A few days ago, Nissan teased not just a new car, but a new genre of cars. That car is the EXREM, and the genre is something that Nissan calls an urban compact sports car. Nissan designed the new concept car specifically for the Brazilian market and introduced it at the São Paulo Motor Show.
Nissan Design America worked closely with Brazilian designers to develop a concept car that reflects the country's vibrancy and passion. It is Nissan's first concept developed specifically for Brazil, a country where it doubled sales last year and hopes to promote continued growth.
"Brazil is a country of great natural beauty and it has a passionate, rich culture," explains Shiro Nakamura, Nissan's Chief Creative Officer. "But this is not always reflected in the cars on its streets, especially the more affordable locally produced vehicles which tend to be conservative in design, color and specification. EXTREM, with a dynamic, high-character design, is far from conservative. It was created to appeal to the country's growing band of city-based young professionals who are passionate about design and want to make a personal statement."
The EXTREM is a two-door, four-seat hatchback. While Nissan tries to sell us on its new "urban compact sports car" genre, the EXTREM looks a lot like a sporty crossover. Nissan's description of it as an "urban rally car, a tough little street fighter that can handle the urban jungle with agility and confidence" supports the idea that it's just a sporty skin over top a crossover build, not all that different from Nissan's sportified Jukes. In fact, Nissan has called the Juke Nismo a "performance crossover," which seems like a perfect description for the EXTREM. The EXTREM is nearly 11 inches (279 mm) shorter than the Juke in overall length.
While we're not sure if it's distinct enough to spawn an entire automotive category, the EXTREM does have the design and equipment to effectively blend rugged utility with sporty looks. The car sits higher than the average hatch, adding ground clearance for navigating the "urban jungle." A rear aluminum skid plate adds further protection, and the roof rails ensure that the driver is able to carry the gear he needs to survive that jungle. Meanwhile, the sloping roof, wraparound glasshouse, sharp LED headlamps and bulging fenders add sufficient evidence to support Nissan's "sports car" claim.
Nissan developed the exclusive orange "Solar Cortex" paint color as an "homage to Brazilian nature." The roof pattern and its mix of gloss and matte textures was inspired by Brazilian graphics. Contrasting 19-inch wheels, gas cap and tow hook add some extra exterior flair.
The EXTREM has a two-tier storage system in its hatch. The lower tier is hidden below a removable storage bin, adding security for valuable items.
Nissan says specifically that the EXTREM is just a concept with no immediate production future, but it envisions it using its 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, which was inspired by the DeltaWing and is also used in the Juke. The hypothetical buyer would have his choice of front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive with torque vectoring.
While the car itself may not manifest into a production model, Nissan suggests the styling cues may show up in future products, both in and beyond the Brazilian market.