Just last month, Nissan revealed the near future of its electric program when it detailed the second-generation Leaf. Now it dives deeper into the electrified future, dazzling Tokyo Motor Show attendees with the IMx, an all-electric crossover concept that promises enough range for a road trip, enough power for spirited highway sprints and the option to let the vehicle do all the driving while everyone else kicks back and relaxes.
The IMx previews the future of Nissan's Intelligent Mobility plans, which will guide how it evolves the way vehicles are powered, driven and integrated into society. The IMx uses a future-gen version of Nissan's ProPilot for a mix of human and machine driving. The drive mode button lets the driver seamlessly switch from ProPilot autonomous mode to manual driving. When the car takes over under ProPilot, the steering wheel retracts away into the dash and the seats recline to create a roomier, comfier cabin.
Whoever (or whatever) is doing the driving, an all-electric powertrain is charged with putting power to the street. The pair of motors at the front and rear combine to send up to 429 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. The high-capacity, next-gen battery pack offers enough juice to keep the CUV rolling for up to 373 miles (600 km) per charge. The IMx can drop the driver off in ProPilot mode and proceed to a charging station, managing the charging process to top off the battery and pump back into the grid, as demands fluctuate.
Nissan explains that autonomous technology guides the styling of the IMx, which is designed to create a more open, seamless connection between interior and exterior. That all begins with wide, B-pillar-free openings at the sides and a generous glasshouse and transparent roof.
Inside, four individual seats float atop the flat, open floor and an undulating wood-grain-patterned trim wraps all four passengers like a scarf, representing a traditional Japanese shoji paper door screen in creating a light division between interior and exterior. That trim creates for a very clean dashboard, completely uncluttered by the usual hard controls, gauges and infotainment screens. Instead, Nissan blends the instruments and infotainment into the lower glass, creating a sort of thin, wraparound head-up-style OLED display. The driver can control that display with eye movements and hand gestures.
The clean, natural feel of the interior doesn't really translate over to the exterior, which is dominated by chunky shapes, oversized cuts, painful points and odd overlays. The updated V-Motion grille is attractive enough, but the strange flat, standalone front fenders sliced off by the front intakes, the XX-long headlamps and the pointy corners around the hood and sides create a jumbled mess that's mirrored at the rear. The pincer-like wheel arches and bright vermillion highlights on the otherwise understated pearl-white body don't help much. But it's a concept car from Nissan, so weird styling and color choices are to be expected.
The IMx is the centerpiece of Nissan's electric-focused Tokyo Motor Show exhibit, which also includes the new Leaf and the Leaf Nismo Concept. While those cars engage the eyes, Nissan tickles the eardrums with its all-new electric vehicle soundtrack, called "Canto." Designed to improve pedestrian safety by delivering a discernible tone for Nissan electric vehicles, the sound system activates between 12 and 19 mph (20 and 30 km/h) and adjusts in tone and pitch depending on whether the car is accelerating, decelerating or backing up.
The Tokyo Motor Show opened to the press on Wednesday and will open to the general public on Saturday, after a preview day on Friday. It runs through Sunday, November 5.
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