The sheer number of low-slung sports cars unveiled at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show is a big departure from auto shows of late. Most of the major Japanese domestic market automakers have revealed their own version of an electric sports car to speak to driving enthusiasts all over the world.
Nissan sees the sports car as a core part of its brand, as an expression of freedom. And indeed, of the company’s five recently unveiled concept cars, each offers something unique to cater to the personalities and requirements of different drivers.
The new Nissan Hyper Force concept appears to be a GT-R without officially being called a GT-R. Nissan says that it pays homage to the brand’s sports cars, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out which one had the greatest influence on its design. There’s even a pixelated version of what appears to be a GT-R badge adorning the front grille.
“I cannot confirm or deny your perceptions,” says Giovanny Arroba, Senior Design Director for Nissan. “That car, you know, we were channelling a lot of history, a lot of spirit of the brand. Nissan’s breadth of a lineup globally is quite wide, quite diverse. We like to say Nissan is performance – Nissan is also charm; Nissan is adventure; Nissan is family – so in the case of Hyper Force, we’re celebrating our performance heritage, especially as we electrify our future.”
The body panels are angular with a lot of flat surfaces and sharp edges incorporated into the design. It is supposed to achieve “high aerodynamic performance” thanks to help from NISMO, Nissan’s racing division.
“[The design] is quite brutal, it is intended to be quite striking. It is intended to feel like a Japanese forged carbon blade that can cut through the air,” says Arroba.
The Hyper Force is built around a solid-state battery, all-wheel drive, and up to 1,000 kW (1,341 hp) of power, which should make for an exhilarating driving experience.
Nissan is calling the Hyper Force an “expression of our daring spirit, aiming for the ultimate in performance.” It’s an all-electric supercar that will be fast but still comfortable for daily driving.
The Hyper Force concept features two driving modes: “R” (racing) and “GT” (grand touring). In R mode, the cabin glows red and transforms into an intimate cockpit-like setting with dashboard panels that physically move to surround the driver, while the four main screens display relevant data that includes tire pressure and temperature, air pressure, brake rotor temperature, and more, catering the driving experience to a racetrack. In GT mode, the cabin glows blue, the panels move away, and the cockpit opens up for a more comfortable and airy experience. Perfect for the drive home after a long day at the track.
There’s also a fully immersive virtual and augmented reality experience where the driver wears a special helmet to race virtually against the clock or online with other racers with the graphical design provided by Polyphony, creators of the Gran Turismo video game series.
“It’s interesting because originally [Polyphony] took our physical car into the digital world, and now we’re taking the digital world into the physical car,” Arroba says.
Fully autonomous driving will also be part of the equation using LIDAR and an array of sensors to enhance safety, which is just as important to Nissan as the driving experience.
While much of this is still in the concept stages, the fact that we’re seeing what appears to be a new GT-R is promising and exciting news for Nissan, which desperately needs to infuse some excitement into its lineup and this new Hyper Force absolutely nails that.
“We’re always daring to be on that cutting edge,” Arroba says. “The [Hyper Force] is an electrified statement of how we maintain that.”