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Detroit show: Nissan reveals innovative IMs concept

Autonomous, battery-electric Nissan IMs concept raises the sedan to new heights

15 Jan 2019

NISSAN has laid claim to a new vehicle genre, the “elevated sports sedan”, with the reveal overnight of the self-driving, all-electric IMs concept at the Detroit motor show.
The Japanese car-maker describes the IMs as “closer to a sedan than a crossover” and is clearly pushing the design envelope at a time when traditional sedans are fast losing favour in key markets such as North America and forcing some manufacturers to pull back from, or even abandon, the segment.  
The IMs has an elevated ride height that aids ingress and egress and allows for a high seating position, stemming from 22-inch alloy wheels and the underfloor placement of a flat 115kWh battery pack that provides a driving range of about 600km. 
Measuring 4845mm long, 1900mm wide and 1500mm high, with a 2900mm wheelbase, the IMs has an exterior design that is highlighted by similar horizontal and vertical lines.
Finished in ‘Liquid Metal’ paintwork, the concept’s body and glasshouse are visually separated owing to the absence of B-pillars, and despite it adopting the popular fastback silhouette, Nissan says the concept’s packaging is not compromised.
The concept’s thin pillars and gold-accented glass roof, flush side windows, handle-less doors and side-view cameras (in lieu of traditional side mirrors) contribute to a low drag coefficient, while an integrated rear spoiler can be deployed to aid high-speed stability.
Up front, Nissan’s signature V-motion design element is used, although due to the 360kW/800Nm dual-motor electric powertrain (with all-wheel drive), it is not presented in the form of a traditional grille. Instead, the placement and shape of the headlights make it apparent.
When the IMs is on the move, its front end’s horizontal light strip pulses into the cabin, where the ambient lighting reacts accordingly, before reaching the centre of the full-width tail-light and starting the process again. This glows light blue when the autonomous driving mode is engaged.
The cabin can be more easily accessed via the rear suicide doors, which open up to a unique seating layout. The three-seat second row can be transformed into an oversized, reclining Premium Seat when the outboard pews are folded flat.
In the first row, the driver-centric cockpit features a floating dual-layer transparent digital instrument cluster, four infotainment displays and a zero-gravity seat for the driver.
When the IMs’ autonomous driving mode is activated, its steering wheel and side-view cameras retract and front pews pivot inwards to face the second row, with the latter enabled by its lack of a centre console.
Riding on adaptive air suspension, the IMs also features Nissan’s I2V (‘invisible to vehicle’) technology that was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week.
As reported, the mixed-reality platform allows occupants to see the invisible, such as what is concealed around the corner, using a three-dimensional interface.
According to Nissan Motor Company senior vice-president for global design Alfonso Albaisa, the IMs is able to create a new vehicle segment due to the battery-electric and autonomous-driving technology underpinning the concept.
“Advances in electric vehicle technology and autonomous driving have allowed our designers to break free of the platform and packaging rules that constrain traditional passenger vehicles, to create a completely new type of car,” he said.
“The IMs explores the limits of sedan design with an approach that elevates the category in both look and functionality.”

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