Is this a sign that we’re going to see a resurgence of the Japanese sports car?
The best part about BMW and Mercedes’ in-house tuners is that they don’t seem to discriminate about which models they tune. Each seems to take every model available under their respective brands and add enough horsepower to cream a handful of supercars. Unlike AMG and M, Nissan’s NISMO has only gotten its hands on the GT-R, 370Z, and the Juke to produce a few lust worthy performance cars, but now it adds the Sentra to the lineup for enthusiasts saddled with sedan responsibilities.
Unfortunately for those hoping for a four-door rocket ready to leave supercars with their tails between their legs, the Sentra NISMO will be having its turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four engine transplanted from the Juke NISMO (and not the Juke NISMO RS) where it will make the same 188 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. That power will make it to the front wheels after being distilled through either a six-speed manual or Nissan’s Xtronic transmission, which is just a clever way to cover up the fact that it’s a CVT. Not wanting to leave enthusiasts stranded and helpless at the whims of a computer, Nissan’s D-mode step shift program was included to offer some degree of control.
Nissan claims that the Sentra NISMO will start under $25,000, but to justify a price that’s nearly $8,000 higher than a base Sentra, buyers get plenty of additional visual and driver-oriented goodies. Reducing lift without affecting the drag coefficient was a top priority, so Nissan engineers went with a rear spoiler and a revised rear bumper that help to drop lift by 30% while maintaining the same 0.29 Cd. Red accents cover the lower body panels and a contrasting shade of dark chrome and black is used on the door handles, trunk finisher, mirror caps, and badge. The Sentra NISMO also boasts a unique exhaust finisher, side sills, rear fascia, and spoiler.
Ten-spoke alloy wheels with an 18 inch diameter are the icing on the cake, a cake which can come shrouded in one of four colors, which include Brilliant Silver, Gun Metallic, Super Black, and Aspen White. Inside the bolstered seats are treated to red stitching combines with red accents strewn around the car that stand out against the charcoal interior with an Alcantara steering wheel standing as the cherry on top. Fortunately, the NISMO badge doesn’t only serve to designate an upgraded looks package. Buyers expect more, so Nissan went ahead and tuned the suspension and steering, optimizing them for better cornering ability. The NISMO tuned suspension is tuned for grip, feedback, and control.
Meanwhile the electric steering assist is programmed to feed the driver’s hands information about the road and its relationship to the front wheels. Despite all of the power upgrades, the Sentra NISMO will not be the most impressive machine on the track given that its 188 horsepower is responsible for lugging around 3,037 to 3,105 pounds depending on which transmission is selected. This kind of power to weight ratio is a far cry from Honda’s Civic Type R, which could feature horsepower figures all the way in the 345 HP neighborhood. Japan may be eyeing to revamp its horsepower wars, but Nissan has a bit more work to do in order to catch up.