Nissan creates a car where, when you’re bored at stoplights, you can flip on an X-box 360 and use your steering wheel and pedals to play racing games. What could possibly go wrong?
If you think of driving in the real world as precious hours away from your racing video games, Nissan may have a car for you.
The Japanese automaker said Wednesday it will unveil a concept roadster at the North American International Auto Show with controls for a built-in Xbox 360. To put it another way, Microsoft will show off an Xbox 360 loaded with Project Gotham Racing 3 that’s attached to a working car at the Detroit show Jan. 9.
Either way, the Nissan Urge roadster allows a driver to use its steering wheel and gas and brake pedals to play PGR3 on a seven-inch LCD screen that folds down from the roof. In a nod to reality — and safety — the Urge has to be in park before would-be Michael Schumachers can get their game on.
The three-seat Urge will join a long line of concept vehicles with wacky features such as Ford’s translucent dashboard or DaimlerChrysler’s motorcycle built around a Dodge Viper’s V10.
Bruce Campbell, vice president of design at Nissan Design America, said the idea of turning the Urge into an Xbox controller was spurred by an Internet survey of 2,000 young people.
The survey found that "technology and gaming are among the most important attributes in their first car," Campbell said. Because some have yet to graduate from junior high school, the idea of an Xbox 360 with wheels might not be so strange.
Part of the appeal of the new Xbox is its ability to render games with ever-greater realism. According to Nissan, a driver could pilot the Urge around New York, park it, then flip down the screen and drive around the same streets in PGR3, "blurring fantasy and reality in a way that the automotive world has never before seen."
And isn’t likely to see again, at least until next year’s auto show.