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High-riding sportscar crossover concept shows Brazil that Nissan means business.
Just about every automaker is making crossovers these days. Even exotic automakers that previously confined themselves to low-slung sportscars are getting in on the game. But few have embraced the segment quite like Nissan. The Japanese automaker has such a broad range of crossovers, in fact, that it can afford to produce specific models for specific markets. Like the Pathfinder that's designed principally for North America, the Qashqai for Europe...or this concept car.
What you have here is a Nissan crossover designed specifically for Brazil. Unveiled in concept form today at the Sao Paulo Auto Show, the Nissan Extrem is a high-riding 2+2 that looks (to our eyes at least) something like a futuristic GT-R on stilts. Highlighting Nissan's commitment to the Brazilian market, the Extrem concept was styled by Nissan Design America in San Diego, California, in collaboration with Brazilian designers. Nicknamed "Baby Beast" by its designers, it's a 2+2 "urban rally car" that looks ready to take on the 2030 Dakar Rally. (The cross-country rally has moved from North Africa to South America, after all.)
Its sloped roof and aggressive lines - rendered in a shade of metallic orange Nissan calls Solar Cortex - ride on a 2.5-meter wheelbase to measure a taut 3.8 meters overall, borrowing the versatile new V-platform from the new Nissan March (better known as the Micra). Although concept cars like this rarely have any actual engine inside, Nissan says the Extrem could theoretically pack the 1.6-liter turbocharged direct-injection inline-four from the DeltaWing racecar that just finished its first race, driving either the front wheels or all four with a torque-vectoring system (and if we know Nissan, probably a continuously-variable transmission).
Nissan states that the Extrem is purely a show car that doesn't foreshadow the emergence of any specific production car on the horizon. Still, it's quite an effort to showcase at a typically second-tier auto expo that usually has to make do with previously-revealed concept cars making their pre-retirement rounds of the local car shows. Nissan is clearly keen on getting a slice of the Brazilian market, and to that end is building the new Resende assembly plant in Rio de Janeiro, which is projected to go online in the first half of 2014 with a 200,000-unit annual capacity. As for the Extrem concept itself, we can only look on from abroad and wait for some of its styling cues to filter down to production cars.