Should Nissan make a Leaf Nismo? | Top Gear
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Tuesday 3rd October

Should Nissan make a Leaf Nismo?

Nissan previews its potential (and probable) electric hot hatch. This or a GTI?

Published: 25 Oct 2017

It was inevitable, but that makes it no less exciting; Nissan’s electric car march is breeding performance cars, and the first could be this Leaf Nismo.

We say could because it’s officially a concept, which is being displayed at the Tokyo motor show. If Nissan gets a sufficiently positive response, the car will get made. You know what to do, then.

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And it looks production ready, doesn’t it? The interior is as per a standard Leaf, just with fancy red accents, and there’s not a 23in rim nor wing mirror camera to be seen. It’s as light as ‘concept’ treatment gets.

“We've been testing the market for some time,” Nissan’s Europe president Paul Willcox told Top Gear. “We had RC Leaf and Bladeglider. But we're trying to test the boundaries. We want to understand the acceptance from consumers. So if you think there's a role for a performance electric vehicle then, I think we'll go with it.”

The Nissan GT-R will get electric power too, don't forget

He says electric cars are relatively easy to tweak, so you’d think a rise over the standard Leaf’s 147bhp would be a given. But it seems the Nismo’s changes are mostly skin deep for now. There’s a new exterior, which improves the Leaf’s aerodynamic profile – just look at that Focus RS-esque rear diffuser – while there’s new sports suspension and stickier tyres.

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Nissan also says the car’s computing has had a tweak to deliver instant acceleration at all speeds. There’s a more powerful, longer-range version of the standard Leaf due next year, however, so expect a production Nismo to have more than 147bhp.

Were a production version to materialise, wager on £30,000 (at least) to buy one. For now, though, the debate is thus: would you have an all-electric hot hatch over a conventional petrol-powered one? This or a Golf GTI, basically?

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