For the last few years Nissan has been relatively quiet at the LA Auto Show. Not to be harsh but since the American debut of the GT-R they haven’t brought to many exciting things to LA (with the exception of the awesome “food truck” NV200s!), so this year they were definitely due for something spectacular and they totally delivered.
This year Nissan pretty much let NISMO almost entirely take over their exhibit. Sure the obligatory model line upgrades made their appearances. The 2014 Nissan GT-R showed up as well as the leaf and others. However, front and center were not one but three NISMO badged bad-ass vehicles.
First up was the North American debut of the Nissan GT-R NISMO which had the curtain pulled off it by none other than track (as in running) superstar and Nissan’s “Global Director of Excitement”, Usain Bolt! After Bolt pulled the curtain off the car and the media scrum cleared I got in close to appreciate the GT-R NISMO for myself and let me tell you: its damned awesome. Now, I understand that its aggressive looks may not be for everyone. There are a heck of a lot of extra fins, overhangs, and ducts than one might find on a “normal” GT-R but they are all there for a purpose: to make this thing flarking fast!
The GT-R NISMO is definitely one of those cars that looks quick even while sitting still. While the basic body shape remains the same if you look closely you can see small details made in the cars major body panels. For example upon closer inspection of the rear on lookers will notice that the lines from the quarter panels and trunk “extend” past the taillights. There is also a full treatment of carbon fiber on all sides (front splitter, side skrits, rear diffuser) including a carbon fiber rear wing that does the job but isn’t too gaudy.
While Los Angeles was lucky enough to be the site of the North American debut of the GT-R NISMO no further information beyond what was stated at the Tokyo Auto Salon was given. That means we still don’t have a solid North American release date, MSRP, or production numbers for the newest Godzilla. That’s a shame but Nissan made up for it by showing off an additional two NISMO cars!
The first of which totally came out of left field and surprised everyone: a Sentra NISMO concept! NISMO took the new Sentra, which already looks pretty good and then made it awesome with a reworked front bumper that has an integrated carbon fiber splitter, a carbon fiber roof, and rear diffuser.
They (NISMO) then really took things a step further by turbo charging the Sentra’s 1.8 liter engine to the tune of 240hp, bolted on a NISMO suspension package, and added a limited slip differential! The interior also got the full NISMO treatment with Recaro seats and alcantara everywhere.
Nissan insists that the Sentra NISMO is just a concept and “design” study but it would be one hell of a cruel joke if they showed this off to the world without the intention to build at least some version of this in the future. It may be a bit of a stretch to hope for all the exterior mods to translate to production but I am sure all the Nissan fans have their fingers crossed that the turbocharged engine will make its way into production Sentra’s sometime soon.
Nissan then decided just for fun that they would update the Juke NISMO R by debuting the new Juke NISMO RS. The Juke NISMO RS gets a power and torque bump from the R bringing the total to 215hp and 210lb-ft of torque. The RS also gets bigger brakes, a stiffer chassis, a new manual transmission, and a NISMO interior including Recaro seats up front. According to Nissan the Juke NISMO RS will hit American dealerships in “early 2014”
There you have it. Nissan really killed it this year at LA. I would have to say of all the booths I visited I had the most excitement from Nissan since they are doing so many new things that are aimed at enthusiasts. If they weren’t before, Nissan’s competition are definitely taking a hard look now! For pictures just click on any of the thumbnails in this post. If you want to watch Nissan’s LA press conference for yourself just scroll down for the video!