It’s been a few years since Nissan’s been weird. The Cube died ages ago, the Juke has been normalized due to so many manufacturers hopping on the split-lamp treatment, and it’s been ages since “coin slot” and “Maxima” were said in the same sentence inside a Nissan showroom. Happily, signs of weird have started to appear again thanks to the gloriously-named Max-Out EV concept.
The Max-Out looks like the future of the past. It’s a concept sports car seemingly styled by Pepsiman, then accented in the same colors as an old Taco Bell. It feels like it’s built for a future where Half Life 3, 4, and 5 were launched to critical acclaim, which makes it that much more astonishing that it’s been built at all.
There’s more wedge to the Max-Out’s front end than on a Reliant Scimitar SS1, and Tron-like illuminated mesh elements show up everywhere from the surface under the elongated windscreen to the hubcaps. However, the Max-Out shrugs off ‘80s nostalgia in favor of something more ‘90s. The Fiat Coupe-like slashes in the front fenders and restrained use of hard creases point more towards the PlayStation era.
The weirdness continues on the inside, which we get an excellent view of thanks to the Max-Out lacking any semblance of a roof. The digital display in the dashboard looks a bit like a WinAmp skin, the steering wheel has two directional pads, and the wheel itself is shaped like a half-formed Mad Catz N64 wheel. Of course, the Tron-like pattern continues through the floor of the Max-Out, but strong post-Cold War optimism vibes are here.
It’s perplexing that the Max-Out was built at all. Sure, it was shown off in a few renderings back in 2021, but as far as I can work out by reading the press release, this car isn’t a concept car as we know that term to mean today. It doesn’t explicitly foreshadow future styling direction, nor is it a film tie-in, nor does it conjure up Nissan’s own past and act as a tribute car. While the Max-Out is said to be an EV, no further powertrain details are provided, which means we could just be looking at a rolling model. In fact, its official purpose is to explore “the fundamental concept of being one with the car,” but little more has been said by Nissan. The Max-Out seems to be a pure show car, a design team’s flight of fancy and a flex of what Nissan is capable of. A more classic definition of a concept car, which fits right in with the retro styling.
Think of the Max-Out as the new Z’s foil. Forget bringing up the distant past, this is longing for a future that never happened. Of course, romanticizing the decade that gave us Woodstock 1999 is the same sort of out-of-context nostalgia our own Adrian Clarke is so against, but we’re doomed to repeat trend cycles until a greater shift happens. For now, the Nissan Max-Out is a glorious sign that somewhere deep down inside Nissan, the same weirdness that gave us the Pike cars, the Cube, and the orange-on-orange Infiniti FX45 is still alive. Long may it continue.
(Photo credits: Nissan)
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Pretty neat that they were able to break the space time continuum and make the wheels interconnected worm holes.
It has wheel centers offset to the middle like Adrian taught us how to draw!
I like it, I wonder if elements of this will make it into the new Nismo sports car that they are working on.
“…half-formed Mad Catz N64 wheel.”
That side view is giving me such strong Lamborghini Diablo vibes – the back end plus the implied deep-dish alloys is what’s doing it. Overall, this car is a final spasm before the curtain gets drawn around Nissan’s emaciated withered corpse. RIP.
If I squint hard enough, I get some S13 convertible vibes. Especially that rear 3/4 view.
This looks straight out of the book “Cars Europe Never Built”. I support this insanity.
I applaud Nissan’s choice to let their designers smoke a bowl and watch 3 hours of vaporwave youtube playlists before starting work, it leads to great things.
Love the shape. Get rid of all the over the top LED crap, but keep the front and rear fascia treatments. Same size as a Miata, maybe KR20DDET motor? RWD of course. Needs a little more fender flare on it.
In a small way it reminds me of the IDx. So close, yet so far away. Nissan really should consider this kind of “bandit mask” front-end design.
Great. Now I can’t get Max Power out of my head.
Hop in a Nissan, strap yourself in and feel the G’s
I had somehow imagined the future would look like a Quasar-Unipower City-Car, so my disappointment with reality is even greater.
We’ve been reliving the 80s for going on 20 years now, I could take some reliving the 90s already.
Oh we’re there now too. Neon colors everywhere is totally early ’90s.
I worry we’re coming up fast on the retro frontier. As in, we started hard-core retro at the end of the ’90s/early ’00s. Soon, we’re not going to have anything new to do the retro thing, so it’s going to be like “remember that time in the ’90s we remembered the swing music from the ’50s??”
I live in a university town, and the kids are very much on a 90’s kick.
“Nissan’s Max-Out Concept Is What We All Imagined The Future Would Look Like”
It’s no where near as cool as the Genesis electrobarge convertible thingy….and somehow, by the grace of whatever deity is watching over us, that ridiculous vehicle is allegedly going into production.
The 2024 Mercury Capri?
I’m looking forward the Mercury Moment on that car BTW. Esp if we can get Laurence’s view on it…
Pretty cool. However, I wouldn’t buy one unless it lets me use the yoke to play S.T.U.N. Runner on the display screen.
Hook two up, and play a cyber sled 1 vs. 1.
S.T.U.N. Runner. Fuck. I’d hug you for that reference if I could.
I kind of love over-the-top concept cars like this, but it is disappointing that they virtually always turn into something pretty ordinary if they make it to production. I want it in a neon color to really push the “future of the eighties” aesthetic.
“WinAmp skin” – now that’s a deep cut. Bravo!
That was my exact thought. I read that and thought to myself “WinAmp, now that’s something I haven’t thought about in a long time.”
Winamp has been recently updated and released.
I assume it’s still whipping a llama’s ass somewhere…
I was talking with my wife the other day about getting home from school, putting a playlist of horribly tagged music that included Kryptonite on winamp and picking the perfect visualizer before throwing some pizza rolls in the microwave.
Really? That was the only reference i actually got. Unsure what that says about me.
It looks like it’s from a Tron, straight-to-video knockoff. I love it.
Or like a car some rich guy would drive in Cyberpunk 2077. Cool.
(also, I like your handle…so autopian!)
Thanks! Yes, Cyberpunk 2077 would also work.
Looks like 90% aesthetic crud that sucks range, adds cost, and adds weight.
I’m all for more convertible BEVs but I wouldn’t buy this for $1.
Is it because they didn’t throw in a Blaupunkt?