Nissan designers are focused on the future, which is obvious by looking at some of the brand's newest products like the electric Ariya crossover and the upcoming Z Proto sports car. But those two vehicles are just the tipping point in terms of design. Today, Vice President of Nissan Design America David Woodhouse and former Nissan designer Jaebum "JB" Choi unveiled a concept that gives us an early glimpse into the brand's distant future.
Dubbed the Nissan GT-R (X) 2050, JB Choi created the original sketches and renderings of this concept while still a student at the ArtCenter College of Design. That led to an internship at Nissan Design America, and eventually, the company decided it would develop the full-scale model you see here.
Measuring in at 3 metres (10 feet) long and just 60 centimetres (2 feet) tall, the low-slung GT-R (X) concept is closer to a "superbike on four wheels" than a traditional supercar, Woodhouse notes. But the concept does borrow some Nissan cues you might already be familiar with, like the signature V-Motion front end and quad rounded taillights. But one thing that truly separates this concept from every other supercar is the seating position.
In order to pilot the GT-R (X), drivers would lie on their stomachs, with their heads on the front axle and their hands and feet at each wheel – almost like they're flying above the road. It would also require donning a special suit that includes a helmet for brain-to-vehicle connectivity, a futuristic concept that Nissan has hinted at in the past. Choi imagines his GT-R (X) concept would be a “wearable machine,” something akin to a futuristic exoskeleton.
"Exoskeletons today make people stronger by wearing mechanical structures. I tried to fit the size of a person's body as much as I could, as if I were wearing a car," Choi tells us. "I wanted to create a new form of machine that is not a vehicle to ride, it is the space where machine and human become one."
Gallery: Nissan GT-R (X) 2050 Concept
Obviously, this concept isn't hitting the Nissan production line anytime soon. But as Woodhouse notes, it is a good insight into what the brand hopes to achieve in the distant future.
"[JB’s] thesis was all about demonstrating the emotional connection technology can create and the benefit that it can deliver for customers," Woodhouse says. "It was super exciting for the NDA team to help JB give form to this idea as a 1:1 model."
As for Choi, his internship with Nissan Design America wrapped up earlier this year. The company was so impressed with his GT-R (X) concept and the story behind it, though, that he now works full-time at the studio. So expect more amazing designs from him in the future.