Nissan’s first UK designed, engineered and manufactured hardtop/convertible, the Micra C+C, is opening its city stopping roof show for an early preview. Deliveries won’t start till 14 November but the cleverest Micra yet will be appearing at Nissan dealers as part of a national pre-launch tour. Customers are also now able to order their own personal C+C show - the ticket price starts at £13,150 which includes four seats all with a sky view. That’s thanks to the unique-in-class (because it’s glass) C-VIEW electrically folding roof.
The C+C is the latest SHIFT_ for Nissan’s Micra and has been three years in the making. Or rather the designing and engineering for its journey began at the Paris Motor Show 2002 when the C+C was just a concept. Press and public alike raised their thumbs so Nissan, never one to turn down an opportunity, wasted no time in teaming convertible specialists, Karmann of Germany, with its own UK based designers and engineers to turn the concept into top-dropping reality.
London can take the credit for the C+C’s shape. Created at Nissan’s Paddington design centre, the C+C is longer (by 116mm), lower (by 79mm) and sleeker (look at the pictures) than the Micra hatchback. In fact only the front wings, bonnet and basic platform are shared between the two. The more acute angle of the windscreen hides stronger pillars for added protection in the event of a roll-over accident. It also extends much further over the cabin than in the standard hatchback - this means not just smoother looks but also less space required to house the folded roof. And so leaves more room for baggage.
Karmann strengthened the Micra’s platform aided and abetted by Nissan’s Cranfield based technical centre. An example of their work is a ‘dynamic damper’ to eliminate typical convertible shake. They also beefed up the car’s side sills and added under-floor bracing, a rear torsion wall and an additional front cross member, their aim being to counter the 80% loss of rigidity you get when you remove a car’s roof. Which is all very impressive but also rather dull. So let’s move onto the roof.
Nissan could have gone the easy route and fitted a folding canvas top. But it didn’t. Micras spend a lot of time in cities where vandalising fabric roofs is a leisure pursuit and where the rain can be as hard as the women. Nissan therefore went for a more complicated folding hardtop. With a unique-in-glass, sorry, - class difference.