As the Rio Olympics get underway, Nissan is showing off a pair of radical sports car prototypes in Brazil.
The two BladeGlider prototypes are based on a concept car that debuted at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. They sport a highly unorthodox design, with a narrow front track and wide rear track, and electric powertrains. It’s rare for any concept car to make the leap from auto show display to running prototype, let alone something as sci-fi crazy as the BladeGlider.
The BladeGlider’s triangular shape was adapted from the DeltaWing race car, which Nissan backed when its designers entered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012. It helps improve aerodynamics by reducing the car’s frontal area. This, in turn, dramatically increases efficiency. DeltaWing itself plans to produce a road car using the same overall shape, and has battled Nissan over ownership of the idea.
Power for the BladeGlider comes from a pair of electric motors developed by Williams Advanced Engineering, an arm of the Williams Formula One team. They produce a combined 268 horsepower, enough to get the prototype from 0 to 62 mph in around 5 seconds, thenon to a top speed of 115 mph, according to Nissan.
Open the rear-hinged dihedral doors, and the cockpit is just as radical as the exterior. The BladeGlider is a three-seater, with one seat for the driver in front and two passenger seats in back. Most of the controls are mounted on the steering wheel, and three digital displays make up the instrumentation. The BladeGlider also has cameras in place of sideview mirrors, something many automakers are actually trying to implement on production models.
The pair of BladeGlider prototypes will stay in Rio de Janeiro throughout August. One will be placed on display, and the second will give rides to VIPs and media. Nissan won’t confirm any plans for a production model, however.