The compact EV may finally get a Nismo version, but don’t get excited yet!

The Nissan Leaf has been around since 2010, and it’s already one of the most popular all-electric vehicles on the road. The Japanese compact has been declared the best-selling EV in both 2013 and 2014 and sales have already surpassed 250,000 units as of 2017. On top of that, it has won numerous awards globally. Come 2017, and Nissan has launched the second-generation Leaf, a significantly improved vehicle that’s not only more appealing to look at, but also a better competitor to brand-new EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3. And it seems that the second-gen Leaf may finally spawn a Nismo version. Or at least this is what the Leaf Nismo Concept that was built for the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show suggests.

Although it hasn’t been confirmed for production, the Leaf Nismo Concept seems ready to hit the assembly line, as every new feature it received is inspired by previous Nismo cars. As usual, it has a sportier exterior, while the interior is highlighted by contrast stitching and the Nismo-specific red trim. The drivetrain has also been upgraded with a new, sporty suspension and revised ECU. On the other hand, both the electric motor and the battery are as standard as they get, which raises some concern as to whether or not the production version of the Leaf Nismo will be an authentic Nismo vehicle or just an annoying visual package. But, let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept.

Exterior

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept High Resolution Exterior
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One quick look at this concept is enough to notice that this EV received the full Nismo treatment

One quick look at this concept is enough to notice that this EV received the full Nismo treatment. Sure, it still has the standard headlamps, hood, and clear blue 3D mesh pattern that looks as if crystals were frozen behind a transparent plastic lens instead of a traditional grille, but everything below is decidedly sportier.

The daytime running lights sit higher in the fascia, are thinner, and feature LED technology. They’re embedded into black covers with honeycomb patterns, which in turn are integrated into the deeply sculpted creases that mimic large intakes seen on gasoline-powered sports cars. The apron was also redesigned and now includes an aggressive splitter painted in red, the norm for Nismo-made vehicles. The hood also has a black center section, which adds to the sportiness of the car.

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Nissan Leaf High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Nissan Leaf Nismo 2018 Nissan Leaf

More Nismo goodness can be spotted onto the sides, starting with the red accents on the mirror caps and the side skirts. The roof and the A-pillars are now finished in black, while the rather mundane, standard wheels were replaced by Nismo-branded rims with a more exciting design. The lowered ride height rounds off the profile of this all-electric hot-hatch.

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The rear section also sports a number of Nismo-specific features, starting with the aerodynamically enhanced roof spoiler

The rear section also sports a number of Nismo-specific features, starting with the aerodynamically enhanced roof spoiler. The fascia is actually identical to that of the standard model, but the bumper was revised for a more aggressive look. The old diffuser-like element was replaced by a proper, racing inspired diffuser. The unit is split into two pieces, each with two large fins, while a red stop light sits in the center just like on Formula One cars. Naturally, the diffuser is highlighted by red stripes.

Nissan claims that all these changes are more than a way to make the Leaf seem hotter. The new body elements also enhance aerodynamic performance and reduce lift. And there results were obtained without sacrificing the hatchback’s excellent drag coefficient.

Interior

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept High Resolution Interior
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Bright red accents borrowed from other Nismo cars can be seen on the A/C bezels and the steering wheel

Nissan didn’t have much to say about the interior, but the two photos speak for themselves. The first thing that catches the eye is that Nismo went with an almost all-black layout. This is typical for performance-oriented vehicles and it’s not particularly exciting, but at least there are a few red details that brighten up the place a bit.

These bright accents are borrowed from other Nismo cars and can be found on the A/C bezels and as a stripe at the 12 o’clock position of the steering wheel. The latter also has a flat bottom, but you shouldn’t get excited because this is an option on the production Leaf as well. The start button is also red instead of the standard blue.

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept High Resolution Interior
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2018 Nissan Leaf Interior Drivetrain
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Nissan Leaf Nismo 2018 Nissan Leaf

Other features that set the concept apart from the production model are the sport seats with heavy bolstering and red and white stitching on the sides and seating surfaces, and more contrast stitching on the door panels. Far from spectacular for a concept car, but the Leaf Nismo is more of a production model rather than a show-off product.

