IF THE Nissan Pulsar is a car that lowers the pulse rate to a rest, the new Nismo version should send it soaring again.
Revealed today at the Paris motor show, the Nissan Pulsar Nismo is an attempt to take on competitor cars such as the Ford Focus ST, Mégane Renaultsport, Vauxhall Astra VXR and the toughest contender of all, VW’s Golf GTI. And it looks like it means business.
The car appears to have been put through an intensive body-building boot camp. There are enough scoops, spoilers and skirts to please even the most demanding boy or girl racer.
And the engineers at Nismo say they have lowered the ride height, uprated the suspension and improved the brakes – although there is no confirmation whether the hot Pulsar will use a limited-slip front differential to improve traction.
Although the Pulsar Nismo is officially still a concept car, a production version is likely to go on sale in the UK within the next year. It’s expected to be powered by either a 247bhp version of the 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that is featured in the Juke Nismo, or a more powerful 2-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol unit.
Nissan says that the business case for the new hot hatch is still being thrashed out; in some markets a “warm hatch” sells better than a “hot hatch”. Either way, in a part of the car market where driveway-image counts as much as a car’s performance on a racetrack, it’s likely that the company will need to substantially undercut a Golf GTI on price. Expect the Pulsar Nismo to cost around £22,500, comparable with Ford’s Focus ST.
Nismo was established in 1986 as the racing and sports car division of Nissan, with the aim of creating “innovation and excitement for everyone”. It is expanding its range of models to create more choice for drivers. By this time next year the line up will include high-performance versions of the GT-R supercar, 370Z sports car, Juke crossover and the Pulsar.
If the sensible version of the Pulsar is more your thing, see Driving’s review here.