Nissan used the Geneva motor show to unveil a concept meant to preview the design direction of its crossovers, as well as its hybrid tech. Dubbed the IMQ, the polygon-shaped concept -- like something out of an early 3D-capable video game -- uses the e-Power drivetrain that debuted in the home-market Nissan Serena and Note models, pairing a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with a battery but without the option of plug-in charging. The hybrid uses its small engine to power a generator and its electric motors.
The all-wheel-drive IMQ boasts 335 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, but the concept is more about design than hybrid propulsion per se -- IMQ's main point is to preview future Nissan design styling cues and interior technology.
Along with its sharp corners, the IMQ wears a squared-off version of the signature Nissan V-motion grille stretching over the tall hood. The windshield adopts a rakish profile, blending into the roof, while the sides feature two prominent character lines running from the front fascia to rear fender. The sides are otherwise flat for the most part, echoing the surfaces of the front fascia and its geometric shapes.
"At the rear, a vertical character line drops from the light cluster to separate air as it passes down the side, aiding aerodynamic performance," Nissan says. "At its upper end, it's integrated into a new slimline interpretation of Nissan's 'boomerang' lamp cluster. The single-piece tailgate tucks under the rear fenders, echoing the design of the hood."
Inside, the seats are finished in a two-tone technical fabric featuring a pattern inspired by Japanese kumiko woodwork, extending to the door trim, parcel shelf and the instrument panel.
A large horizontal screen dominates the instrument panel while a second, smaller screen serves as the infotainment interface. The dash itself and its display are V-shaped, while the steering wheel can best be described as F1-shaped.
The concept's technological centerpiece is Nissan's Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) technology, a type of augmented reality system displaying objects that are otherwise invisible to the driver.
"The technology can help drivers see around corners, visualize precise information about traffic jams, including causes, and determine alternative routes for a stress-free journey," the automaker says. "Drivers may even enjoy the company of a virtual passenger, in the form of a 3D augmented-reality avatar inside the car."
We're excited about this system, and several automakers are chasing it, eager to transform the windshield into a transparent screen for augmented-reality elements. The goal, in essence, is to turn the whole windshield into a heads-up monitor for driver and passenger, one that can display a greater variety of objects and information. It can also highlight potential road hazards, say, a pedestrian about to run out from in front of a bus and into the car's path. A number of developers are working on versions of this technology.
Autonomous-vehicle tech is also a part of this concept: The IMQ features an advanced prototype ProPILOT system, providing active assistance in both highway and urban conditions, using a variety of sensors to scan the road and its surroundings.
"The IMQ's design combines traditional and modern Japanese influences and shows what's possible when future crossovers are powered by Nissan Intelligent Mobility," commented Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan senior vice president of design. "With the IMQ, the interior and exterior are seamlessly blended together, signaling what our design direction may be for Nissan's third generation of crossovers in Europe."
We probably won't see something this polygon-shaped on the road too soon (so it won't give us a paper cut), but Nissan's ProPILOT driver assist technology is making its way into production. The IMQ was certainly in the right company in Geneva this year when it comes to semi-autonomous tech and in-car infotainment concepts.