- The Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept debuted at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, hinting that Nissan's performance arm may get a pint-sized addition.
- Nissan estimates that the Sentra Nismo Concept's engine puts out more than 240 horsepower.
- Other modifications include a revved-up exterior treatment and upgraded suspension and brakes.
The rollout of the Sentra Nismo Concept was described by Nissan as "teasing the future."
When most enthusiasts think of the Nismo brand, what usually comes to mind is a host of modified sports cars, tuner cars and all-out racers, especially the Nissan GT-R Nismo. But Nissan says that as its factory performance line grows, it plans to include some other models. Enter the Sentra Nismo Concept.
"Fans have asked that we bring back a high-performance Sentra straight from the factory, just like in generations past," said Pierre Loing, Nissan vice president of product planning, in a statement.
But he added: "The Nismo name is not to be taken lightly. Neither are vehicles that wear the Nismo badge."
The Sentra Nismo Concept appears to hew to the Nismo formula.
Although the exterior of the car received some of the expected Nismo touches, the aero features have not been overdone. There's a deeper front fascia with added LED lights, a wider lower grille and wider lower front spoiler.
Oversized fender flares accent the flanks, along with side sills that flow into deeper rear fascia trim highlighted by large dual exhaust tips. The rear of the vehicle is dressed up with a custom spoiler and center rear foglamp that Nissan says mimic the design of the rear diffuser on the 370Z.
Smoked lights, discreet striping, red accents and Nismo badges complement the Bright Pearl White custom paint treatment. A diagonal carbon fiber pattern has been applied to exterior mirrors, front splitter and rear diffuser, while the distinctive black chrome-finished mesh grille is surrounded by dark chrome.
Inside, the understated yet aggressive styling of the Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept continues with black leather Recaro front seats trimmed in Alcantara and rear seats of perforated black Alcantara. There's also a Nismo-style leather-wrapped steering wheel, with red leather trim and matching shift knob and boot. The instrument panel is finished in carbon fiber with dark chrome accents, and the start button and tach are trimmed with red Nismo rings.
As interesting as the styling may be, go-fast enthusiasts will want to get to the heart of the beast. And more than looks, what make the Nismo Concept stand out from a standard 2014 Nissan Sentra are the performance enhancements.
While the stock Sentra is powered by a respectable 1.8-liter, 130-horsepower DOHC inline four-cylinder engine, the Sentra Nismo Concept wears the same turbocharged, intercooled, direct-injected 1.8-liter DOHC inline-4 that drives the Juke Nismo RS. In this application, Nissan estimates that it puts out "more than" 240 hp.
The upgraded engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential, while the standard suspension has been treated to Nismo performance shocks and springs. Putting the power to the road are 19-inch Rays aluminum wheels and Michelin Super Sport tires. Stopping power is enhanced with red-painted Brembo brake calipers from the 370Z.
Since 1984, the Nismo name — an abbreviation of Nissan Motorsport International Limited — has been applied to a number of memorable street and racing machines and other products. Like BMW's M division and AMG-Mercedes, Nismo's mission is to provide a high-visibility performance outlet for the company. Nissan has used the Nismo brand on complete cars, tuning kits, individual components, apparel and accessories.
Nismo racecars have competed in all forms of competition, from Le Mans to GT series worldwide to off-road endurance contests, including the grueling Dakar rally. And vehicles like the 2014 Juke Nismo RS, the 2014 370Z Nismo, and the fire-breathing 2015 GT-R Nismo continue to make a statement for Nissan in the worldwide performance arena.
Edmunds says: Although "Sentra" may not often be used in the same sentence as "high-performance," the Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept appears to have the goods.