ÃšRGE, which makes its world debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2006, addresses all of these issues. In creating the ÃšRGE concept, the designers at NDA, kept these core survey results in mind â€“ while adding a few ideas of their own. ÃšRGE emerged as a minimalist sports car â€“ pure Nissan in its look, innovative features, spirited performance and, certainly, its sports car heritage.
ÃšRGE is also infused with a gamerâ€™s sense of adventure â€“ with the bare, exposed look and driving experience of a high performance motorcycle, but balanced with a high level of safety features.
â€˜We want ÃšRGE to replicate the raw motorcycle experience as much as possible, with the exposed engine, door panel cutouts and open top. Motorcycles are exhilarating to drive and we want this car to feel the same way,â€™ said Campbell. â€˜At the same time, we want parents to think of this car as safe, which, for example, led us to include the integrated cage structure and visible passengerâ€™s side air bag. ÃšRGE, like its target buyers, has a foot in each world, adventure and reality.â€™
The front-engine, rear-wheel drive ÃšRGE is designed to be lightweight â€“ with a target weight of just 2,400 pounds â€“ and active. Its performance is expressed in quickness and agility, rather than brute horsepower and top-end acceleration. Its wheelbase is the same length as Nissanâ€™s popular 350Z, but ÃšRGEâ€™s unique, open body is a full 16 inches shorter than the ZÂ® thanks to its short front and rear overhangs.
ÃšRGE utilizes a quick, high-revving, small-displacement engine, 6-speed manual sequential (motorcycle-style) gearbox and 350Z-style quick-stopping BremboÂ® brake system. The wheels are a lightweight 9-spoke spun aluminum-alloy design, 19-inch front/20-inch rear, and the tires are narrow Michelin (195/45R19 front, 225/35R20 rear) sizes, reinforcing the motorcycle-style look and performance feel.
â€˜The performance targets for ÃšRGE, in keeping with an affordable, $20,000 production price target, dictate a more realistic approach to the parts list than say our 350Z or GT-R Proto,â€™ said Campbell. â€˜ÃšRGEâ€™s sense of exhilaration comes more from the exposed body and driving environment than costly components. Itâ€™s a sports car for first-time car buyers. The ZÂ®s and GT-Rs will come later in the buyersâ€™ lives.â€™
ÃšRGEâ€™s bare, exposed exterior is highlighted by its cycle-style fenders and stripped away body panels. The special glass hood exposes the top of the engine, while the doors feature see-through cutouts.
The body is highlighted by an extensive aluminum â€˜cageâ€™ structure, which includes an aluminum center structure that runs from the engine bay to the interior center console. The ÃšRGE exterior also features aluminum/composite construction and a collapsible, storable manually operated canvas top. The 4-bar hinge scissor doors are extra long for access to the rear seat. When the door release button is engaged, the glass panel of the unique door cutout slides up, allowing the occupantâ€™s legs to easily pass in or out.
â€˜One of our other goals in the ÃšRGE design was to show off the cool material used in concept form â€“ the aluminum foam in the doors, the perforated metal mesh interior panels, the lightweight exposed seat frames and the â€˜Mirror Crystalâ€™ aluminum colored body panels,â€™ said Campbell. â€˜Weâ€™re also proud of our solution to the limitations of a typical two-seat sports car with the hidden alpha seat.â€™
ÃšRGEâ€™s unique third bucket seat is tucked behind the driver and passenger in a hidden compartment. When the cover, which is activated by the driverâ€™s cell phone, is down, ÃšRGE looks like a traditional sports car. When up, thereâ€™s room for an additional passenger.
The ÃšRGE interior also features an F1-style Â§teering wheel and a compact instrument panel with a driver information monitor, two side screens and a pair of docking stations for the driverâ€™s mp3 audio player and cell phone. The center monitor can be switched between five customizable screens, including navigation system, climate controls, audio and suspension/performance tuning. The menus are scrollable using Â§teering wheel-mounted controls.
â€˜In keeping with the rapidly changing technology demands of our target buyers, ÃšRGE allows the driver to be in charge and to bring to the vehicle a high degree of personalization. The navigation system is located in front of the driver, not the passenger, the driverâ€™s cell phone acts as Intelligent Key to start the vehicle. We provide the audio speakers, the owner provides the audio drivers,â€™ said Campbell.
Other ÃšRGE interior features include the racing-style lightweight mesh-and-leather bucket seats, billet aluminum center console, perforated metal mesh-covered silicone foam instrument panel material, visible passenger-side air bag, and racing-style, durable rubber flooring.
Another unique feature of the ÃšRGE concept is its integrated gaming system. Powered by Xbox 360, when the driver wants to change to game mode, he or she disengages the driving controls and activates the game system. A screen folds down from the rearview mirror, the Â§teering wheel and pedals become game controls, and the gameâ€™s audio is played through the vehicleâ€™s audio system. The ÃšRGE concept feature a special Nissan-only demonstration edition of Project Gotham Racing 3.
â€˜The Echo Boomer generation, born between roughly 1976 and 1996, has grown up on video games. By 2012, nearly all 87 million of them will be of driving age and they will be lÃ²Ã²king for much more from a car than simple transportation â€“ entertainment, a social space, personalization and flexibility,â€™ said Campbell. â€˜The ability to park the car and activate the game system adds another dimension of entertainment beyond the pure driving pleasure of the ÃšRGE. Like its drivers, this vehicle is able to switch between the real world and video world whenever the ÃšRGE strikes.â€™
Price this car:
MSRP: not available yet
Invoice: not available yet
Source: Nissan Press Release