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New Nissan Ariya Nismo flaunts sportier styling and possible powertrain upgrades

The all-electric Nissan Ariya SUV will get a performance Nismo overhaul to rival the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

Nissan looks to be working on a high-spec overhaul of its premier all-electric SUV, likely to be called the Nissan Ariya Nismo. Coming only just after an upgrade of the standard car, this new model is expected to go further than the current 388bhp Nissan Ariya flagship, creating a key rival to hot midsize EV models like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, Kia EV6 GT and even the Tesla Model Y Performance

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Nismo, or Nissan Motorsport, is the Japanese brand’s high performance sub-brand, well known for hotting up GT-Rs and Z sports cars. But, there is a history of Nismo getting involved with less typical models, with the city-sized Juke, Note and even Patrol off-roader all having previously been given the Nismo treatment. 

As seen on this prototype spotted lapping the Nurburgring, this Ariya certainly has lots of Nismo-esque features to identify it, with new bumpers front and rear that sit above much more aggressive splitter and diffuser-like elements. The sills are also much more aggressive, and if you look closely, we can see indentations that will house the red trim elements that are typical of all modern Nismo products. 

As well as the lower bumpers, Nissan’s also fitted a larger high-mounted rear wing and a new tailgate-mounted lip spoiler. The 20-inch wheels are the same diameter as the largest currently available on an Ariya, but come with a new design and are wrapped in a set of Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres, high-performance rubber specifically designed for fast EVs. 

What we don’t yet know about are the possible upgrades lurking underneath the skin. Nismo models generally have a bespoke suspension and chassis setup, which we suspect will focus on improving road-holding and handling in the Ariya’s case, but Nismo doesn’t have an extensive history with all-electric models. There is a Nismo Leaf available in Japan, but the upgrades are limited to a different calibration of the standard car’s e-motor and a slightly larger battery pack. 

Nissan hasn’t given any indication of timing or availability for its flagship Ariya, but the fact this model is undergoing calibration testing on European roads does suggest that, unlike some of the more eccentric Nismo models, it has a good chance of making its way into local showrooms. However, with the existing top-spec Ariya already nudging £60,000 in the UK, a Nismo version is unlikely to come cheap.

Now read our review of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N prototype...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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