Nissan’s unusual three-seat Blade Glider — first shown at last month’s Tokyo Motor Show — might have debuted as a concept car, but when it enters production in the next few years it will become a handling benchmark for the automotive industry.
That’s according to Nissan’s head of motorsports innovation Ben Bowlby, who also happens to be the designer behind the original Nissan Deltawing and the BladeGlider’s deltoid shape.
Bowlby, who joined Nissan last year to help the Japanese automaker develop its delta winged Zeod RC plug-in hybrid electric Le Mans Prototype race car for next year’s 24 heures du mans, says the Blade Glider’s unique design will make it not only ultra-efficient, but give it unbelievable handling characteristics.
Talking to Autocar, Bowlby said the narrow front track, sleek design and large rear wheels with in-wheel motors of the Blade Glider will give a driving experience like no other.
“It’s about efficiency, it’s about pulling a lot of G, it’s about an exciting and pleasurable ride and yet being very efficient while doing that,” he said. “So extreme handling and extreme fun and a whole new experience, a totally different driving experience.”
Nissan has said the Blade Glider would fit in Nissan’s existing range somewhere below its gasoline-powered 370Z, and cost less than £30,000. Designed for the thrill of driving rather than everyday practicality, the Blade Glider’s central driving position and long, narrow nose won’t suit everyone’s tastes, but Nissan appears convinced sports car fans won’t be put off by its unconventional design.
Bowlby and his colleagues at Nissan may feel the Blade Glider will be a game-changer, but we’re unconvinced its 30/70 weight distribution, unusual design and performance-oriented design will catch on in a market where fuel efficiency sometimes has to take a back seat to practicality.
As for the price? We’re struggling to see how the Blade Glider — even in three years’ time — could cost as little as £30,000, especially if it really does pack the kind of performance Nissan says it will.
It may very well constitute a new benchmark for handling, but will it catch on? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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