Nissan head of global product planning Andy Palmer told Car that a Nismo variant of the second-generation Nissan Qashqai – unveiled in standard guise early last month – would use the same turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine from the 160kW/284Nm Juke Nismo RS (pictured bottom).
Those outputs would mean a 50kW/48Nm increase over the turbo 1.6-litre unit’s 110kW/240Nm tune currently topping the Qashqai range.
“But I'm adamant that Nismo should be about more than just more power,” Palmer said.
“I want us to focus on ride and handling, making cars that aren't just faster, but also feel obviously more fun to drive.”
The future expansion of the Nismo range – currently including models based on the GT-R, 370Z, Juke and Pulsar/Sentra – is something Palmer supports, saying, “When I'm discussing Nismo internally, I like to refer to it as 'the democratisation of [Mercedes-Benz's] AMG'.
“We want to offer these fun cars, but at a price lots of customers can afford."
Speculatively slated for late 2014, the Nissan Qashqai Nismo would take its place atop the range and include styling tweaks such as a bodykit, new wheels, red highlights inside and out and a revised cabin with sporting touches. Stiffer suspension, retuned steering and additional body and chassis reinforcements would also feature in a bid to improve handling and stability.
Despite popularity and interest growing in the expanding Nismo range, Nissan Australia maintains the performance models remain “under consideration” for our market.