Nissan isn’t saying much about the concept car it plans to unveil at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, and it may not need to.
The Japanese carmaker will show a “Sport Sedan Concept” in Detroit, and that’s about all car enthusiasts need to hear.
Nissan’s teaser image depicts a car with a swooping hood line, low roof, and the company’s latest v-shaped grille. Many of these details will probably be toned down if the car ever makes it to production, but they should make quite an impression on the show stand.
A true sport sedan would be a return to form for Nissan.
The maker of the GT-R and 370Z was once known for building some of the sportiest sedans this side of Bavaria. The Maxima was known as the “four-door sports car” until it switched from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive in the early 1990s; Nissan still cheekily applies “4DSC” decals to the current Maxima.
Nissan struck again in 2002, when it placed a 3.5-liter V6 derived from the motor used in the 350Z sports car in the mid-size Altima, making it the muscle car of the family sedan segment. A year later, it launched the Infiniti G35, the first Japanese sport sedan that could truly compete with the vaunted BMW 3 Series.
Sadly, all of these cars have become shadows of their former selves. The current Altima and Maxima are powerful, but they’re both more Buick than BMW. The Infiniti G has mutated into the Q50, an overweight car with spooky robotic steering that only an IT professional could love.
Nissan has become somewhat bipolar, producing a line of competent but uninspired mainstream offerings (Sentra, Altima, Pathfinder) on the one hand, and exciting or downright zany models on the other (GT-R, 370Z, Juke). However, there’s precious little cross-pollination between the two sides.
Will Nissan turn things around with its Detroit sport sedan concept? We’ll find out January 13, when it’s unveiled in Cobo Hall.