The Nissan IDx concept will go into production by 2016 as an affordable, rear-wheel-drive coupe competitor for the Toyota 86, the brand announced at the Detroit motor show today.
At 4.1 metres long and 1.3 metres high, the twin Nissan IDx concepts – one lifestyle-focused badged Freeflow, the other a high-performance model named Nismo – measure up almost identically with the Toyota 86, with just 100mm less length and the same height.
Nissan only confirmed one of the twins for production, however, though executive vice president Andy Palmer added “don’t say that we won’t do both, but we will definitely do one of them.
“Obviously there’s a debate internally whether you go for the lifestyle one and leave the Nismo one in a slightly different place.”
The lifestyle-based Freeflow will likely use a small capacity turbocharged four cylinder engine, where the racier Nismo is tipped to offer a 1.6-litre turbo, which in the Pulsar SSS makes 140kW of power and 240Nm of torque.
“It’s very light weight, so it’s a relatively small engine,” was as close as Palmer got to confirming a size of powerplant for the IDx. “You get a lot of fun [being] rear drive…”
Nissan “haven’t decided” whether to include a manual transmission, but, says Palmer, “I would expect some kind of paddle shift … there’s plenty of ways of executing a ‘manual feel’ these days.”
Although the target for the IDx Nismo is 86, Palmer says “I think our intention is to be different from the Toyota 86. We’re really looking at sports cars from different angles.”
Asked where the IDx Nismo would be positioned, the executive VP responded: “Nismo is about the democratisation of AMG. It’s basically about affordable fun. I’d sit in somewhere … where 200SX/Silvia used to sit.
“What I really expect is that when I was a lad I aspired to a sports car as a bit of a bad boy, and what I’m really looking for is to inspire that same positioning for kids who are coming through today who apparently aren’t that interested in cars. We have to re-engender that excitement for motor cars.
“I anticipate the ‘Z’ will always be there as will be the GT-R, and I anticipate there will be two book-ends, the IDx on one side and the Bladeglider [electric vehicle concept] on the other.”
Palmer says that even the lifestyle version will “most likely” be rear-wheel-drive, but won’t get hybrid or electric power.
Styling of the production models will also closely follow that of the concepts, he tells.
“They [IDx] do resemble obviously a [Datsun] 510 [but] that wasn’t deliberate at the outset. We went into a collaborative process to see what youth would like in a car, and that collaboration with about 100 individuals took us to the 510 retro look.
“So obviously if that’s where the product planning process has taken us, the execution won’t be too far away from what that looks like.”