Offering the most direct look yet at a future production model, the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept boldly rolled into Detroit showcasing visual cues the automaker also will incorporate into the next generation of its coupes, crossovers and sedans. While Nissan execs didn't say what 4-door model this one-off may be previewing, based on its size and release timing, it seems likely to be the precursor to the upcoming Maxima due out sometime next year.
The third in a series of advanced styling exercises that began last year in Detroit with the Nissan Resonance crossover and was followed by the Friend-ME in Shanghai, the new Sport Sedan Concept puts its own spin on the three key themes introduced on those vehicles. Up front, Nissan's latest dream machine features the new "V-motion" motif that matches a prominent chrome-embellished grille with character lines that flow back through the hood. It also has dramatic boomerang-shaped front/rear lighting elements along with a floating roof panel supported by elegantly thin pillars.
"Nissan's design language is our brand promise - Innovation and Excitement for Everyone - rendered in metal," said Nissan Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura, who confirmed the car's more emotional and exciting look provides "a strong hint of the design direction we are taking."
The result of an international co-operative effort, the Sport Sedan Concept was created by Nissan Design America in San Diego, California and developed at the Nissan Global Design Center in Atsugi, Japan. Barely an inch longer than the current Maxima, the show car is 3.5 inches lower, 2.1 inches wider and has a 1.9 inch longer wheelbase. Yet its boldly contoured bodywork finished in high-profile Strad-Amber candy color clearcoat and bespoke 21-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in low-profile 275/30 performance tires make an unforgettable statement that we think bodes well for Nissan.
The new design ethos also extends into the cabin of the Sport Sedan Concept, which Nissan says features styling elements that reflect future production designs. Although the transition to volume-build status would undoubtedly scale back some of its more dramatic aspects, the presence of premium materials, high-contrast colors and geometric 3D graphic trim and upholstery treatments are valid indicators of what to expect.
As with many show vehicles, mechanical details about the Sport Sedan Concept were fairly minimal. We do know that it's fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes over 300 horsepower and is backed by a sport-tuned CVT automatic transmission. In keeping with its character, this could-be Nissan also features an "innovative" suspension design complete with performance shocks.
"Nissan is a brand for people seeking bold and passionate experiences, and who are willing to make choices outside of traditional boundaries," notes Nakamura. "That's why Nissan is committed to breaking new ground in automotive design, as expressed in the stunning new Sport Sedan Concept." We should soon know exactly how much of that outside-the-box thinking actually makes it into the next-gen Maxima.
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