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Geneva show: Nissan's thrifty, supercharged Micra

DIG it: Nissan’s supercharged three-cylinder Micra DIG-S takes the fight up to mini diesels on emissions, economy and performance.

Supercharged petrol-powered Nissan Micra DIG-S to give diesel rivals a scare

22 Feb 2011

NISSAN is set to reveal a supercharged three-cylinder petrol Micra with diesel-like fuel efficiency.

The company, which will present the vehicle at the Geneva motor show on March 1, claims the Micra DIG-S (Direct Injection Gasoline-Supercharger) emits just 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre – superior to class-leading diesels such as the Ford Fiesta Econetic (98g/km) and Volvo C30 DRIVe (99g/km) but short of Toyota petrol-electric hybrid Prius (89g/km).

The car is scheduled to go into production this year for a mid-year European launch, but Nissan Australia says the new variant has not yet been confirmed for this market.

The Micra DIG-S will be offered in both manual and CVT automatic forms, with the latter emitting 115g/km of CO2 on the official European test cycle.

Idle-stop engine management helps to keep fuel consumption to 4.1 litres per 100km, which, while laudable, falls short of the Fiesta Econetic’s 3.7L/100km and Prius’s 3.9L/100km on the combined cycle.

The 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine also produces 72kW of power and 142Nm of torque, which outstrips three-cylinder rivals such as the Suzuki Alto (50kW/90Nm) and the upcoming Kia Picanto (51kW/63Nm).

Nissan International vice president, product strategy and planning Pierre Loing said a highly efficient petrol engine was superior to the more common low-emission diesel powerplants for the European market.

"We have been able to achieve this ultra low CO2 figure in a cost effective package and without the complication of particulate filters needed to clean up diesel engine emissions and which are not entirely compatible with a car that spends much of its life in the city," he said.

The current Micra was released in Australia last December, offering a choice of two engines, a naturally-aspirated 1.2-litre three-cylinder – the base engine for the DIG-S powerplant – or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder, with pricing that put it right in the middle of the hotly-contested light-car market against rivals such as the Alto and Holden Barina Spark.

The standard three-cylinder Micra emits 138g/km of CO2 and consumes 5.9L/100km of petrol on the combined cycle.

However, unlike the all-electric Leaf, which is set for a local release in 2012, Nissan has no plans to bring the Micra DIG-S to Australia at this stage.

Head of corporate communications Jeff Fisher told GoAuto: “They haven’t said that it will be offered to us in this market, but if they do, we will have a look at it.”

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