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Nissan Ariya Nismo brings more power, more style

Nissan Ariya Nismo Brings More Power More Style

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As expected, Nissan revealed the Ariya Nismo at the Tokyo Auto Salon. And it delivers on pretty much everything we would hope for with a somewhat hotter version of the electric SUV, even if it’s not quite as aggressive as some of its competition.

The exterior receives both body and graphics updates. It has a splitter, side skirts and a rear diffuser. The latter of those also incorporates a motorsport-style rear fog light in the middle. The hatch also has a little lip spoiler at the trailing edge of the rear window. A red line wraps around all of the lower body parts, and it’s complemented by additional red accents on the mirror caps and a Nismo logo in the middle of the front splitter. A center stripe is available optionally for the hood, too. And at each corner are unique 20-inch wheels that are fitted with 255-mm tires, 20 mm wider than standard Ariya tires, and 10 mm wider than the optional set for the top Platinum + E-4orce trim.

Inside, things look particularly sporty. The entire cabin is black, even the faux wood trim, which continues to have a natural grain finish. A sportier, more sculpted steering wheel is fitted with red stitching and a red 12 o’clock mark. A bright red center section spans the air vents in the dash, and all of the backlit panels from the standard car now glow a menacing red, instead of the soft, cool white color. The seats are covered in faux suede, and they’re perforated with red accents. They appear to be more bolstered for sportier driving, too.

Nissan Ariya Nismo

As for performance, all Ariya Nismos feature more output than standard E-4orce models. The shorter-range Ariya Nismo with a 66-kWh battery makes 362 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, and it weighs 4,586 pounds, a solid improvement over the 335 of the short-range regular E-4orce. The longer-range Airya Nismo with a 91-kWh battery makes 429 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, again improving over the regular E-4orce model’s 389 horsepower. Having the bigger battery naturally makes it weigh more than the short-range version, with total weight coming in between 4,872 and 4,894 pounds depending on configuration. 

Nissan didn’t go into specifics regarding suspension and braking changes outside of saying that those aspects and more have been retuned by Nismo. This also includes throttle response, presumably to be quicker and more aggressive, as well as a more rear-biased torque split between the dual motors. The artificial acceleration sounds have also been reworked to sound more like a Formula E racecar, which Nissan proudly referenced in the presentation, noting it’s the only Japanese manufacturer participating.

Unfortunately, Nissan did not specify whether the Ariya Nismo would be available in America. This is a bit concerning, since the Leaf Nismo was a Japan-only special edition. We hope that a stronger SUV market in the U.S., along with higher prices for the Ariya’s segment, might make a better case for it, than what is effectively an electric economy car. There’s also precedent for higher-performance EVs in this segment, though a number of them boast bigger numbers than the Ariya Nismo. For instance, the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT is available with up to 480 horsepower, the Kia EV6 GT offers 576 horsepower and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N has 641 horsepower.

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