The Nissan Qashqai goes premium and adopts a Nismo-inspired face

Introduced in 2007 on the same platform as the Nissan X-Trail and Renault Kadjar, the Nissan Qashqai has taken the mini SUV segment by storm with more than two million units sold as of 2016. A second generation arrived in 2013 with a better-looking exterior design, increased interior space, and upgraded engines, strengthening the Qashqai as a dominant force on the compact crossover market. With a significant update planned to arrive in 2017, Nissan has unveiled a Qashqai-based concept that previews the upcoming production model at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Showcased alongside the X-Trail Premium, an SUV built for the "premium adventurist thinking of mountain adventures in the Alps or the Pyrenees," the Qashqai Premium concept has been designed for the "premium urbanite." The crossover is aimed at drivers who dream of a weekend "absorbing the cultural highlights of a European destination city such as Geneva, Paris or Rome" and stands out by means of a premium appointed interior and a front fascia that’s significantly more aggressive than the standard model.

The Qashqai Premium concept was created by Nissan Design Europe (NDE) in London, and Nissan claims it has allowed the creativity of its design team to shine through this project. The brand didn’t say whether the Qashqai Premium will become a range-topping trim in the future, but the concept is equipped with the Piloted Drive 1.0 autonomous technology that will be introduced on production models starting 2017.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Qashqai Premium concept.

Exterior

2016 Nissan Qashqai Premium Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The Qashqai Premium concept received quite a few extra features compared to the standard crossover. The vehicle is finished in an interesting black paint that’s not glossy, but not matte either — it looks like a satin paint that’s glossier than usual - and highlighted by golden copper-colored details. The striking hue can be seen on inserts in the lower front apron, the headlamps, and the side skirts, but the roof rails and wheels are finished in the special paint as well.

Nissan also used quite a lot of carbon-fiber to further enhance the mini SUV.

Nissan also used quite a lot of carbon-fiber to further enhance the mini SUV. The lower front grille surround, the cladding on the wheel arches and the upper section of the side skirts are made from this lightweight material. Special paints and materials aside, the Qashqai also sports a more aggressive body kit. The lower bumper is shaped differently than the standard crossover, lacks the plastic grille, and features two slim openings on each side. Below, Nissan crafted what appears to be a three-layer splitter. The upper piece is carbon-fiber, the middle is painted golden, while the lower layer is body-colored. In addition to the sportier bumper, the front fascia also received a slightly thicker "V-motion" grille that looks the part with the whole package.

Rounding off the concept is a set of 20-inch, machined wheels crafted in a twin-five-spoke design with golden accents. It’s worth noting that you can’t get rims this large on the standard model, which features 19-inch rollers on its options list.

Interior

The concept’s interior is also fancier than usual, featuring soft and quilted white Nappa leather upholstery. The cabin also received golden weave carbon-fiber, black satin chrome, and liquid gloss black on the steering wheel and gear shifter. Needless to say, the Qashqai Premium concept’s interior comes with features we have yet to see in a Qashqai and proves that this budget crossover could easily become a more premium proposition. Hopefully Nissan will bring an exciting new level of personalization in this segment by turning the Premium concept into a range-topping trim level.

Drivetrain

Nissan had nothing to say about the concept’s drivetrain, meaning that the crossover could hide any of the Qashqai’s standard engines under the hood. However, given the sporty front fascia and the premium appearance, the concept could use the Qashqai’s most powerful unit, the 1.6-liter, DIG-T, four-cylinder rated at 163 PS (161 horsepower) and 240 Nm (177 pound-feet) of torque. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes 9.1 seconds with this four-pot, while top speed is estimated at 113 mph.

Of course, considering the Nismo-like exterior package, the concept could also feature a beefed-up version of the engine, most likely the one offered in the Nissan Juke Nismo. The performance-oriented crossover benefits from 200 PS (197 horsepower) and 250 Nm (184 pound-feet) of torque, which are sent to the wheels through either a six-speed manual or a CVT. The concept could be equipped with an all-wheel drive system as well.

