The record-setting Renault Megane RS275 hot-hatch could soon be targeted from an enemy within, with a new Nissan Pulsar Nismo model expected to tackle the recent Nurburgring record.
Just a few weeks ago a specially developed, road-legal Renault Megane RS275 Trophy-R set a new front-wheel-drive record time of 7:54.36 at the famed German circuit – and a new Nissan Pulsar Nismo hot-hatch may make a bid for the top spot for front-spinners, with a company spokesman suggesting at least 184kW (250PS) is what is required to "seriously come across".
While there’s little concrete detail on what the European-spec Nissan Pulsar Nismo model will pack under its bonnet, there is a chance it will borrow some bits from the Renault hot-hatch as part of the long-standing Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Nissan corporate vice president of product planning Keno Kato confirmed to CarAdvice that the front-engined, front-drive (FF) hot-hatch is going to aim high.
“An FF quick vehicle would be really serious – like a Civic Type R,” he said of Honda's upcoming hot-hatch which will produce at least 206kW and 400Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo engine.
“A fast hatchback is under development by Nismo," Kato said. “Nismo is from racetrack, so it is aiming at a lap time. That’s the meaning of a serious car.
“Nismo is always very serious. Nismo stands for Nissan Motorsports International, and that’s for the competition. So we will not have any plans to offer a kind of fake Nismo,” he said.
When asked if the brand will be targeting the Nurburgring record specifically, Kato hinted it was possible.
“It’s one of the racetracks,” he said. “It is for the GT-R. For any other vehicle, Nurburgring or any other racetrack. But any way, we have to prove the performance of a Nismo on track. There is no question about that.”
Kato said that the FF performance model would play in a very different section of the market to any possible production version of the iDX rear-wheel-drive coupe (pictured in concept guise above) which he stated had to be “fun and affordable”.
He reflected upon the brand’s previous affordable and fun rear-wheel-drive coupes, such as the first-generation Silvia.
“Silvia on the mountain road in Japan was a joke. Far behind the Civic Type-R, but nobody cared,” he said. “Whereas iDX, that is no discussion. Like Silvia. For Silvia, probably there was no discussion of a lap time.”
When the point was made that Nismo has no current presence in Australia, Kato was frank.
“That’s an issue,” he said. “I hope you will see Nismo in Australia shortly.”
The Japanese brand’s recently appointed chief, Richard Emery, stated in recent weeks that there are big plans for Nismo locally, suggesting the brand is missing out on potential sales by not offering performance-oriented models in a revhead-heavy market.
Emery also confirmed the brand is looking at offering the European Pulsar, possibly as soon as 2015.
Nissan has previously shown a Nissan Sentra Nismo sedan for the US (above). Its 1.8-litre direct fuel injection four-cylinder turbo produced an estimated 179kW of power and more than 325Nm of torque.