With exterior design by the manufacturer’s team in Paddington and an interior created by their colleagues in Tokyo, the Gripz is billed as “a radical new type of sports car” by Nissan.
As outlined by Autocar last month, the firm intends to gauge reaction to the idea of a sports crossover, but it has already decided to expand the remit of the Z sub-brand to include vehicles that are more ‘everyday’ than the existing 370Z.
The Gripz draws inspiration from two main sources: the classic Datsun 240Z rally car that won the East African Safari Rally in 1971 and sports bicycles that are used as commuter tools during the week but enjoyed at the weekend.
The ‘z’ in Gripz is a direct nod to the Z brand. Visual cues include a distinctive kink in the window line near the C-pillar and a carbonfibre bonnet that apes the black finish on the rally car’s engine cover. A simple three-spoke steering wheel looks like it could have featured on the rally car, although it is adorned with bicycle-influenced graphics.
The Gripz is slightly shorter than a Juke, at 4100mm, and its roofline is 65mm lower. The concept is considerably wider, by 135mm, and its wheelbase is 50mm longer. The front end of the car incorporates many of Nissan’s latest styling cues, including the strong ‘V’ below the prominent badge in the grille and boomerang headlights that are influenced by both the Juke and the 370Z.
The side stance is unmistakably that of a sports car, with references to the stance of the 350Z and 370Z, albeit jacked up on 22in wheels. The cabin appears to have been pulled towards the back, while the roof rails - a mix of body-coloured material and a contrasting metal finish - taper down towards the car’s rear.The rear treatment includes deep scallops in the bodywork, boomerang tail-lights and, in another nod to the 240Z, an unusual carbonfibre element that incorporates a lip spoiler.