After taking a break from Tokyo Motor Show previews yesterday, today we’re right back on track and picking up where we left off. While Nissan will be showcasing several new NISMO models in LA at the end of November, today they’ve unveiled their primary show car for this year’s Japanese motor show, and it is a doozy to be sure. It’s called the Nissan BladeGlider Concept, and oddly enough, the name actually fits the car.
Take a look for yourself below:
As you may be able to guess, what we have here is the next iteration of the Nissan ZEOD-RC Concept, and the Nissan DeltaWing before it. For reference, you can see both previous concepts below:
So, what’s the difference between the Nissan BladeGlider Concept and the previous ZEOD-RC and DeltaWing concepts?
Other than the more polished design, the biggest difference is that Nissan actually wants to bring the BladeGlider to production. As in, they want it to be available for everyday customers and not just Nissan’s Le Mans racing team. It is, “an exploratory prototype of an upcoming production vehicle,” and, “a proposal for the future direction of Nissan electric vehicle development.”
This might all sound like a load of hokey, but let’s put this car into context.
Recently, Nissan VP Andy Palmer went on record claiming that the incredibly successful Toyota GT86 and its Scion and Subaru siblings were “designed for a 50-year-old… for a midlife crisis.” Ouch! He went on to make it clear, “That’s not what we do.” Instead, the BladeGlider is an against-the-grain Japanese car intended to attract male automotive enthusiasts in the latter half of their twenties.
In the same interview, Mr. Palmer was kind enough to share some specific details about the then-code-named Nissan Z35. He informed us that the powertrain will be based on the current Nissan 370Z’s, including the very same 3.7L V-6 engine. However, the engine will be down-tuned to conserve fuel. Meanwhile, a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder with direct-injection will also be available for those seeking more power. And, if the BladeGlider does make it to production, it seems likely that NISMO will take a whack at it to top out the trim range.
From what we can tell so far, the BladeGlider is one of those “deep” concepts with a lot of little subtleties and nuances to appreciate. For example, the delta design allows for a 30/70 weight distribution between the front and back of the vehicle, which is optimal for fast turns with that narrower front track. Also, you wouldn’t guess from the picture, but the underbody is made from lightweight carbon-fiber for maximum stability and speed. Another example would be the independently-powered in-wheel electric motors, which will be a first for Nissan if the car makes it to production. From the design to the technology, performance is wired into the BladeGlider’s DNA.
But, performance isn’t all that the BladeGlider is about…
Design-wise, the Nissan BladeGlider Concept is meant to evoke the gentle exhilaration that comes from soaring through the sky in a glider. It’s meant to look like it’s moving, even when it’s standing still. From the aircraft-like steering wheel to the cockpit’s styling cues, and even to the way the digital display shows atmospheric conditions, the BladeGlider feels like just as much airplane as electric car.
All in all, it’s safe to say that Nissan has definitely achieved their goal with the BladeGlider Concept, at least initially. They wanted something invigorating and fresh… Something that would ‘reinvent the wheel’, so to speak. Whatever you think about the car, it’s safe to say that no other automaker will have anything close to the BladeGlider Concept at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. That much, at least, is for sure.
Finally, if you’d like to see more of the Nissan BladeGlider Concept in action, just watch the video below: