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LA show: Nismo Sentra points to hardcore Pulsar

Little beast: The Nissan Sentra Nismo packs a 180kW turbo punch.

Nissan’s hot 180kW Nismo Pulsar sedan concept emerges in La La Land

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Nissan logo22 Nov 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO

NISSAN’S rapidly expanding factory tuning arm Nismo has turned its sights to the humble US-market Sentra, otherwise known in Australia as the Pulsar sedan.

Joining the roster alongside Nismo-fettled hotties such as the Juke, 370Z and borderline-insane GT-R, the Sentra Nismo premiered in concept form this week at the Los Angeles motor show, and features some serious performance credentials.

Under the bonnet sits a 1.8-litre turbo engine tuned to produce 180kW of power and 325Nm of torque, channeling power through the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. A limited-slip differential also features.

This is a 40kW and 85Nm more than the Pulsar SSS performance model currently sold in Australia, available for now as a hatch-only for now but also due to emerge in sedan form in 2014.

The engine is a variation of the DOHC 16-valve, turbocharged, intercooled, sequential Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) equipped 1.6-litre engine used in the SSS and Juke Ti-S, enlarged to its 1.8-litre capacity.

The regular Sentra's independent strut front and torsion beam rear suspension remainsget the Nismo tuning treatment, with custom performance shocks and springs.

Wide 19-inch RAYS aluminum-alloy wheels mounted with 225/35R19 Michelin Super Sport performance tyres and red-painted 370Z brake calipers complete the package.

It is unclear at this stage if the Sentra/Pulsar Nismo will be produced for right-hand drive markets, but with Australia’s strong performance-car sales, it would be a natural fit to offer such a car. Nissan Australia has been contacted for comment.

Previously, Nissan Australia has expressed a desire to offer the growing suite of Nismo products in our market, but admits such niche vehicles must take a back seat to the market launch of mainstream volume-sellers.

Belying Nismo’s flamboyant heritage, Nissan calls the Sentra’s styling “more sophisticated and confident than ‘in-your-face’ boy racer,” with body additions including a deep front fascia with lower LED lights and a wide, lower grille.

There is also a wide lower front spoiler, oversized fender flares and integrated side sills flowing into a deep-skirted rear fascia accentuated by large dual exhaust tips. A custom rear spoiler and center rear foglight, plus smoke-effect headlights, also feature.

Signature Nismo red accents accentuate the areas where aerodynamics have been emphasized such as the lower spoiler, while more discreet striping is found on the side mirrors and side sills. Nismo badges are located front and rear.

The side door mirror covers, front splitter and rear diffuser are finished in a high-gloss, genuine carbon-fibre diagonal pattern and there is also a special black chrome-finished mesh grille.

The cabin gets an array of Nismo-inspired upgrades, including Recaro Sportster front seats with partial black leather trim. The pillars and headliner are alcantara suede. There is also a leather and alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with red leather at the 12 o'clock position, along with matching shift knob and shifter lever boot surround.

The instrument cluster features a satin carbon-fibre finish and all chrome accents are treated to a dark chrome finish. Both the start button and tachometer include iconic anodized red rings.

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