• 2017 Nissan IMx

    2017 Nissan IMx Concept
  • Unique, modern design
  • V-motion grille
  • Muscular beltline
  • Shooting brake rear end
  • Massive front end
  • No-nonsense, spacious packaging
  • Four ergonomic seats
  • Wood grain-patterned screen all around
  • Two electric motors
  • 429 horsepower
  • 516 pound-feet of torque
  • More than 370 miles of range
  • Fully autonomous
  • Self parking feature

A future competitor for the Tesla Model X?

Back in 2013, Nissan unveiled the IDx concept, getting everyone excited about a competitor for the Toyota 86 and a revival of the iconic Datsun 510. But that didn’t happen as of 2017, with Nissan going back and forth with the idea. Four years have passed, and the Japanese firm returned with a new concept car using a similar nameplate. the IMx. But, while it sports a similar badge, the new concept, which made its debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, is actually entirely different in terms of layout and technology.

To be more specific, the IDx was a tribute to the Datsun 510, a compact sports car that made a name for itself on both public roads and race tracks, the IMx is a sleek crossover that provides a glimpse into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, or the company’s approach to how cars are "powered, driven, and integrated with society." In simpler terms, it previews the brand’s upcoming electric drivetrain and autonomous system. It also hints at Nissan’s future design language, which may bring sleeker, sportier SUVs in showrooms.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan IMx concept.

Nissan IMx unveiled in Tokyo

Exterior

  • Unique, modern design
  • V-motion grille
  • Muscular beltline
  • Shooting brake rear end
  • Massive front end
2017 Nissan IMx Exterior
- image 740402
Massive front end
The IMx's design is as exotic as concept cars get, but it does incorporate some of Nissan's familiar cues

The IMx’s design is as exotic as concept cars get, but it does incorporate some of the brand’s familiar cues. The V-motion grille is the first that catches the eye, but the greenhouse and the beltine remind me a bit of the latest Nissan Leaf. But other than that, I see a unique design with plenty of interesting cues.

While clean and sporty overall, the IMx boasts a few disruptive features, line a character line that rises from the front grille over the front fenders, descends at the doors, and the rises again abruptly at the rear wheel arches, before going down smoothly toward the rear. This, combined with the equally unique sense of layers coming from the muscular surfaces and the sharp line, give the concept car a high-tech look. Pretty much what you expect from a modern concept and all future automotive designs.

2017 Nissan IMx Exterior
- image 740399
Muscular beltline
The rear roof section combines the features of a sporty SUV with that of a shooting brake

The front fascia is a tad too massive for my taste, but I like the aggressive, vertical side vents and the really sharp headlamps that extend all the way to the front doors. The glowing grille, seeminly borrowed from the Leaf, is a nice touch too. The coupe-like roofline, the broad shoulders, and the neat, four-spoke wheel design further enhance the sporty stance of the crossover.

The rear is also pretty exciting, especially the upper section, which combines the styling of sporty SUVs (think BMW X6) with design cues usually seen on shooting brakes. The low-slung rear glass extends almost to the edge of the decklid, while the LED taillights split at the outer edges and run into the C-pillars and the rear fenders. The fascia itself is almost featureless, but the sporty bumper and the diffuser make up for that.

All told, I wouldn’t mind seeing a design like this go into production.

Interior

  • No-nonsense, spacious packaging
  • Flat floor
  • Four ergonomic seats
  • No center console
  • Wood grain-patterned screen all around
  • Panoramic OLED display
  • Detects eye movement and hand gestures
2017 Nissan IMx Interior
- image 740406
Four ergonomic seats
All unnecessary elements from a standard car were ignored for this concept in order to obtain as much room as possible

The interior is fancy, but very simple at the same time. This isn’t surprising, as Nissan built it around the basic concept of space from the traditional Japanese house. In short, all unnecessary elements from a standard car were ignored for this concept in order to obtain as much room as possible. The fact that the IMx uses an electric drivetrain also helps, as Nissan was able to create a flat floor. Unlike conventional cars, the IMx also lacks a center stack and center tunnel, which provides enormous legroom even in the most compact designs.

