DETROIT – Nissan says it has seen the future and it is, of all things, a sedan.
As the U.S. market continues to go bonkers for trucks – pickups, SUVs and crossovers accounted for nearly 70% of light-vehicle sales last year – Nissan says its forecast shows future buyers want four doors, albeit with a higher ride height, and previews its interpretation of it with the IMs EV elevated sports sedan concept car.
“It is not just the future of the sedan, but the future of the electric vehicle,” says Denis Le Vot, senior vice president, chairman of management committee-Nissan North America.
Le Vot says Generation Z, a cohort of consumers born in the mid-1990s-2000s and larger than their Millennial predecessors, want sleekly designed sports sedans, as well as electric propulsion and autonomous drive.
The IMs answers each of those desires and previews the spirit of eight battery-electric vehicles from Nissan by 2020 and the dozen coming from the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance by 2022. It follows other Nissan EV concepts, including the IDs and IMx.
“But we are already looking beyond 2022, and the IMs is what we see,” Le Vot says after unveiling the concept car at the North American International Auto Show here.
The graphite-colored IMs is so sleek it could seemingly slip through your fingers if it weren’t for the 22-in. by 10-in. aluminum alloy wheels with Michelin performance tires it can hardly contain. Light bars convey the familiar Nissan grille design and gold membrane drips forward from a black glass roof conveying artificial intelligence.
The B-pillar is absent, which enhances its futuristic styling, while those oversized tires lift the cabin floor for easy ingress and egress for an elevated seating position so coveted by today’s crossover buyers. The driver display is a floating clear interface made up of four compact screens with a customizable virtual reality avatar.
A 114-in. (2,900-mm) wheelbase maximizes interior space, which Le Vot characterizes as lounge-like, and 2 + 1 + 2 seating concept rethinks the notion of a “third-wheel” passenger. The seat slides forward closer to front-row passengers when the outboard seats are folded.
The IMs dual-motor, all-wheel-drive electric propulsion system generates a blood-quickening 483 hp and 590 lb.-ft. (800 Nm) of torque to match the pulses of light created fore-to-aft and back again when the car is in motion for its 385 miles (620 km) of range.
An air suspension adapts to the road and can be tuned to individual preferences. The IMs is meant to switch seamlessly between autonomous and piloted modes, underscoring Nissan’s intention to design every car with the driver in mind.