Updated 10.11.14 With 35 Photos and Altima NISMO Renderings
We love the NISMO strategy at Nissan. The sporty overhaul of conventional models has always been a secret weapon of the German premium brands, and Nissan appears to be taking this niche strategy to the broader market via the $21,000 Juke NISMO and hopefully this Sentra NISMO in the future.
A 2016 Maxima NISMO has been teased and is virtually a sure thing when the hot future Maxima debuts this winter at one of the big auto shows.
But let's step back a moment and think closely about the potential for a Sentra NISMO in production.
This show car is promised to have at least 240 horsepower, which is a jump of 25 versus the hottest NISMO RS Juke. But the shared steering wheel and much of the cabin points to an easy sharing solution across the Sentra and Juke lines.
Inevitably, price is the concern. With the Sentra priced from $16,000 to $20,000 before options, there is barely a sliver of headroom for the $5,000 or so NISMO upgrade. Anything above about $24,000 would doom the car to very, very low volumes. $24,000 simply gets too close to cars like the base Mustang and Focus ST. Even the charming and fun Fiesta ST causes some concern as options bump its price to this level.
Nissan would really, really have to want the brand lift a NISMO model would bring to the Sentra to justify such slim margins for the big effort to make it.
In addition, the NISMO cars so far have been fitted and upgraded at NISMO HQ in Japan. Shipping the Sentra from NAFTA region to Japan for upgrades, then back to the US would be prohibitively expensive.
Where does all this thinking lead: Despite how cool the Sentra is at capitalizing on the resurging Sport Compact or Hot Hatch trends, there is another member of the Nissan family that would benefit even more.
We're talking Altima now. Nissan's best-selling car in the history of the company could easily absorb some of the upgrade costs for a NISMO version.
The Altima currently comes in seven trim levels, and has all the ingredients in place already. No new engine needed, either, like the Sentra NISMO would require.
Just pop a limited-slip diff and six-speed manual into the big 3.5-liter V6, upgrade the exterior and cabin, add grip and stance via new springs: and *poof*
You have a hot-selling Altima NISMO. The Altima is seriously, seriously boring these days -- so an upgrade like this cannot come a moment too soon.
2014 Nissan Altima NISMO Renderings
Nissan brought all the big guns to the auto shows in LA and Tokyo in 2014, with no less than ten stunning debuts. From the BladeGlider - a light-weight DeltaWing EV sports car - to the 2015 GT-R, the news is coming faster than one man can type it up!
One interesting tidbit to start with is the Nissan Sentra NISMO concept. First off, the car looks outstanding. It has a deep drop in ride height, totally reworked grilles, and a red-accented lower air splitter like the best NISMO race cars.
The Juke NISMO RS also bowed this week, promising a one-two punch for affordable sports car shoppers.
Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept
Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept Teases Further Expansion of Performance Line
– 240+ Horsepower Performance Study Takes Sentra to the Next Level –
DETROIT - As Nissan expands its NISMO line of factory performance models, it is revisiting the small car performance genre and teasing the future with the dramatic Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept.
The Sentra NISMO Concept is built on the solid foundation of the latest generation Nissan Sentra, which offers an outstanding balance of premium style, innovative technology and fuel-efficient performance. The concept injects increased performance and design tuner elements into the mix. Among the Sentra NISMO Concept's many departures from a production 2014 Sentra are its race-inspired exterior with enhanced aerodynamic performance, NISMO-tuned suspension, steering and transmission and engaging motorsports-style cockpit. And under the hood, the concept adapts a 1.8-liter direct injection turbocharged engine producing more than 240 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
"Fans have asked that we bring back a high-performance Sentra straight from the factory, just like in generations past," said Nissan Vice President of Product Planning, Pierre Loing. "With NISMO, our in-house motorsports arm, already producing versions of the 370Z NISMO, JUKE NISMO, JUKE NISMO RS and upcoming GT-R NISMO, we wanted to demonstrate where we could go in the future."
A Powerful Presence
The look of the Sentra NISMO Concept, like previous Nissan performance sedans, is somewhat understated – more sophisticated and confident than "in-your-face" boy racer. Exterior modifications, designed to enhance Sentra's already good aerodynamics, start with a deep front fascia with lower LED lights and wide lower grille that match the stock Sentra's standard LED daytime running rights and upper grille.
The aerodynamic look continues with a wide lower front spoiler and along the sides of the vehicle with the oversized fender flares and integrated side sills flowing into a deep-skirted rear fascia accentuated by large dual exhaust tips. A custom rear spoiler and center rear fog lamp, which echoes the design of the 370Z's rear diffuser, complete the look. All lights on the vehicle feature a smoked look.
A thin, signature NISMO red accents accentuate the areas where aerodynamics have been emphasized such as the lower spoiler, while more discreet striping is found on the side mirrors and side sills. NISMO badges – with signature matching red "O" – are located front and rear.
The body is painted in a custom Bright Pearl White with a unique reflective roof panel. The aerodynamic side door mirror covers, front splitter and rear diffuser are finished in a high-gloss, genuine carbon fiber diagonal pattern. The special Black Chrome-finished mesh grille is surrounded by Dark Chrome, adding to the Sentra NISMO Concept's imposing presence.
"The exterior treatment takes Sentra's mature, premium presence and infuses it with an added dimension of excitement and dynamic energy," said Loing. "Still easily identified as a Sentra, it evokes a strong sense of the power that lurks just below the surface."
While production 2014 Sentras combine responsive acceleration with excellent fuel efficiency from a 130-horsepower 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine, the Sentra NISMO Concept borrows technology from the new JUKE NISMO RS's DOHC 16-valve, turbocharged, intercooled, sequential Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) equipped 4-cylinder, enlarged to 1.8 liters for this application. The NISMO-tuned engine produces an estimated 240-plus horsepower and more than 240 lb-ft of torque – enough to show its taillights to ordinary sedans.
The engine is matched with a beefy 6-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential to help make sure that the power is directed firmly to the road surface. The stock Sentra's independent strut front and torsion beam rear suspension receive the NISMO tuning treatment, complete with custom performance shocks and springs.
Wide 19-inch RAYS aluminum-alloy wheels mounted with 225/35R19 Michelin Super Sport performance tires and red-painted 370Z brake calipers complete the package.
A true performance sports sedan demands an equally engaging cockpit. The Sentra NISMO Concept interior features an array of NISMO-inspired upgrades, including Recaro "Sportster" front seats with custom black leather and Alcantara® appointments. The rear seats are treated to a mix of perforated black Alcantara® in a similar pattern to the front seats. Alcantara® is also used for the pillars and headliner.
The racing-inspired interior continues with a NISMO-style leather/Alcantara®-wrapped steering wheel with red leather at the 12 o'clock position, along with matching shift knob and shifter lever boot surround. The instrument cluster features a satin carbon fiber finish and all chrome accents are treated to a Dark Chrome finish. Both the start button and tachometer include iconic NISMO anodized red rings.
The Ultimate Essence
"NISMO is the ultimate essence of Nissan's 'Innovation and Excitement' as a performance and personalization brand. With its highly credible motorsport heritage and passionate attitude in pursuing victories and continuous performance improvement, the NISMO name is not to be taken lightly," said Loing. "Neither are vehicles that wear the NISMO badge. For those who love their sports sedans with a little adrenaline, a Nissan NISMO product should be on their shopping list."
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 236,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16 billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.