New Nissan Ariya Nismo unleashed: award-winning family SUV gone wild

Our 2022 Car of the Year has received chassis tuning from Nismo, a big power boost and a soundtrack inspired by Formula E

Nissan’s legendary Nismo motorsport division and performance sub-brand has been producing faster, more focused versions of the GT-R and Z sports cars since the late eighties. But now, it’s been let loose on the Nissan Ariya all-electric family SUV – our 2022 Car of the Year – in an effort to create Japan’s response to the Kia EV6 GT and Volkswagen ID.4 GTX.  

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.

It has also 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.

The Ariya Nismo will go on sale in Japan this spring, however no decision has been made yet on whether it will launch in other markets. We don’t expect Nissan will take much convincing to bring it to Europe, considering the wealth of souped-up electric SUVs already on offer here. 

The Nissan Ariya Nismo will be fighting for the spotlight at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon, as Hyundai has brought along an extreme version of its own all-electric family car called the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N NPX1. Meanwhile, the new Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch has made its debut at the show.

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

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.

Recommended

Car Deal of the Day: Nissan Ariya award-winning, 330-mile EV for £274 a month
Nissan Ariya - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: Nissan Ariya award-winning, 330-mile EV for £274 a month

Our 2022 Car of the Year and Car Deal of the Day for 31 January, the Nissan Ariya is a multi-talented all-electric SUV
31 Jan 2024
Best electric cars to buy 2024
Best electric cars - header image
Best cars & vans

Best electric cars to buy 2024

With more and more electric cars coming to market, these are the models that should be on your shortlist if you’re looking to switch…
23 Jan 2024
Top 10 best electric SUVs to buy 2024
Best electric SUVs - header image
Best cars & vans

Top 10 best electric SUVs to buy 2024

The electric SUV market is expanding rapidly, so we’re here to help you pick the best ones to buy…
22 Jan 2024
Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept revealed at Tokyo Auto Salon
Lexus LBX Morizo RR concept - front tracking
News

Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept revealed at Tokyo Auto Salon

New Lexus LBX crossover inherits uprated GR Yaris powertrain for a one-off concept
12 Jan 2024

Most Popular

New MG3 hopes to disrupt the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa’s supermini dominance
MG3 on Geneva Motor Show stand - front
News

New MG3 hopes to disrupt the Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa’s supermini dominance

New MG3 features the company’s first full-hybrid powertrain; pricing to be announced in March
26 Feb 2024
New Renault 5 leaked: pictures surface online ahead of Monday's Geneva Motor Show reveal
renault 5 teaser
News

New Renault 5 leaked: pictures surface online ahead of Monday's Geneva Motor Show reveal

The long-awaited all-electric reboot of the iconic Renault 5 will be fully unveiled on 26 February 2024
24 Feb 2024
'Cheap SUVs are where the smart money's going in today's car market'
Opinion - Volkswagen T-Roc
Opinion

'Cheap SUVs are where the smart money's going in today's car market'

Mike Rutherford thinks sensibly priced SUVs are the natural successor to less spacious family hatchbacks
25 Feb 2024