Nissan has coyly been suggesting that it might someday furnish electrified performance models ever since it released Nismo-badged examples of the humble Leaf for the Japanese market. This was followed by the 2020 Leaf Nismo RC, which served as an experiment to see what would happen if you added a bunch of electric motors in a bid to make the model genuinely fast on a race track.
With the automaker set to deliver 15 new EVs by 2030, there’s been some speculation about how many will boast sporting aspirations. But it looks as though a few might know that Nissan has confirmed its developing Nismo-branded performance electrics for the global market.
A new report out of Japan suggests that the Nissan GT-R, aka Godzilla, will be bowing out the opposite of gracefully with a high-zoot model that will mark the end of this generation.
That same report suggests it will be a bit before any replacement for the flagship performance car will reach the market.
What’s going on with the NISMO division these days? Though still a reputable supplier of Nissan performance parts, the in-house tuning division’s consumer vehicles leave a lot to be desired. While NISMO managed to elevate the Juke, especially in RS form, as well as the GT-R, most offerings have focused on providing models with a more sporting appearance — potentially with an upgraded suspension and some grabbier tires.
The Sentra is a prime example. In NISMO trim, it rides a bit lower, is more rigid, and comes with its own tires and wheels, but that’s the full extent of the performance upgrades on offer from Nissan. Everything else is cosmetic — a shame considering it could really use more than 188 hp. The NISMO 350Z did better by incorporating shockingly aggressive aerodynamic upgrades and a hardcore suspension but, once again, added no power.
This emphasis on style and handling has forced the performance arm to partially retreat from the U.S. market, leaving the focus on parts supply. But new consumer models still crop up in other areas of the world, with the Nissan Versa Note Nismo S Black Edition being the latest.
Nissan’s performance arm, Nismo, is wetting its beak on electrified powertrains. Last week, the company launched the Note e-Power Nismo S — upping the model’s performance output by roughly 25 percent. Sold in Japan since December of 2016, the Note e-Power Nismo offered 109 horsepower and 187 lb-ft. The new Nismo S brings those specs to 134 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, which Nissan attributes to a tweaked inverter, modified vehicle control module, increased electrical output and an improved reduction drive.
While it’s likely never going to come to North America, there’s a good reason for it to remain on your radar. Nissan is aiming for 1 million sales of fully electric and e-Power vehicles annually by 2022. It’s also going to expand its e-Power system to Infiniti in 2021 and intends to start sending them in our general direction.
Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn trio represent the high-dollar sports car that doesn’t quite make it into supercar territory. They’re very expensive, yet among other extra-fast vehicles in the six-figure segment, they’re considered relatively good value.
This makes them all oddballs; none ever burn up the sales charts. But that doesn’t mean they can’t catch fire.
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.
Not long after promising to build new spare parts for the GT-R as part of its NISMO heritage program, the company threw a big bash at the Fuji Speedway circuit in its honor. More than 150 of its cousins showed up.
This is the 20th year for the NISMO Festival, which showcases the Nissan GT-R and the NISMO brand. It’s as if someone sprinkled fairy dust on an old Gran Turismo game and it sprang to life.
Nissan R32 GT-R owners in Japan will be able to enjoy wheeling their treasured rides around a lot longer, thanks to a program making new replacement parts available.
The parts will go on sale in Japan the first week of December as part of the new NISMO Heritage program, meaning that poorly modified R32 Godzillas hacked together in the wake of each Fast & Furious movie can now be properly restored.
Nissan appears to be considering adorning the Leaf with a NISMO nameplate and appearance. Unveiled on Monday at Nissan’s Futures 3.0 event, the stock 2018 model provides improved performance, range, and less nerdy looks. However, Nissan wants further improve the Leaf’s image with a NISMO-trimmed variant.
While we get that economy models can morph into fun-to-drive little darlings, we also scrunched our noses at Toyota’s performance-enhanced GR Prius last month. Not every car can be the next GTI and, if automakers would like to build something that could be, they’ll have to provide us with more than a bodykit and a set of custom wheels.
Nissan is about to embark on a global expansion plan that would double the number of models wearing the NISMO performance badge. The brand says that it is aware that enthusiasts only make up a small fraction of prospective buyers, but it doesn’t want to ignore them — especially in segments where NISMO hasn’t left much of an impression. For North America, that means trucks. However, Nissan says the it is seriously considering adding the emblem to crossovers, MPVs, and even minivans. Assumedly, since the Quest was retired in 2016, the company is referring to new models.
The timeline for the tuner sub-brand has set for itself wraps in 2020. By then, Nissan wants 100,000 NISMO specific sales annually, up from last year’s 15,000. How it plans to accomplish that is slightly worrying, however.
Two months after bringing the Juke’s 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to the Sentra lineup, Nissan is one-upping the Sentra SR Turbo with the 2017 Nissan Sentra NISMO.
It’s been three years since Nissan showcased a Sentra NISMO concept at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, but the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show sees the arrival of a production version that is, according to Nissan, more than just a bodykit.
In this case, NISMO also means a stiffened structure, unique suspension tuning, and the requisite exterior upgrades.
Nissan is filling in all the unfilled niches today.
The automaker unveiled a turbocharged variant of the sensible and unexciting Sentra today at the Miami International Auto Show, promising a performance version of a sedan known mostly for its value and grocery capacity.
In doing so, Nissan implies that a hotter NISMO version is around the corner, while closing the casket lid on the IDx concept once and for all.
After Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said they would have to reassess whether their GT-R LM program was fruitful, the company announced Friday it was pulling the car out of competition.
“We know people will be disappointed, but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us,” said Shoichi Miyatani, president of NISMO.
The car had struggled in competition this year with one car finishing at Le Mans well behind the leaders, one disqualification and one DNF at the famed race in France.
After a less than stellar result for Nissan at the 24 Hours of LeMans this year, Carlos Ghosn has stated the program — at least in its current form — is under review.
Nissan may consider building a NISMO variant of its Maxima sedan based on sales of its SR model, The Detroit Bureau is reporting.
Initial sales of the Maxima have been relatively strong so far, and Nissan said it expects 20 percent to 25 percent of its sales to be of the sportier SR model.
A performance version of the Maxima would be welcome news considering the model was nearly killed off four years ago.