What we do know for a fact is that the concept is equipped with Piloted Drive 1.0, a feature that "allows cars to drive autonomously and safely in a single lane in heavy traffic conditions on highways." In other words, Piloted Drive turns the Qashqai into a semi-autonomous vehicle, a technology several automakers have adopted recently. Nissan didn’t have much to say about the new feature, but confirmed that the Qashqai will be the first vehicle in Europe to receive Piloted Drive in 2017.

Conclusion

2016 Nissan Qashqai Premium Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The Premium concept is by far the most exciting Qashqai built to date. The mini SUV could use a more premium interior for demanding customers and a more aggressive front fascia is a welcomed addition given that the Qashqai has yet to receive the Nismo treatment. A more powerful drivetrain would round out things quite nicely. Hopefully this is a preview of things to come and this update will make it into dealerships as a special-edition model or even a performance-oriented version of Nissan’s popular hauler.

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    • * Not yet confirmed for production
    • * Unknown drivetrain

Press Release

Nissan will showcase two striking special versions of its best-selling crossovers, the Qashqai and X-Trail, at the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show.

Taking the current models as a starting point, Nissan has explored how a more premium and dynamic design interpretation could enhance and extend the appeal of its award-winning crossover range in the future.

The two cars are called the Qashqai Premium Concept and the X-Trail Premium Concept. While they are separate models, the colours, materials and themes which run through them mean they are unmistakably a pair. The Qashqai Premium Concept has been created by Nissan Design Europe (NDE) in the heart of London, while the X-Trail Premium Concept is the work of Nissan’s Global Design Centre (GDC) in Japan.

With crossovers playing such an integral part in Nissan’s continuing success across Europe, these two Premium Concepts showcase Nissan’s desire to extend the target market while acknowledging customer diversity.

Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, Design and Chief Creative Officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. commented: “We allowed the creativity of our design teams to shine through in this two-car project. Ultimately we settled on two designs – which are contrasting but share common themes – as they reveal a new premium character in our crossovers.”

From how the Nissan design language is expressed to the advanced materials are used, both cars offer a fresh take on the widespread appeal of a premium Nissan crossover. Considering the concept of the urban explorer, each Premium Concept has a unique execution and is designed to appeal to a very different customer. The Qashqai has been designed for the ‘Premium Urbanite’, who dreams of a weekend absorbing the cultural highlights of a European destination city such as Geneva, Paris or Rome. The X-Trail is targeted for the ‘Premium Adventurist’, who will be thinking of mountain adventures in the Alps or the Pyrenees.

Common to both cars is a simple yet vibrant colour palette; the stark appeal of black and white, contrasting with a premium golden copper which brings elegance and warmth to the crossover.

Qashqai Premium Concept

Using a contemporary matt black as its dominant colour, the Qashqai Premium Concept cleverly blends design, colour and new materials. High quality premium golden copper-coloured detailing accentuates various points on the body shell – on the wheel arches, around the window line, in the headlamp clusters and on the roof rails – and contrasts sharply with the black to enhance the dynamic silhouette of the exterior. It is further highlighted by the authentic carbon fibre used in lower sections, as well as the bold technical detail of the machined 20-inch wheels. The bumpers and side sills add an overall feeling of sporting performance and integrated quality. The enhanced ‘V-motion’ grille gives purpose to the car’s nose, and is a bold design statement about its premium positioning.

The interior of the Qashqai redefines premium quality in the compact crossover segment, using soft white Nappa leather upholstery, which is usually found in luxury cars, with quilting finish on the central section of seat back and base. The expression of quality is further enhanced by the use of a unique premium golden copper gold weave carbon fibre throughout the interior, with a striking black satin chrome and liquid gloss black on the steering wheel and gear shifter.

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