Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Nissan is looking to bring a splash of colour and outlandish design to Brazil's streets with their latest creation: the Extrem SUV concept. It's an eye-grabbing response to the 'more affordable locally produced vehicles, which tend to be conservative in design, colour and specification', according to company Senior Vice President Shiro Nakamura. What niche does the Nissan Extrem fall into? If the love-it-or-hate-it Nissan Juke is the marque's jacked-up supermini crossover, the Extrem is the rakish, sportier version of that: a sort of X6 to the Juke's X5, if you will. The Extrem has a two-door bodystyle and a heavily raked glasshouse, and inside it's set up like a sports car too, thanks to the 2+2 seating arrangement. It's certainly another bullish-looking Nissan design in the Juke mould, which is exactly what the team behind it were after. Nissan's designers nicknamed the Extrem 'The Baby Beast', admitting the look they wanted was close to a road-going rally car, with a butch stance and muscular surfacing. Spot the gills behind the front wheels that look like exaggerated GT-R vents and you'll see what they're on about. Brazil has played a part too: Nissan wants the Extrem to reflect the diversity and flamboyance of the country - appropriate, since the Extrem makes its debut at this week's Sao Paulo motor show. Much of the design was based in Sao Paulo, while the metallic orange paint is said to reference Brazilian nature. The patterns atop the roof are a hat tip to what Nissan calls 'iconic Brazilian graphics'. Are there any fantasy concept car touches? As much as we'd like them to, it'd doubtful the see-through A-pillars will feature in production Nissans; ditto the hidden door handles fitted flush with the body. Unlike the hydrogen Nissan Terra concept we saw in Paris last month, there isn't a 22nd century powertrain under the bonnet. Nissan have touted that a production Extrem would share drivetrain components with the Juke, though most likely the sportier engines, in the same way that Mini doesn't offer its more spritely Coupe and Roadster models in anything less than Cooper spec. So, a 1.6-litre turbocharged Extrem with either two or part-time four-wheel drive isn't too far a stretch to imagine, even if Nissan states the Extrem is just a design study to gauge reaction at the moment. Given that the Juke-R Nissan crafted purely as a stunt eventually got a factory run (at £400,000 a pop) we wouldn't be too convinced of Nissan's word that the Extrem is 'only a concept'. Why the Brazilian influence? The world's eyes will be turning to Brazil in the next few years for the FIFA World Cup and Olympics, but the volume car makers are already setting about a foothold in the country, thanks to its booming economy and demand for new vehicles. Nissan wants to introduce eight new models into Brazil by 2016, and gain a 5% market share two years earlier than that.