Only in Japan, but we will get something even better

Since the introduction of the first Nissan Leaf, the automotive world has been quite eager to see what the Nissan performance division Nismo can do with the electric hatch. The race-ready Nismo Leaf RC was the first one to appear, but it was just too radical. Then, over the years, Nissan played around with some pseudo spirited versions never giving us a true Nismo Leaf. All that until October 25, 2017, when the Japanese company showcased the Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept.

Fast forward to today.

Nine months of the gestation period gave birth to a Leaf Nismo only available in Japan and wearing much the same attire as the concept version. Yet, I am far more interested in what Nismo did to that 147 horsepower drivetrain.

Is It Quicker?

Considering that the regular Nissan Leaf with a 147 horsepower engine can accelerate to 62 mph in about 8 seconds, one can only hope that Nismo somehow managed to slash a second or so.

Information is still rather sparse, but from a few sources I picked up on the Internet, I’m fairly positive that the 147-horsepower electric motor remained much the same as before. Yet, the short press release Nissan gave about the Leaf Nismo showcases some programming trickery. The only sentence about the performance was that a “custom tuning computer for more responsive acceleration”, was added.

The video I am embedding here also mentions “stronger acceleration”.
Considering that the regular Nissan Leaf with a 147 horsepower engine can accelerate to 62 mph in about 8 seconds, one can only hope that Nismo somehow managed to slash a second or so.

Is It More Dynamic?

The Nissan Leaf Nismo Has Been Unveiled, But It May Leave You Disappointed Exterior
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The main differences compared with the standard Nissan Leaf include new Continental ContiSportContact tires on 18-inch wheels

The main differences compared with the standard Nissan Leaf include new Continental ContiSportContact tires on 18-inch wheels. The stickier tires complement “custom” suspension modifications. Unfortunately, Nissan did not comment on the particulars of the custom suspension setup, but we do know it sharpened up the electric power steering and adapted the cornering stabilization system called that’s known as Intelligent Trace Control.

If I were to speculate, I’d put my money on stiffer dampers which, with other supple improvements, made the Leaf Nismo a bit more awake and reactive to the driver’s input. Something the Leaf most certainly needs if it will wear the Nismo badge.

How Does It Look?

The Nissan Leaf Nismo Has Been Unveiled, But It May Leave You Disappointed Exterior
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The Nismo Leaf gets a custom front grille, a more dynamic front bumper, Nismo skirts at the sides, and a rear with prominent diffusers

Making slow headway into the group of spirited, entertaining cars, the Nissan Leaf Nismo gained a number of body additions differentiating it from the sensible family hauler it is based on. Zero Emission and all that eco stuff remained untouched. They are still there, now packed behind a custom front grille, a more dynamic front bumper, Nismo skirts at the sides, and a rear with prominent diffusers. Honestly, it does not look like overkill in the styling department. The Nissan Leaf Nismo seems to be sensibly improved over the stock car only slightly hinting at its elevated dynamic proficiency. Yet, watching the video, I found it to be a bit narrow and too tall. Still, it cannot hide its urge to appease its driver or the passengers inside.

The Nissan Leaf Nismo Has Been Unveiled, But It May Leave You Disappointed Interior
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The three-spoke steering wheel with a red mark on top and red stitching remind the driver of the adventurous nature of the Nismo

Yet, all of them will know this isn’t exactly a usual Nissan Leaf. The changes on the inside may not be intricate or numerous, but the three-spoke steering wheel with a red mark on top and red stitching remind the driver of the adventurous nature of the Nismo. Many custom and unique pieces such as the carbon-looking trim on the dash, chromed elements on the electronic shifter and instrument panel, as well as red accents throughout the cabin, evoke sporty ambiance.

Additionally, differentiating the Leaf Nismo from its less adventurous brothers is a special Brilliant Silver and Super Black two-tone paint job or a Dark Metal Grey and Super Black finish. Apart from these, the best selling electric car can be had in 11 different hues.

The Long-Range Nissan Leaf E-Plus Will Hit The Market With More Power

The Nissan Leaf Nismo Has Been Unveiled, But It May Leave You Disappointed Exterior
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The recently announced Nissan Leaf Nismo will go on sale only in Japan

I cannot wrap my head around the fact that Nismo actually created an upbeat Leaf without actually waiting for the introduction of the Nissan Leaf E-Plus which will come with bigger batteries and with more power. Rumour has it that the new Leaf E-Plus will have a 200+ horsepower motor, a 60 kWh battery (instead of 40 kWh in the new one) and a range of 225 miles. Brian Maragno, Nissan Director of EV Marketing and Sales actually commented on it while reporting to Autoguide: “When you have a bigger battery with more capacity, it just opens up the door to be able to have more output,” he said. “A larger capacity battery lends itself towards two things. One is obvious: more range. The other one, which is maybe a little less obvious, but equally as true, is additional horsepower and output.”

Now, this car would be a perfect fit for the Nismo trick-and-treat. And it maybe will be just that as the recently announced Nissan Leaf Nismo will go on sale only in Japan. The E-Plus, destined for the U.S. and Europe, should receive a fast charging option too. Some prototypes have allegedly been spotted recharging at fast charger points.

References

The Nissan Leaf Nismo Has Been Unveiled, But It May Leave You Disappointed Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Nissan Leaf Nismo.

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept
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Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept.

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

2011 Nissan LEAF NISMO RC Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2011 Nissan LEAF NISMO RC Concept.

2012 Nissan Leaf Nismo High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2011 Nissan Leaf Nismo.

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Read more Nissan news.

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