Nissan Leaf Getting NISMO Version, But Only For Japan


Slow. Boring. Practical. The Nissan Leaf is all of these things, though the true performance potential of this Japanese EV has yet to be tapped. But a rumored NISMO version of the Nissan Leaf could inject some much-needed excitement into the Leaf lineup…but only if you live in Japan.

Nissan has already demonstrated what the Leaf’s drivetrain is capable of in the rear-drive, lightweight racing version known as the Leaf NISMO Competizone RC. Could this track-only racer serve as inspiration for a production Leaf NISMO model? Perhaps, though we won’t hold our breath for a sub-3000 lbs rear-drive version of the Leaf…yet

But NISMO will work its magic in other ways, including an aerodynamic body kit inspired by the race car, new alloy wheels, and some interior improvements to set it apart from the crowd. Alas, actual performance will remain unchanged, which is a real shame; there are probably people who would dish out a few extra bucks for some extra power out of their Leaf.

As Tesla has demonstrated, the market for sporty EVs is out there. As a Japanese-market product though, the Nissan Leaf NISMO won’t be coming to America or Europe anytime soon. That said, the huge price cut on the Nissan Leaf will free up a lot of money for DIY-types to make their own modifications.

For now though, Nissan seems intent on plucking the low-hanging fruit of performance looks, rather than power. Maybe one day though we’ll get the Nissan Leaf sports car we all deserve.

Source: AutoCar

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • David Carter

    Ya know, Chris
    I roast everyone in my LEAF off the line to 40 or 50mph.
    Lord knows, it is silly when a Prius tries to get off the line like me and my LEAF!!
    Do you know what 100% torque at 0 rpm feels like?
    You are more slow and boring than my LEAF. Until you drive one hard off the line and reflect that sensation in your writing, you’re practically dishonest!

    18K plus on my leaf; I have a family of 5. 3 boys under 6 years old- all of which love the back “stadium” LEAF seats while my wife and me enjoy unheard-of interior quietness/sophistication while roasting nearly any gas car off the line, only hearing the distant groans and strains of their internal combustion engines in full tilt desperation gasps….

    Yes, other than 90- miles per charge range, it really IS that good.

    David Carter

    • Christopher DeMorro

      @ David Carter

      I grew up on American muscle cars. You may consider the Leaf a quick, torquey car compared to the Prius, but I have higher standards.

      Now the Tesla Model S? That’s an EV done right; performance, range, AND luxury. What’s not to love?

      • Stanigu

        What’s not to love about the Tesla? Price and availability. Although entry level Model S is reasonably affordable, performance and range are both sacrificed.

        While I agree that LEAF is no hot rod, characterizing it as “slow” and “boring” is not entirely accurate. I have an Audi S5 cabrio for weekend fun, and a LEAF for my daily commute. Is the Audi more fun? Sure. Does that make LEAF boring and slow? No, especially compared to other cars in its class. It’s actually a hoot to drive around town as it scoots around silently–and surprisingly quick from about 0-40. Like David, I can out gun most other vehicles from a stop (though not an S5!). Handling’s not too bad either, thanks to the very low center of gravity. I’m sure NISMO version would be even more fun…and looks a whole lot better than a stock LEAF.

        Having said that, though, I’ll probably get a Tesla once the Supply and Demand factors have settled down.

  • ck

    If anyone starts an article about Leaf with these 3 words “Slow. Boring. Practical.”, either the writer is dishonest and has not driven a Leaf.

    I hate to take out one of my so-called muscle cars since I bought Leaf. Those cars are “Lousy. Noisy. Dumb.”

    • Christopher DeMorro

      @ ck

      Fair enough. I have not driven a Leaf.

      • T Adkins

        I thought you were speaking to how the car is looked at by non-leaf people, having seen many a leaf on the road I have yet to see anyone driving one and just leaping off the line with that amazing torque.

        But indeed a NISMO RWD version of the leaf would be quite the little show stopper.

        • Plenty of people own fast cars (and bikes) without acting like jackasses on the road.

  • NISMO = ?

    • Christopher DeMorro

      @ Ross

      NISMO is Nissan’s in-house tuning shop, sort of like Ford has SVT and Mercedes has AMG.

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