Will it come to North America? It needs to sell well in Japan first.
Nissan's in-house tuner, Nismo, is no longer limited to only improving the performance capabilities of sports cars like the 370Z and GT-R. It's also moving beyond outfitting crossovers like the Juke, too. Nissan has just announced that sales of its all-electric 2018 Leaf Nismo will commence on July 31 in Japan only. Nissan has not confirmed yet whether the electric hot hatch will travel beyond its home country, but our guess is that this is a wait-and-see sort of deal. But would a Leaf Nismo sell well in Europe and/or North America? Let's look at some specs.
Although the electric motor, located at the front axle, retains the same 147 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque output as the standard Leaf, Nismo engineers improved chassis performance with larger 18-inch tires, a custom suspension with shock absorbers, custom-tuned electric power steering and a system called Intelligent Trace Control, which helps improve cornering stabilization. Other custom bits include intelligent brakes, tuning computer, and ABS brakes. The exterior features typical Nismo styling cues including Nismo emblems, unique front grille and bumper, side sills, rear bumper, and fog lights.
The interior also receives some nice upgrades, among them an Alcantara-wrapped steering three-spoke steering wheel, red stitching and gun metal chrome trim, custom combination instrument gauges, red finish air conditioning controls, and a custom seat material and door trim cloth with more gray and red stitching. So, the question is whether the 2018 Nissan Leaf Nismo is more for show with all of those styling items, or does it have genuine performance and handling credibility? Hopefully those reviews from Japan will start arriving soon. Interestingly, Nissan didn't announce pricing, even in Japanese yen currency. But perhaps most importantly, we just learned that Nissan is planning an improved Leaf that'll offer longer range, called an "E-Plus" version, and greater output, supposedly 200 hp. The question we have is why didn't Nissan wait for these things for the Nismo version?