geneva – and takes it into much sportier territory.

It’s 4.1m long – about the same as length as a Juke – 1.8m wide and 1.5m high. There’s a carbon frame underneath, with ‘armour-cladding’ style panels over the top. You’ll spot that huge V-shaped grille, missing B-pillar, and rear-opening rear doors.

That punchy silhouette tails into an interesting rear end, while cameras are embedded into the headlights to capture your movements off road. This is because Nissan tells us the Gripz is equally at home traversing the mean city streets as it is driving “over a mountain pass on a day off”.

We’d urge caution on that mountain pass, judging by those 22-inch wheels ‘inspired by racing bikes’, and thin, high-pressure, bespoke Bridgestone tyres. Things could get spiky on the ice.

Ditto the powertrain. It features a petrol engine of unnamed size, which is used to charge a battery pack feeding the electric motor from Nissan’s Leaf EV. Nissan hasn’t quoted any power figures but suggests that the acceleration is “smooth, swift and linear”.

Inside, there’s the usual concept car frippery: moulded buckets, a bike-inspired centre console and exposed tubes. Reference is made to the Tour de France.

The important question, of course, is whether Nissan will build it. The Qashqai and Juke are both performing well, with crossovers currently accounting for around 70 per cent of Nissan volume in the UK. Could a performance SUV-thing like the Gripz add to that range?

“What influence this concept’s design has on the next crossover generation from Nissan remains to be seen,” says Nissan’s Shiro Nakamura. “Though we are keen to gauge public reaction.”

So that’s a big fat ‘no’ for the time being, then. But, The Public, what;’s your reaction to the Gripz?

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