The Fairlady X is a project by students at Nissan's technical college. It raises some interesting questions.
A recent report from our colleagues at Car and Driver says that Chevy is turning Corvette into its own sub-brand, with plans to launch a four-door and SUV in 2025. If so, Chevy would just be the latest automaker to adapt performance-car design language to an SUV format. Porsche kicked things off with the Cayenne two decades ago, while Ford has recently launched a Mustang SUV, the electric Mach E.
What if Nissan decided to adapt the Z’s styling to a crossover? This is one very literal interpretation of that idea. For the Tokyo Auto Salon, students at Nissan’s technical college mated the fascias of the new Z with a second-gen Murano and it is both bizarre and intriguing. Impressive, too, given that it’s not a clean sheet design.
The Fairlady X, as it’s dubbed, seems to be bringing something of the uncanny valley into the real world. It looks like what you’d get if you told one of those fancy new AI systems to quickly make a Nissan Z SUV rendering, except it actually exists. Even after a few minutes of looking at Fairlady X, my brain still can’t process what I’m seeing. It’s a weird amalgam of Z and regular crossover. There are some great details though, including Rays wheels, bucket seats, and the flush door handles from the GT-R.
I can’t help but wonder if a Z-inspired crossover would be a good idea. This sort of thing has worked for a number of automakers, and though enthusiasts decried the Mustang Mach E in particular, it’s turned out to be a hit for Ford. Perhaps Nissan could use the EV platform from the Ariya, give it a bit more performance, and style it like a Z car. I’m quite obviously not an automotive product planner, but I can’t imagine that’s the worst idea. If nothing else it’ll get people talking about Nissan and that’s no bad thing.
Chris Perkins Senior Editor Chris Perkins is the Web Editor for Road & Track magazine.