The all-new European-market Nissan Pulsar could spawn a high-performance Nismo hot-hatch, according to one of the brand’s top executives.
Nissan general manager and chief marketing manager for C-segment and crossover vehicles Ponz Pandikuthira told Dutch publication Autovisie the Japanese car maker was weighing the business case for the Pulsar Nismo.
Pandikuthira said Nissan wouldn’t bother with making a ‘warm-hatch’, however, insisting that a Pulsar Nismo would need to be competitive with the best hot-hatches in the world.
“With 200PS (147kW) you are simply no match for the competition,” he said. “You have to come up with at least 250PS (184kW) to seriously come across.”
At that level, the Nissan Pulsar Nismo would slot between Europe’s leading front-wheel-drive hot-hatches, outpunching the Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance (169kW), matching the Ford Focus ST, and trailing the Renault Megane RS265 (195kW). The new Holden Astra VXR due in 2015 will boast 206kW, while the upcoming Honda Civic Type R is expected to produce at least that much.
There’s currently no engine in Nissan’s global portfolio suited to the application, though reports suggest the Pulsar Nismo may share its powertrain with the planned Qashqai Nismo.
Nissan head of global product planning Andy Palmer said late last year the Qashqai Nismo could borrow the 160kW/284Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engine from the Juke Nismo RS, though Pandikuthira told PetrolBlog earlier this year that “the gearhead in me does not think that 212hp (160kW) is nearly enough” for that car.
Pandikuthira said it was important Nismo models offered “serious performance and not just a tuner ‘appearance’ package”.
Nissan says it does not currently plan to offer the Euro-market Pulsar in Australia, insisting it is sticking with the Thai-sourced model, though the local division hasn’t completely closed the door to introducing the more upmarket hatchback in the future.
Nissan Australia’s sporty variant, the Pulsar SSS, is a ‘warm-hatch’, producing 140kW and 240Nm – not enough to trouble true hot-hatches.