It may well be that the Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept does not matter, but Nissan put it together and launched it at the LA Auto Show this year to gauge interest. Nismo is the NISsan MOtors motorsports department that has been busy beefing up the 370Z, GT-R and even the Juke with custom engines, exterior design and aftermarket goodies targeted to a small, but influential number of enthusiast buyer/drivers. The thought of Nismo-izing the meek and mild Sentra is a fun idea that harkens back to the early '90s, when small cars got big engines, making performance available to a younger audience for less money.
If they did decide to bring it, they would join the ranks of cars like Ford Focus ST, VW GTI and Honda Civic Si.
The Sentra Nismo concept turns what was a painfully boring grille into a black-chrome mesh snarling mouth and the menacing face is filled out with LED accents and flared fenders. The rear spoiler and center bring up the back and small details like striping on the side mirrors and the Nismo badging tell the rest of the story.
And what Nismo concept would be complete without knarly wheels? Sentra's Nismo would get 19-inch RAYS aluminum-alloy wheels that protrude nicely from 225/35R19 Michelin Super Sport performance tires. Of course, there's the obligatory bright red 370Z Bremo brake calipers popping through the spokes to complete the look.
On the inside, a stylish set of Recaro seats and plenty of Alcantara and leather surround the driver. The instrument cluster is finished in satin carbon and the chrome you see in the regular Sentra turns dark and menacing on the Nismo concept.
Under the hood of the Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept, there is not a CVT to be found. Instead, Nismo tuners took the existing Juke Nismo RS 1.6-liter DOHC direct-injection turbo four and increased its displacement to 1.8 liters. The result created output of 240 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, a number that puts the 130 horsepower of the regular Sentra to shame as intended.
The technology story with all Nismo creations is performance and power. The Nissan Sentra Nismo Concept is a tuned car inside and out. A race-inspired exterior with enhanced aerodynamics, Nismo-tuned suspension, steering and transmission and motorsports-style cockpit.
If the car is ever brought to production, more features and technology will be detailed at that time, but expect the usual suspects of infotainment and safety to follow.
We think since the Nismo department of Nissan has been so busy anyway, why not add the Sentra to its list of hot rod machines? Nissan's sportscar-for-less brand almost demands it and it would certainly help put the lowly Sentra on the frontal lobe of young enthusiasts.