Nissan has unveiled a radical prototype of its next-generation Micra to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its UK-based European design centre.
With supercar-style scissor doors and racing car looks, the Concept 20-23 hatchback was unveiled by Nissan CEO and global president Makoto Uchida.
Celebrating 20 years of Paddington’s pioneering London studio, the electric sports concept car is understood to offer an early glimpse of the Nissan Micra’s new look after the fifth-generation hatchback went out of production late last year.
But buyers of the next era of one of Britain’s favorite car models, who are likely to go to the supermarket or go to school, are unlikely to eventually end up with some of the more extreme features, including those doors.
A hint of the new Micra? With supercar-style scissor doors and racing car looks, Nissan unveiled the Concept 20-23 hatchback to celebrate its London design centre.
It was revealed on a floating barge moored just opposite the Nissan Design Europe center on the Paddington Basin stretch of the capital’s Grand Union Canal.
The Japanese car giant described the setting as “a distinctive and inspiring place” that has given rise to such award-winning cars as the best-selling Qashqai and Juke SUV crossovers, currently built at the company’s Sunderland plant along with the all-electric Leaf. .
Sunderland employs 6,000 people and Nissan has invested more than £1bn as part of a major electrification plan, with plans to build an all-new, as yet unseen, separate electric vehicle to be unveiled at the London Motor Show. Tokyo next month.
Nissan said its latest Nissan Concept 20-23 embraces the move to electrification and autonomous driving technology.
It was inspired by the company’s long-standing heritage of bold hatchbacks and its involvement in Formula E racing.
The 20-23 was designed by a team that included younger members of the Paddington centre.
It was designed by a team that included younger members of the centre: ‘They had a simple brief: to design a car, without restrictions, that they would like to drive through the streets of the city where they work.
“It also continues a long Nissan tradition of bringing eye-catching playfulness to the world of hatchbacks and city cars.”
Explaining the name of the new vehicle, Nissan said: “The name Concept 20-23 reflects 20 years of Nissan Design Europe’s position in the heart of London, as well as the traditional numbers 2 (ni) and 3 (san) of the company, and the current year. The number 23 appears on the rear three-quarters of the car.
The 3-door hatchback body style features extreme aerodynamic styling at the front and rear, with deep skirts to direct airflow away from the front of the car and through vents for brake cooling.
The car’s nose slopes toward the top of the hood, giving the front an unexpectedly clean surface.
The distinctive LED headlights have a thin upper and lower semi-circle that incorporates the turn signal and are intended to give the car a “friendly look”, despite its aggressive styling.
A large, one-piece spoiler at the rear helps generate downforce but is designed not to obscure the driver’s rear view.
Nissan said: “The overall width of the car is emphasized with a horizontal bar below what appears to be a gentle smile that defines the contour of the rear hatchback.”
The gray exterior paint has a textured finish, giving the impression of being carved from a single piece of metal and is designed to “reflect the sandy environment for which it was designed.”
Not your usual Micra – the large single-piece spoiler at the rear helps generate downforce
Despite the car’s aggressive racing style, the front has been given a friendly face.
The designers also created an interior that reflects the extremely sporty character of the exterior.
Entry is via two upward-opening scissor doors, although these are highly unlikely to be the production model of the Micra. Neither will many of the more racing-oriented ideas inside the car.
Nissan adds: “A reinforcement bar runs along the door openings covered with foam padding to protect elbows, requiring the driver and passenger to step over them to reach their seats.”
Two deep, white-upholstered bucket seats with race car-style headrests offer firm but comfortable support.
The driver is greeted by a long, extended steering column with a rectangular sports steering wheel displaying multiple controls and adjustments. Paddles for adjusting the performance of the electric drivetrain and additional switches are within easy reach behind the steering wheel.
The steering column is supported by a carbon fiber bracket bolted into position from the base of the center console. Two metal beams located between the occupants hold the center console in position and are bolted to the spine of the car that rises from the ground. A fire extinguisher is mounted between the bars.
Nissan said: “The interior is a futuristic interpretation of the basic functionality of a racing car, with just a couple of screens displaying vital information with minimal distractions, a reflection of where real racing cars, such as the Formula E from Nissan, inspire online racing simulator configurations.
The Concept 20-23 “puts a 21st-century spin on this small car tradition” and follows others such as the Be-1, Pao, Figaro and S-Cargo, he added.
Nissan’s European design hotbed in London
Nissan’s Paddington Basin location is home to a team of interior and exterior designers.
The Nissan Design Europe center in Paddington is home to more than 60 exterior and interior designers, clay modellers, digital artists, as well as a specialist color and finishing team, and has played a central role in the creation of the Nissan’s modern models. Japanese automobile company.
The studio opened in the Grade II listed building on the banks of the Grand Union Canal in Paddington Basin in 2003.
Near Paddington station, it had previously been an engineering workshop for British Rail, but had fallen into disrepair and was a rave venue during the 1990s.
Nissan said: “Its graffiti-clad walls have been preserved, but are hidden behind walls that were installed as part of Nissan’s refurbishment.”
It is equipped with a full-size 5-axis milling machine, as well as rapid prototyping machines, virtual reality tools that allow simultaneous design reviews between colleagues from different countries, the latest visualization equipment and three full-size ‘boards’ where clay is placed. The proposed new car models can be thoroughly refined.
Paddington Fare: Nissan cars in London
Nissan Qashqai It was the first project tackled by the Paddington team in 2003 and was presented as a concept car at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show and unveiled as a production model in Paris in 2006, before going on sale in early 2007.
Its engineering development was led by the Nissan Technical Center Europe team at its facilities in the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain.
Nissan said: “The reaction far exceeded Nissan’s best estimates, and the Sunderland plant in the north-east soon switched to three shifts a day to meet demand.”
He Nissan Jukethe little brother of the Qashqai, followed in 2009, when it was presented at that year’s Geneva Motor Show.
The compact crossover with exaggerated muscular lines looked like a futuristic beach buggy and divided opinion between those who loved it and those who hated it.
Its distinctive face featured split headlights and an unconventional grille, while its interior details were inspired by a motorcycle. A production version was unveiled a year later in an old wind tunnel outside Paris.
Designed to create waves and a new market segment, Nissan admitted: “It was designed to polarize by generating a strong emotional reaction, something rare in a vehicle designed for the general public.”
The Sunderland factory returned to work at full capacity to meet demand.
More recently, the Paddington team designed the high-performance Single-seat Ariya concepta variant of the Ariya all-electric road vehicle.
Other notable cars that began life at Paddington include:
He NV200 Concept which spawned Nissan’s successful NV200 light commercial vehicle, adapted to become one of the world’s first compact electric vans.
He Nissan Concept 2020 Gran Turismo Vision created to celebrate 15 years of the PlayStation game. Its extremely futuristic appearance generated a global stir from the moment it was presented at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2014.
He Gripz concept car of 2015 created to pay tribute to the Nissan 240Z that won the grueling Safari Rally of 1971. Its design was a clear nod to the upcoming second-generation Juke, which was presented in 2019.
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