Drivetrain

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The concept features a sport-tuned suspension, high-performance tires and a "custom-tuned computer"

Drivetrain details are rather scant, but Nissan says that the concept features a sport-tuned suspension, high-performance tires and a "custom-tuned computer that delivers instant acceleration at all speeds." There’s no specific data as to how all of the above influence the Leaf’s performance, but it’s safe to assume that it won’t break any records on the Nurburgring (unlike its GT-R Nismo sibling). The package could shave a tenth of two of the standard model’s sprint time, but since we don’t have any official ratings for the production Leaf yet, it’s impossible to estimate.

As a reminder, the recently launched Leaf uses a 40-kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric motor rated at 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The range is estimated at up to 150 miles on a single charge. With that in mind, I think it’s a bit disappointing that the concept car didn’t get the usual output increase that comes with almost all Nismo upgrades. On the other hand, this could change with the production model, given Nissan will make one.

Conclusion

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Despite the "concept" tag, the Leaf Nismo is actually a production-ready show car. Those exterior add-ons aren’t something Nissan couldn’t throw on a production line, while the interior is just a slightly fancied-up version of the standard car. The drivetrain upgrades are also very doable, so this is basically a very realistic preview of a Leaf Nismo we could find in dealerships in a short while. Granted, Nissan didn’t confirm such a scenario, but it did not deny it either, so everything is possible at this point. My only complaint about this concept car is that it doesn’t have a more powerful electric motor and a higher capacity battery. In many ways, it’s very similar to the Nissan Sentra Nismo, which is identical to the range-topping production Sentra under the hood, with the Nismo package being mostly a visual upgrade. The production Leaf Nismo could be of the same variety, but I’m hoping Nissan will come to its senses and offer a higher-performance version. The thing is, the Japanese firm actually needs one since the Leaf is inferior to both the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3 in terms of range and performance.

  • Leave it
    • No notable drivetrain upgrades
    • Needs a more powerful electric motor

References

Nissan Leaf

2018 Nissan Leaf High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Leaf.

2016 Nissan Leaf High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the previous generation Nissan Leaf.

Press release

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. will show a number of exciting concept cars and production vehicles at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, giving customers a glimpse of the company’s newest and future innovations.

A new concept model that embodies the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility will be among the highlights of the vehicles on display. The Nissan LEAF NISMO Concept car, the performance-oriented Serena NISMO and an updated Skyline will also debut at the show. In all, Nissan plans to display 13 vehicles.

The 45th Tokyo Motor Show, held at Tokyo Big Sight, is open to the public from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5. Press days are Oct. 25-26. The Nissan booth, in East Hall 5, will feature a “spiral” design theme symbolizing the company’s past, present and future commitment to making exciting products. It will showcase the values Nissan strives to offer, including the company’s latest electric vehicles. A simulator will let visitors experience the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

The following is an overview of some of the main display models:

LEAF NISMO Concept: Nissan’s flagship electric car meets NISMO’s driving excitement

Launched in September, the new Nissan LEAF comes with the latest iteration of Nissan’s ProPILOT single-lane autonomous driving technology. It also includes ProPILOT Park, the first technology in a Japanese-made vehicle to help drivers park by automatically controlling the accelerator, brakes, steering, shift changing and parking brake. Another feature of the new LEAF is e-Pedal, which lets the driver start, accelerate, decelerate, stop and hold the car by using only the accelerator pedal.

The NISMO Concept version of the new LEAF has a sporty new exterior designed by NISMO, Nissan’s motorsports and in-house tuning division. The application of NISMO racing technology to the car’s body results in enhanced aerodynamic performance and less lift, without sacrificing the LEAF’s excellent drag coefficient. The black interior features NISMO’s signature red accents, creating an exciting, high-performance feel.

On the road, the LEAF NISMO Concept offers a truly exciting drive. This is thanks to a sport-tuned suspension and high-performance tires, not to mention a custom-tuned computer that delivers instant acceleration at all speeds. The LEAF NISMO Concept combines the environmentally friendly character of an electric car with the exciting driving experience that’s always been a hallmark of the NISMO brand.

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