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Tokyo show: Nissan’s ‘co-creation’ compact coupe

Co-creation: The iDx concept shows the potential for hardcore sports and a more relaxed model springing from the same basic car, with customers providing input into each variant.

Nissan reveals iDx coupe pitched at ‘digital natives’ next to 441kW Nismo GT-R

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Nissan logo20 Nov 2013

NISSAN has taken the covers from its highly anticipated new compact sportscar concept, revealing the two-door rear-wheel-drive iDx coupe in all its glory at the Tokyo motor show this morning.

While the Japanese auto giant also used its home-market show to reveal a hard-charging Nismo version of its GT-R supercar – with no less than 441kW and 652Nm on tap from its revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 (up from 404kW/628Nm) – the concept previewing a mainstream, minimalistic sedan-like coupe drew in the crowds with its broad appeal and clear reference to classic cars of yore, such as the Datsun 1600.

Not the 370Z replacement many pundits expected, the iDx is the car Nissan Motor Co’s executive vice-president Andy Palmer told GoAuto and other Australian media in April would materialise in Tokyo – a sub-Z concept “for what we think sportscars for Gen Xs and Gen Ys would look like”.

It made for a performance-charged display, with the convention-challenging BladeGlider roadster EV concept – the previously announced aviation-inspired “exploratory prototype” – also commanding attention on the Nissan stand.

Presented by Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in hardcore ‘Nismo’ and more casual ‘Freeflow’ guise, the iDx is pitched at ‘digital natives’ (those born after 1990) and is also certain to appeal to those old enough to remember dearly departed nameplates such as the 1600, Skyline and Laurel from the 1960s and 1970s.

Combining retro cues with a thoroughly modern design, the iDx is built on a flexible platform that can generate “completely different solutions depending on the theme and participants”, hence the two distinct variants that have the same basic body construction.

The concept is based around a philosophy Nissan describes as “co-creation”, whereby the target audience is actively engaged in the design and engineering of the vehicle.

“We have always valued and respected customer input and sought to exceed customer expectations,” said Nissan’s global product strategy and planning chief Francois Bancon.

“Now we are taking this into a new dimension by having customers who are passionate about Nissan participate in the development process with collaborative creation.

“As members of the development team, customers will work together with specialists to co-create a new generation of Nissan vehicles that reflect our customers’ desires, insights and creativity at a more profound level than ever before.”

The Nismo iDx has a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine with a CVT transmission with six-speed manual shift mode and “synchronised rev control” – a combination Nissan describes as “an appealing mix of racing heritage with the finest modern know-how” – while the Freeflow is designed to use a milder engine of between 1.2 and 1.5 litres.

The two cars have the same basic dimensions, measuring around 4100mm long, 1700mm wide and 1300mm high, although the more aggressive Nismo version is slightly wider and lower.

Meanwhile, the Nismo GT-R is part of the 2014 model year upgrade for the company’s flagship sportscar, with the updated series to go on sale in Japan on December 2, followed by sales in overseas markets.

Australian deliveries of the MY14 GT-R are confirmed for March next year, although the local subsidiary says it has “no confirmed plans for the Nismo brand or any Nismo models, including GT-R Nismo, for the Australian market”.

The best it can do is repeat that Nismo remains under evaluation.

The Nismo GT-R’s uprated performance comes courtesy of new high-flow, large-capacity turbochargers – as used in GT3 racing – while optimised individual ignition timing control for each cylinder and an upgraded fuel pump are said to improve combustion.

No 0-100km/h acceleration figures have materialised, although the Nismo is expected to improve slightly on the standard model’s blistering 2.7-second benchmark.

Nissan Motor Co would only say officially this morning that the Nismo version has lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany in just 7:8.679 minutes, which is claimed to be a record time for volume production car.

A host of chassis alterations have also been made with the Nismo GT-R, including specially tuned springs and custom-developed Bilstein DampTronic dampers in the front and rear suspension, and the adoption of a 17.3mm hollow rear anti-roll bar designed to raise roll stiffness while reducing weight.

Three suspension modes can be selected – comfort, normal and R (the latter for circuit applications) – while exclusive Dunlop tyres are fitted, 255/50 ZRF20s at the front and 285/35 ZRF20s at the rear.

The black six-spoke wheels are inspired by Nissan’s GT-R racecar, while the revised exterior improves on the already impressive aerodynamics of the standard car. Indeed, Nismo has also developed an optional aero package that further reduces drag, while giving the car a “menacing and muscular appearance”.

The standard GT-R also picks up a host of running changes for MY14, headlined by minor styling changes (including new high-intensity multi-LED headlights with adaptive lighting technology), recalibrated suspension (aiming for smoother ride comfort and more refinement), and revised interior colour and trim options.

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