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New Nissan Ariya Nismo electric SUV to get ‘sports car precision’

More power and a sporty chassis tune are in store for Nissan’s family EV

Nissan has confirmed that the new Nissan Ariya Nismo will go on sale here in the UK and the brand will give Formula E fans a first look at the sporty EV this weekend at the London ePrix. 

Nismo is to Nissan what AMG is to Mercedes or the M division is to BMW. It’s not the first time Nissan’s legendary motorsport division has placed its badge on an electric car, with the Leaf Nismo hot hatch launched in Japan back in 2018. Marking Nismo’s 40th birthday, the Nissan Ariya Nismo will be the first all-electric Nismo sold in the UK and will take-on the likes of the Kia EV6 GT and Volkswagen ID.4 GTX in the fast, electric family car class.

Our 2022 Car of the Year, the Nissan Ariya is a family-friendly electric SUV, but to make it more fun behind the wheel, Nissan has added more power and tweaked the chassis set up. "Ariya Nismo strikes the perfect balance of the immediate response and acceleration of an all-electric car with the mechanical fine-tuning of a sports car, resulting in an outstanding car for day-to-day driving.” says Mayra González, Nissan Europe’s Vice President Marketing and Sales. 

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González hinted that more all-electric Nissans could wear the Nismo badge in future. “As we push forward the electrification of our lineup, it's essential that we continue to offer elite and exciting models to customers and NISMO enthusiasts as well".

Two versions of the Nissan Ariya Nismo have been created, both featuring a dual-motor setup and Nissan’s e-4ORCE four-wheel drive technology. In the entry-level ‘B6’, the two e-motors produce a combined 362bhp and 560Nm of torque – a good deal more grunt than you get in the recently updated ID.4, and the mechanically identical Skoda Enyaq vRS.

The flagship ‘B9’ variant ups the ante further, increasing the power output to 429bhp, with 600Nm of torque. Sadly, that fails to match the 527bhp and 660Nm offered by a Tesla Model Y Performance, or the EV6 GT’s 577bhp and 740Nm. And in a game of top trumps, the Ariya Nismo is humiliated by the power-mad Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, with its 641bhp and 740Nm of torque.

But Nismo hasn’t spent all its time goosing more power from the motors. Nissan says each chassis component has been specially tuned by Nismo, while the new 20-inch aluminium wheels are wrapped in a set of exclusive 255/45 R20 Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres. Combined with the four-wheel drive setup, Nissan says Nismo’s upgrades offer superior stability and turn-in ability, and have improved cornering ability at high speeds.

The performance division has also created a bespoke Nismo driving mode with special acceleration turning to maximise responsiveness, and an artificial soundtrack designed to evoke the sounds of a Formula E race car. Nissan says the Ariya’s e-4ORCE four-wheel drive system has been tuned to provide better power and torque distribution to the wheels. The brake pads have also been changed to offer more reliable stopping power. 

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Nissan’s Nismo department has worked to reduce drag and provide greater downforce at higher speeds through some new exterior elements. For instance, there’s a new front bumper with a pronounced splitter and larger air vents, while the rear gets a not-so-subtle lip spoiler on the tailgate, plus a new bumper that incorporates a diffuser and Formula 1-style rear light. 

The cherry on top of the Ariya Nismo’s aggressive new look is the spicy red accent that wraps around the car – a Nismo signature. There are lots more red accents found inside, from the dashboard and central armrest to the 12 o’clock marker on the steering wheel. Specially designed Nismo seats with suede-like upholstery also feature.

Nissan has yet to release any 0-62mph times, but the B9 should easily better the former range-topping 388bhp Ariya e-4ORCE, which takes 5.1 seconds to reach 62mph. We don’t expect the B6 variant will be far behind. 

Range figures also remain under wraps for now, but we reckon the 66kWh battery in the B6 will be good for around 250 miles of range, while the B9 should cover more than 300 miles on a single charge of its large 91kWh power pack.

What to know more about what the Ariya Nismo is going up against? Click here to read our review of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N

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News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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