Nissan displayed two versions of the retro-inspired IDx concept at the 2013 Tokyo motor show that brings a design that harks back to the Datsun 1600 of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Nissan IDx Freeflow is a lifestyle-focused version, while the IDx Nismo previews a high-performance model.
“It’s no doubt a source of inspiration was the [Datsun] 510 [as 1600 was known in some markets] and [old Nissan] Skyline,” Nissan’s division general manager responsible for product strategy and advanced planning, Francois Bancon, told CarAdvice at the show.
“I’m not telling you we went retro… we try to set the rules again and make it modern, but the idea came from [that heritage] and we have a long tradition of the sporty sedan. And I think we are the only ones doing this.
“We are studying, we are very serious… though it is incredibly difficult to do this kind of car, because it needs to be affordable.”
Nissan discontinued the 200SX/Silvia coupe in 2002 but hasn't made a secret of the fact it would like to recreate a competitor for an affordable rear-wheel-drive sports car segment revived by the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins.
2014 will mark 40 years since the Datsun 1500 Coupe was shown at the 1964 Tokyo motor show, the model that went into production the following year as the Nissan Silvia.
The Nissan IDx concept sits on a hand-built platform, though Bancon says the company would look to use parts from the Infiniti Q50 mid-size sedan rear-wheel-drive platform for a production version.
The concept has been produced in the kind of detail that would make it easily viable for production, he added.
Bancon said Nissan’s sports cars were a crucial part of its offerings and that it had to offer something more affordable than its GT-R supercar and 370Z coupe and convertible.
“[With] the continuity of our sports car line-up, we have to go down in price,” he said. “If we make sports cars for rich people it doesn’t make sense, because people who love the fun [driving] are not necessarily rich.
“So the logical story should be to continue the story with this. It’s not done but we are working on this.”
The Nissan IDx twins are both just 4.1 metres long and 1.3 metres high. The Freeflow is 1.7 metres wide, though the Nismo adds 100m to its width to expand its footprint and sits on bigger, 19-inch wheels.
Nissan says it envisions the IDx Freeflow being powered by 1.2- or 1.5-litre engines mated to a CVT auto. The Nissan IDx Nismo, though, adopts a 1.6-litre direct injection turbocharged engine, teamed with a CVT with manual shifting capability.