LA Auto Show Spotlight: Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept

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Nissan-Nismo-Sentra-Concept-550What is it?

Nissan has been planning to expand its Nismo moniker from a few special edition sports cars to a full-blown performance lineup to rival Audi. Nismo — short for Nissan Motorsport, the Japanese automaker’s racing division – now has its own dedicated factory for these fast cars, and this Sentra will join Nismo’s 370Z and GT-R supercar down the production line. This is officially a concept, but count on it arriving next year. A Maxima Nismo will come later.

Why should you care?

While Nissan will likely tone down the carbon fiber trim and curb-scraping front spoiler on this concept, the turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder should survive when it arrives in dealerships (and we hope every last of its 240 horses does, too). The paint scheme – white with black RAYS rims, grille, mirrors, window trim and roof, plus red splashes on the lower sills and carbon fiber valences – really makes the Sentra sing. Olympic track star Usain Bolt was but a few feet away on the Nissan stand, posing for pictures next to the GT-R Nismo, but that combo wasn’t as cool as this Sentra. Inside, hip-hugging race seats and a thick steering wheel are trimmed in suede-like Alcantara. There’s a six-speed manual and a limited-slip differential, too.




What’s not to like?

Considering how well these modifications wipe off the regular Sentra’s sleepy character, there’s not much to dislike. The only thing that could pose a problem is 240 horsepower lighting up the front axle. Even with a limited-slip differential, the Nismo Sentra may prove difficult to control without some more sophisticated software on board to manage the power.

How much?

It’s not happening, at least not yet. Consider that a loaded Sentra SV stickers under $22,000, and it’s fair to guess that a Nismo model could go for $25,000. Even without all-wheel-drive, this could be a WRX competitor in no time.



Photos by the author.

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Based in Connecticut, he writes for BestRide, Car and Driver, The Boston Globe and other publications.