We try Nissan's bonkers BladeGlider


As we hit the back straight of the twisting kart track in the middle of a shanty town in Brazil the wail of the concept car's electric motors reaches a crescendo.

It's banshee-like in pitch and would rival a hover bike from Star Wars in tone – this is noise like no electric car that's gone before it, and it's pointing to the future of EVs for Nissan.
We've come to Rio de Janeiro to experience this mad Batmobile-a-like sports car concept, dubbed the BladeGlider.

With a narrow front track and aerodynamically designed body that widens like an arrow to the rear, the concept car takes design cues from the Delta Wing Le Mans racer of 2012.

Although that car's track time was short lived, the lessons Nissan learned are brought back to life in this mad sports car concept that's part Robin Reliant, part McLaren F1, part Caterham.

With two 174bhp electric motors, independently powering each rear wheel, the BladeGlider is good for nearly 120mph and 60mph in under five seconds.

It's been built in conjunction with F1 experts Williams Advanced Engineering and features an unusual three-seater layout where both passengers sit behind and either side of the driver.

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed a drive of the multimillion pound concept car, however we did get to experience it from the passenger seat.

Even from here it's clear the BladeGlider offers a completely unique driving experience. Those two front wheels and the wide-track rear make for a planted and agile ride. On the tiny test track it whipped between corners with a whiff of tyre-smoking over-steer when our exuberant test driver got playful.

For us mere mortals the BladeGlider offers a drift mode, similar to that found on the Focus RS, for sideways fun – yet more technology debuting here that is likely to filter down to other Nissans.

The BladeGlider did feel softly sprung, though, more hot hatch than sports car over the kerbs. But most importantly it was great fun – and with the instant torque available from those electric motors felt swift too.

We try Nissan’s bonkers BladeGlider

We try Nissan’s bonkers BladeGlider

It's not supercar fast, but will push you back into the sports seats and throw you around enough to induce a whiff of travel sickness. There's currently no word on range, though – which we'd guess means it's currently pretty poor.

Unfortunately, the chances of being able to order a BladeGlider from your local dealer any time soon is highly unlikely. This is just one of two produced and they're likely to be the last. Well, in this form at least.

So you might be wondering what the point is? Well, Nissan says that's simple really: They want to make people realise electrification doesn't mean dull, and a sports car concept as bonkers as this proves otherwise.

Nissan is long overdue a sister car to the Leaf, the world's best-selling EV, and many will be hoping the lessons Nissan has learned here will lead to a thrilling follow-up. Fortunately, after a very short passenger ride, all the signs are pointing in the right direction for a smash hit.