Nissan Leaf Nismo Confirmed, Baby!
Nissan unveiled the Leaf Nismo EV this week, with sales commencing in Japan at the end of the month. This is a big surprise for the Western automotive media, as few of us truly believed it was possible. While rumors suggested the existence of such a vehicle, we presumed it would either not happen or manifest as a pathetic appearance package on a vehicle entirely consumed with efficiency.
We were wrong. Nissan actually retuned the Leaf’s computer for improved acceleration and gave it a bunch of meaningful performance upgrades.
However, Nissan didn’t say how much faster it would be compared to a standard Leaf. The model isn’t exactly sprightly (0-to-60 takes around 7.5 seconds), so the improvements probably won’t convert the Nismo variant into the ultimate sleeper car.
It also won’t look the part. While the automaker did chuck in a bunch of performance upgrades, appearance remains a large part of the equation. It has some strips of red trim (which is all the rage right now), new front and rear fasciae, LED headlamps, two-tone paint job, and a few other touches that make it look more aggressive. There’s also some red stitching found in the cabin, red trim pieces, a flat-bottomed, Alcantara-clothed steering wheel, sport seats, an an upgraded gear selector.
If that’s all it was, we’d be annoyed. But Nissan took the time to give the electric vehicle some meaningful hardware, as well. In addition to programming the computer to improve acceleration, Nissan also tweaked the braking system, traction control and anti-lock brakes to prioritize dynamics. The Leaf Nismo also has a new set of shock absorbers and unique 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Continental ContiSportContact 5 tires.
It’s not going to take down a Tesla P100Ds Model S, but it also isn’t supposed to. It’s an electric economy vehicle that Nissan kicked in the pants. But it does make us very excited about the future possibility of a Nismo variant of the more powerful, long-range Leaf E-Plus.
We are keenly aware that the prospects of this coming to North America aren’t great. However, we’re hoping Nissan listens and realizes that this is the kind of thing we want to see from Nismo — and that the idea of a juiced-up Leaf is something the market could be interested in.
Thus far, Nissan hasn’t mentioned any plans to sell this thing outside of Japan.
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