Nissan aerodynamic engineer Masaaki Arai and design sculptor Sadatoshi Kitano explain the details about the 2015 Nissan Murano’s styling and aerodynamics.
YOKOHAMA, Japan – To the design team tasked with creating an all-new third generation Nissan Murano, one thing was perfectly clear: Nothing less than a return to the original's "wow" factor would be acceptable.
The new Murano was subjected to three times the normal wind tunnel testing, eventually resulting in a 0.31 coefficient of drag – the same as many sports cars. The 0.31 Cd is projected to be among the best in the midsize crossover segment.
While exploring ways to give the new Murano an energetic, aero look, the designers wanted to retain the original's strong sculptural qualities. Their solution was to combine the usual sketching and computer renderings with three-dimensional modeling. The design process became more organic than usual, with miniature clay models helping define the forms early on and throughout the design process.
As the back and forth between computers and clays continued, unique elements began to emerge in the design's combination of sharp edges and fluid sculpture – in the sense of curved metal being shaped by the wind. The iconic Nissan boomerang headlight and taillight designs, originally introduced on the Nissan 370Z, were stretched and slimmed even further and integrated into the bold front fenders and rear hatchback glass.
The D-pillars were shaped to resemble a jet and "disconnected" from the slim roof to lighten the cabin. The Power Panoramic Moonroof was lengthened and widened, adding a sense of visual openness and transparency.
As the spaciousness and sleekness of the upper body was established, the lower body was strengthened through use of a wide stance and the balancing of aerodynamics and ruggedness. Special attention was paid to the anchoring aspect of the rich lower body sections and the prominent "V-Motion" grille, which flows seamlessly into the hood and fenders.
As the Murano shape moved from Resonance Concept to potential production vehicle, the fine-tuning kicked into high gear. In the rear, the challenge was to retain the fluid sculptural appearance without limiting crossover functionality.
"At Nissan, design is our brand promise, a promise that pulls people into our vehicles where they will be treated to an exciting driving experience," said Nissan senior vice president and chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura. "As the first of our new concept-based production vehicles coming to market, Murano sets our new standard."
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