There are four individual seats, each feturing a "katanagare" diagonal pattern etches witha laser cutter. The headrests, which are patterned like kumiki, a Japanese interlocking wood puzzle, are made from silicon cushioning and a frame produced by a 3D printer. The dashboard is covered by a big wood grain-patterned material that wraps around the door panels. This artsy design element is also a display that "gives occupants a subtle sense of the outside, similar to a shoji, a traditional Japanese paper screen." There’s no explanation as to how it works, but it looks as if LED lights have been integrated into a swirly pattern cut into wood. Pretty fancy!

2017 Nissan IMx Interior
- image 740405
Wood grain-patterned screen all around
The dash includes a panoramic OLED panel displays a view of the outer environment in the background

Speaking of displays, the dash includes a panoramic OLED panel displays a view of the outer environment in the background. Again, there isn’t much info about it, but it’s likely connected to an array of cameras fitted around the car’s exterior.

Finally, Nissan showcases some new artificial intelligence technology that enables the driver to control the instrument panel with eye movements and hand gestures. This basically most physical controls and switches, making the cabin of the IMx as simple as possible. Things become even more simpler when the autonomous mode is selected and the steering wheel is concealed inside the dashboard. At the same time, all four seats are reclined to enhance comfort for the driver and passengers. This feature is obviously not yet ready for production since fully autonomous aren’t yet approved for public roads, but it could become a thing in a few years.

Drivetrain

  • Two electric motors
  • 429 horsepower
  • 516 pound-feet of torque
  • Increased density battery
  • More than 370 miles of range
  • Fully autonomous
  • Self-parking feature
2017 Nissan IMx Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 740403
Unique, modern design
The electric motors generate a solid 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque

As you’d expect from a futuristic, fully autonomous concept car, the IMx is an all electric vehicle. Motivation is provided by two "high-output" motor, one for each axle, that produce a solid 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That’s nowhere near as much as you get with a range-topping Tesla Model X, but the IMx has an impressive battery to brag about. Developed and engineered for increased density, the high-capacity battery in the concept car can provide a driving range of more than 372 miles on a single charge. That’s at least 77 miles more than the most efficient Model X available right now, and a feat I’d sacrifice supercar-worthy 0 to 60 mph sprints.

Of course, this figure doesn’t matter much until we can get it in a production car, but it’s certainly doable with today’s technology.

The concept is able to park in a certain spot to connect to the local power grid

Nissan didn’t have much to say about the car’s autonomous drive potential, but did mention a self-parking feature. What’s more, the concept is reportedly able to park in a certain spot to connect to the local power grid and act live a small power plant and return electricity to the grid. This is part of Nissan’s plan to make its vehicles part of the "social infrastructure" and it’s an extension of its "vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-building" features. Again, not much information available, but it’s a good philosophy given that most governments are struggling to develop more complex electric car infrastructures and charging stations.

Conclusion

2017 Nissan IMx Exterior
- image 740657
516 pound-feet of torque

I’m usually a bit sceptic about concept cars going into production without major changes, but I must admit that the IMx is one of those show cars that I’d like to buy as is. Granted, I’m not very exciting about a future in which we can’t drive, but at list the IMx gives me the option to take control. But what I like most about it is roomy, no-nonsense interior. You’d have to be incredibly tall to not have enough legroom and it seems that there is no way you could hurt your elbow no matter the seat you’re using. Then there’s the 350+ mile range, which eliminates the range anxiety associated with most current electric cars. Unfortunately, putting the IMx into production in this form would make it very expensive and would defeat the purpose of having increasingly more affordable EVs. So I guess it will only spawn some sort of Leaf-based crossover in the future. Not that this would be a bad thing, but it most certainly won’t have that ergonomic interior.

  • Leave it
    • * Not scheduled for production
    • * Production counterpart won’t be as roomy

References

2013 Nissan IDx Nismo High Resolution Exterior
- image 532944

Read our full review on the 2013 Nissan IDx Nismo.

2014 Nissan IDx Freeflow High Resolution Exterior
- image 532996

Read our full review on the 2013 Nissan IDx Freeflow.

2017 Toyota GR HV Sports Concept Exterior Interior
- image 736613
Rear-wheel drive

Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.

Press release

The Nissan IMx, an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 kilometres (373miles), was unveiled today at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The innovative concept vehicle provides a glimpse into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan’s approach to changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated with society. It’s designed to strengthen the link between car and driver as a close, reliable partner that delivers a safer, more convenient and more enjoyable drive.

