Before the Frankfurt Auto Show Nissan had to answer questions regarding their new Gripz concept that looks a lot like a crossover SUV that is made to replace the Z model sports car that we have loved from Nissan for so many years. If this SUV were to actually replace the Z cars there would certainly be a worldwide uproar and protest, at least until the production of the Gripz is official and we get to drive the SUV that is now carrying the Z-badge.
First of all, Nissan did state vehemently that this SUV is to fit in the lineup where they have a space to place it. To elaborate on this point the statement included the fact that Nissan has no intention of replacing their Z-badged sports car at all with a crossover SUV. That may or may not be an assuring statement that lets us know the Z cars will continue but at least it is a start.
Why do we feel the Gripz could replace the Z cars? The Gripz offers a sport higher build and muscular design that might normally describe large SUVs but in this case it describes a sport compact crossover SUV that appears to be a design that resembles a jacked up hatchback. This SUV does look really sporty and cool with its low profile design that if it simply rode on smaller wheels or was set a bit lower would really appear to be a vehicle that would be considered the next iteration of the Z cars. This sharp look offers the new V motion grill on the front and a variety of creases and lines to capture your gaze and have you looking for each and every great part of the vehicle.
To be fair we have to look at the differences between this sporty looking SUV and the current Z car, the 370Z. The Gripz is actually shorter and wider than the 370Z but it’s also seven inches taller making for more room inside the cabin. The powertrain is not to be a powerful V6 like the 370Z offers but it expected to be an EV motor that is found in the Leaf with a gasoline engine that knows how to be paired with an electric motor. This sounds a lot more like a Toyota Prius crossover than a 370Z replacement; in fact, the Gripz is to have plug in capability as well.
Probably the reason the Gripz has even been considered a replacement for the 370Z is the fact that Nissan stated it is somewhat like the 240Z Rally Car, but it certainly is not and the Rally Car was not a crossover SUV. This verbal blunder might have left open the possibility that the Gripz could replace the 370Z, but in the build that was shown as a concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show the Gripz is nowhere near ready to replace the sports car. Instead, if this SUV should make it to production it will be able to fit into the lineup easily as a compact crossover SUV with a lot of sport styling.