Japanese manufacturer wades into the warm hatchback battlefield with an uprated version of its new Volkswagen Golf rival
Matt Burt
2 October 2014

The Nissan Pulsar Nismo, a sporting flagship variant of the Japanese firm's new Volkswagen Golf rival, has been unveiled at the Paris motor show.

As first reported by Autocar back in June, Nissan has given its C-segment car a sporting makeover, sharpening up the handling and installing a more powerful engine. 

Officially Nissan says the hot Pulsar is "a design study explores the styling and engineering possibilities of a sporting flagship for the Pulsar range", but it also hints that the variant is highly likely to make production.

The concept’s paintwork is finished in satin grey, the front bumper features a layered double-wing with red detailing as well as larger, optimised air intakes and prominent brake cooling vents.

A lower ride height, deeper side skirts and 19in alloy wheels shod with 235/35 R19 tyres give the Pulsar Nismo a muscular appearance. The rear sports a diffuser-style rear bumper and central twin exhaust pipes. Completing the motorsport-oriented look are a carbonfibre rear spoiler and flared wheel arches.

The interior has sculpted Alcantara sport seats, a sporty three-spoke steering wheel and alloy pedals.

Nissan says the Pulsar Nismo Concept's suspension – tweaked from the standard Pulsar road car – has been honed on the racetrack. It incorporates revised spring and damper settings, and the steering has been tweaked for a more direct response and to give the car more agility.

Of the most significance, though, will be tweaks to the Pulsar’s engine. Although Nissan has refrained from offering any official details, the most likely candidate for tuning is the 187bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol, which is due to be offered in the Pulsar range next year.

That same engine has already been confirmed in the Juke Nismo RS, which is due to go on sale in December, where it produces 212bhp and 210lb ft.

Rather than make the Pulsar Nismo a full-blooded hot hatch, it seems likely that Nissan will leave room for an even hotter Nismo RS variant that could follow late next year.

The Pulsar is part of the manufacturer's long-stated plan to "democratise performance" by producing more Nismo performance variants across its model range.

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Our Verdict

NIssan Pulsar
Nissan's V-Motion grille marks the Pulsar out as a Nissan, but it's debatable whether you'd be able to name the car if this was covered up

Nissan's return to the European mainstream is hatched

30 September 2014
Knowing how good Nissan hot hatches can be, this has the potential to be a very strong entry into the segment. My main concern is with the engine though, if Nismo really want to go for the Nurburgring record then surely they need a 2.0 litre turbo?

Even ignoring lap times, all the major players in this class have this size of engine which could make the Pulsar feel more than a little flat. Here's hoping the reports of a 1.6 are incorrect or that Nismo are trying to beat AMG at the horsepower per litre stakes....

Myk

30 September 2014
mr_pushrod wrote:

Knowing how good Nissan hot hatches can be...

Erm, you might have to help me out here. The GTI-R was an awfully long time ago and I can't think of another.

So, the curse of the Nurburgring lap record strikes again huh? Will be interesting to see who is actually fastest when all the dust settles. It would probably have been prudent not to crow on about it so much though. I'm partcularly looking at you, Honda.

30 September 2014
The Almera GTi was seriously underrated and although a bit bigger, so was the Primera GT. I will admit to being massively biased as a Primera GT owner though. The Nissan March (read Micra) Super Turbo was also gloriously nutty.

30 September 2014
:(

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2 October 2014
Nissan should totally go ahead and make this performance version of their all-new Pulsar. On one hand hot hatch buyers were never so spoilt for choice. On the other performance versions of family hatchbacks show off the engineering prowess of a company.

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