Nissan Leaf Nismo Confirmed, Baby!

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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.

[Images: Nissan]

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  • PJmacgee PJmacgee on Jul 23, 2018

    Oh look, an ugly Bolt, with totally inferior everything. What a waste of time.

  • Tele Vision Tele Vision on Jul 26, 2018

    These things might work well in The Sun Belt but not all of us live there, thank Glavin. This, or any other Leaf, can't get me to work for six months of the year. Were it lifted 6" and AWD - sure. As long as I could charge it at work, and know that it would both start and move with 3' of snow blown up around it. My F-150 handles this admittedly rare situation admirably for the time being.

  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
  • Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.
  • Sgeffe There's someone around where I live who has a recent WRX-STi, but the few times I've been behind this guy, he's always driving right at the underposted arbitrary numbers that some politician pulled out of their backside and slapped on a sign! With no gendarmes or schoolkids present! Haven't been behind this driver on the freeway, but my guess is that he does the left lane police thing with the best of 'em!What's the point of buying such a vehicle if you're never going to exceed a speed limit? (And I've pondered that whilst in line in the left lane at 63mph behind a couple of Accord V6s, as well as an AMG E-Klasse!)
  • Mebgardner I'm not the market for a malleable Tuner / Track model, so I dont know: If you are considering a purchase of one of these, do you consider the Insurance Cost Of Ownership aspect? Or just screw it, I'm gonna buy it no matter.The WRX is at the top of the Insurance Cost pole for tuner models, is why I ask.