Nissan’s previous product boss, Andy Palmer, became well known for innovation and letting designers run wild with concepts that would make production relatively unchanged.
Since Palmer’s departure, though, it has gone a bit quiet on the innovation front, on the surface at least. Two of Palmer’s last projects, the BladeGlider and the IDx sports car, a kind of BMW M2-lite, had slipped off the radar as the company switched its focus to more bread and butter stuff.
However, Nissan’s creative spark made a welcome return last autumn with the Gripz concept, a preview of a future Juke-sized Z crossover, and now the BladeGlider is unexpectedly back, too. This is a good thing.
There may or may not be a market for a car like the BladeGlider, but the fact that Nissan has now engineered it to such an advanced stage suggests it thinks a market does exist, even if it maintains there are currently no production plans.
I don’t believe them. Nissan’s greatest successes in recent times have come in models for which there has been no predecessor or precedent, models that innovate and challenge. The BladeGlider is both of those, with a significant dollop of excitement on top.