New EV marks 20 years of Nissan's London design studio – and rivals A290_β as a city-friendly hot rod
By PH Staff / Monday, 25 September 2023 / Loading comments
Elsewhere in the world this week, Nissan is busying itself with the launch of the new and slightly more powerful Z Nismo. Over here, we get an electric concept car unveiled on a barge. But that’s okay because for once the manufacturer has let its UK-based stylists cut loose and design ‘a fun electric city car that [they’d] like to drive every day in London.’ Unsurprisingly, for what we assume is a bunch of twentysomething car nuts, they turned in the most balls-out, motorsport-inspired concept that could possibly be squeezed onto a three-door supermini platform.
Nissan says the result – dubbed the 20-23 – is nothing more than a bit of celebratory blue-sky thinking to mark the fact that its European design studio has been located in London for 20 years. But if it looks familiar that’s likely because Nissan Design Europe likely has small cars on the brain right now as it hits a downslope which ends with the introduction of the next-generation Micra. Which, it just so happens, is set to share the CMF-BEV platform that underpins the new Renault 5. And the Alpine A290. Which everyone drooled over in concept format back in the spring.
The reception given to Alpine’s beta-special has clearly not passed Nissan’s designers by. If the 20-23 isn’t a yeah-but-look-what-we-can-do rebuttal, then our name is not PistonHeads and we didn’t eat too much cheese for lunch. Nissan says the colossal arches and downforce-generating rear wing and check-me-out wheels reflect ‘both the world of online racing and [its] participation in Formula E.’ Okay, sure – but it’s also a three-door hot hatch with scissor doors. Take that, Dieppe.
Whether or not it actually hints at the next Micra is obviously open to question. Given the conservatism that has generally marked out Nissan’s supermini, we’re going to say probably not. But it’s increasingly clear that both the incoming Renault 5 and the Alpine A290 are going to be serious lookers – if nothing else, the 20-23 suggests that the occupants of the Nissan Design Europe are adamant that the manufacturer need not be outdone on the styling front. And with Makoto Uchida, the firm’s President and CEO personally pulling the covers off in London, it couldn’t have hoped for a bigger wig to sell the idea to…
- Behold the new Alpine A290_β
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