By offering unprecedented enjoyment in motion and the ability to control the vehicle’s drive mode, the Nissan IMx aims to transform the everyday life of drivers.

“The IMx zero-emission crossover concept vehicle embodies the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and the battery business. “Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan is committed to changing the way people and cars communicate, as well as how cars interact with society in the near future and beyond.”

Making travel more enjoyable: Nissan Intelligent Driving
At the core of the IMx’s technological features is a future version of ProPILOT that offers fully autonomous operation. When ProPILOT drive mode is selected, the system stows the steering wheel inside the dashboard and reclines all seats, giving the driver more space and allowing the vehicle’s occupants to relax and enjoy their commute. When Manual drive mode is selected, the vehicle returns the steering wheel and seats to their original position, seamlessly transferring control back to the driver.

Promoting the convenience and pleasure of electric driving: Nissan Intelligent Power
The Nissan IMx zero-emission concept vehicle adopts Nissan’s new EV platform, designed for maximum efficiency. It allows the floor to be completely flat, resulting in a cavernous cabin and enhanced driving dynamics. With a low center of gravity, the chassis delivers sharp handling that promises to redefine the crossover segment.

The powerful yet quiet powertrain delivers enhanced excitement. The IMx is propelled by a pair of high-output electric motors at the front and rear, giving it all-wheel-drive capability. They combine to produce 320 kW of power and an astounding 700 Nm of torque, sourced from a high-capacity battery which has been redesigned and re-engineered for increased energy density. This new battery supports a driving range of more than 600 kilometres on a single charge, so occupants can enjoy an extended adventure without worrying about recharging.

Becoming part of the social infrastructure: Nissan Intelligent Integration
The Nissan IMx can also contribute to the social infrastructure like no other vehicle before it. For example, after transporting its owner to the airport, the IMx can park itself in a spot where the vehicle can connect to the local power grid and act as a “virtual” power plant by returning electricity to the grid, an extension of its vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-building features. Once the owner returns, the IMx can pick them up at the terminal and drive home. The whole process is carried out efficiently, thanks in part to the increased battery capacity and connected-car technologies, including Seamless Autonomous Mobility.

New EV design philosophies for the autonomous era
Until now, vehicles have been designed with a clear differentiation between exterior and interior. Exterior design provides a sense of security from the outside, while the interior design gives drivers an appropriate environment for concentrating on driving.

This purpose-based differentiation is likely to change with the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles. Nissan’s designers sought to redefine the interior space of the IMx to create a sense of openness, while maintaining a feeling of privacy. To achieve this, they endeavored to design a space that links up the inside and outside of the vehicle.

They also wanted to convey the key characteristics of electric vehicles – quiet and smooth with a sense of light, yet powerful and dynamic. They took inspiration from the Japanese concepts of ma, a sense of space and time, and wa (harmony), expressing the coexistence of two seemingly contradictory concepts – “stillness” and “motion.”

Exterior design: showcasing the unique characteristics of electric vehicles
The IMx’s styling conveys its clean and sporty electric-vehicle attributes by incorporating Nissan’s signature design features. From the familiar V-motion grille, the supple character line rises and flows to the hood and rear end. The broad surfaces of the distinctively shaped front fenders start from the grille and expand seamlessly onto the body sides, creating a sense of layers.

The vermillion accent color, contrasting vividly with the pearl white-colored body, is inspired by uramasari, which describes the beauty and extravagance found on the inside of traditional Japanese kimonos.

Interior design: spacious and relaxing, with simplicity
The IMx concept vehicle’s interior adheres to the basic concept of space that can be found in a traditional Japanese house, suggesting a sense of openness.

The car’s panoramic OLED instrument panel displays a view of the external environment in the background. A separate, wood grain-patterned display, positioned below the instrument panel and wrapping around the interior door trims, gives occupants a subtle sense of the outside, similar to a shoji, a traditional Japanese paper screen.

The katanagare diagonalpattern on the seats has been delicately etched with a laser cutter. The head rest – patterned like kumiki, a Japanese interlocking wood puzzle – is made from silicon-material cushioning and a frame produced by a 3D printer.

Artificial intelligence enables the driver to control the instrument panel with eye movements and hand gestures. This intuitive interface results in fewer physical controls and switches, making the cabin of the IMx simple yet highly efficient and adding to its supreme comfort.

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Press release
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