European design boss Mamoru Aoki says that the production 429bhp SUV wonâ€™t deviate much from the incredible IMx concept
Nissanâ€™s European design boss has said that the companyâ€™s upcoming electric SUV will be the â€œbreakthrough modelâ€ that will take battery-electric vehicles to full mainstream status.
Featuring a claimed 380-mile range on a single charge and a twin-motor, four-wheel-drive system offering 429bhp and 516lb ft of torque, the IMx concept debuted at the 2017Â Tokyo motor show.
â€œThe IMx is not just a concept car,â€ Nissan Design Europe boss Mamoru Aoki said at Nissanâ€™s Paddington, London-based design centre which he has been running for the last few months. â€œIn a few years, it will appear [in production].
â€œOf course, we have the newÂ Leaf, but I think the [production version of the]Â IMx conceptÂ will become a breakthrough model.â€
Aoki told us that the Imxâ€™s exterior look clearly indicates Nissanâ€™s next-generation design direction. â€œThe exterior is very Japanese in its details, expressive but with purity and an expensive feelingâ€¦ The IMx does not have a masculine look or a heavy appearance. It has a light feel and sheer surfaces.â€
Referring to the IMxâ€™s distinctive interior trim, formed of alternating wood and translucent plastic laminates that can be illuminated from behind, Aoki said that the overall cabin concept reflects Japanese architecture and interior cues, in that traditional Japanese houses are very small and some rooms have to be put to more than one use.
â€œThe interior is notably bigger than with a conventional vehicle,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s much more usable space, thanks to the totally flat floor allowed by the [underfloor] battery pack. The dashboard is also pushed right back [towards the windscreen] because the HVAC [heating, ventilation and air-con] unit is under the bonnet.â€
The IMx will also feature the next-gen version of Nissanâ€™s autonomous ProPilot technology.
Nissan will be hoping that the production version of the IMx will have the same sort of sector-defining impact as the firstÂ QashqaiÂ crossover did on its launch in 2007. The underlying idea of the new breed of Nissans is to bring them closer to the companyâ€™s Japanese roots.
Some analysts believe that SUV/crossover sales could account for more than one-third of all European car sales by 2020.
Aoki has been with Nissan since 1989. He oversaw the design of three Infiniti cars, as well as the first 350Z.
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