Most insane concept cars will never get built, but Nissan promises they'll make the Nissan BladeGlider shown at the Tokyo Motor Show a reality and promises the production car to be just as quick as it looks. They also said it could be the best handling car ever. How will they pull that off?
Performance cars are all about power, handling, braking and weight distribution. The BladeGlider's narrow front track met with the same initial skepticism after its debut, but Nissan claims they came up with a superior design:
Extensive testing on the racetrack with race drivers behind the wheel, the Nissan BladeGlider has the potential to be the best handling production car in the world.
Big words. Still, let's see what they have in store.
The BladeGlider should be quick off the line due to its rear tires being considerably wider than the front tires, resulting in more traction at the rear, enabling the tires to get a better grip on the driving surface. The wide rear track also allows for virtually all of the car's heavier components—including the two in-board motors, lithium ion batteries and passengers—to sit between the rear tires; hence, most of the cars' weight (70 percent in this case) sits directly on the two driven wheels. Therefore, there's very little tire slip, allowing the 285/35 tires to bite into the road and launch the car in the most efficient way.
Thanks to the extremely narrow front end includes the skinny 100/80 tires, air drag is minimal. The nose also keeps the weight down with less hardware and smaller components.
While traditional performance enthusiast may scratch their respective heads wondering how a car with such a narrow front track can take corners; the answer is relatively simple.
The narrow front track allows less weight to be placed on the front wheels. While some say that more weight on the front tires equals better grip, the complete opposite is actually true.
Sure, with super wide tires, extra load may result in more grip, but this is not an efficient solution, nor is it always true. For example, front-heavy cars are prone to excessive understeer – the loss of grip at the front wheels, where the car does not turn as much as the steering demands. The thinner tires up front allow the BladeGlider to turn in crisply because only 30 percent of the car's total weight rests upon them. An added benefit is improved steering in terms of effort, feel and precision.
Now...we go sledge hammer!
The wide rear track and wide rear tires also contribute to the BladeGlider's exceptional handling. By providing a stable and rigid foundation for the car, they allow the car's front tires to effectively point the nose of the vehicle in the right direction. Think of a sledge hammer and its handle. Put the hammer on the ground and move the handle in the desired direction. It can be done with relatively little effort because the head of the hammer is providing a stable foundation. This unique effect of the BladeGlider can be enhanced with torque vectoring (or an enhanced limited slip differential) that can be programmed into the in-wheel motors, allowing the rear tires to help point the car's nose.
Fact is, after seeing how the GT-R Nismo went around the 'Ring, I'm positive Nissan has the know-how.
The BladeGlider's rear brakes are actually larger than the front ones due to the wider tires at the back. Nissan says that's an advantage because:
...with the rear tires doing most of the work during acceleration and braking, and the front tires providing grip through turns, the overall performance workload is distributed ideally: the front tires steer the car, the rear tires propel and stop the car.
Well, as long as most of the weight is there and there's no nosedive, that's correct.
Nissan also believes that the BladeGlider gives the driver as much feedback as humanly possible and takes car of uneven tire wear too, meaning people can misbehave without having to worry about the rubber.
Now, I want a pony.