Nissan Nismo boom

10 Aug, 2012 2:57pm Jack Rix

Nissan confirms string of new Nismo performance models - and extreme RS versions are planned, too

Nissan is planning a wave of new models from its Nismo performance arm, including a range of extreme RS versions, Auto Express has learned.

First to arrive will be the UK-built Juke Nismo early next year. But that’s only the beginning according to Nissan’s executive vice president, product planning, Andy Palmer.

“Try to think of the Nismo brand as an affordable alternative to Mercedes’ AMG division,” Palmer exclusively told us. “Normal Nismo versions will get a power hike of around 15 per cent, but the focus will be more on distinctive styling with the red highlights. We’ll also tune the suspension and steering, so customers can get more out of the power they have.”

The Juke Nismo follows this formula with its striking bodykit, 18-inch wheels and red wing mirrors. Power has yet to be confirmed, but going by Palmer’s tip-off, we can expect the 187bhp 1.6 DiG-T engine to be tuned to around 215bhp.

Next in line for the Nismo treatment is the electric Leaf – which Palmer confirmed would make production. The Leaf Nismo Concept, seen at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, previewed how that car could look, using blue instead of red accents. Expect the production version to offer around 125bhp and 320Nm of torque.

Also due in late 2013 are hot Nismo versions of the 370Z – which is already sold in the US – and GT-R.

A range of Nismo RS models will be aimed at those who crave even more extreme performance. “The RS cars will be much more track-focused. You’ve seen the Juke R, so maybe that would be a good place to start,” Palmer said.

While Nissan will offer a very limited number of GT-R-powered Juke Rs for a six-figure sum, a mainstream Juke Nismo RS is more likely to be lighter and get a highly tuned 1.6-litre turbo with 270bhp. This should ensure sports car-rivalling performance.

Palmer also hinted that the GT-R and 370Z would get the RS treatment, but we’d have to wait until the next-generation 370Z appears in 2014 for that.