All Nissan Australia will commit to is that Nismo “is under assessment”. But the hot versions of Nissan's models - currently the Juke, 370Z and GT-R - are being integrated into the company's production lines.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn this week announced that Nismo (for Nissan Motorsport International) will create high-performance versions of Nissan road cars at the rate of one new model a year.
In opening Nismo's new headquarters in Japan this week, Ghosn said: “It would be unthinkable for us to develop a range of Nismo road cars without including the GT-R”.
Nismo - which is to Nissan what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz - sells the Juke version in Europe and Japan and last month introduced the 370Z Nismo to the US at the Chicago motor show. Nissan Australia has committed itself to the standard Nissan Juke but is considering the Nismo version.
Both use a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine but the Nismo adds 7kW/9Nm (to 147kW/249Nm) and body and cabin modifications. It also has a revised suspension with different springs and dampers and sits 20mm lower than the standard version.
It could sell here for about $36,000. No launch date or final specifications have been set for the GT-R Nismo though it is expected to close in on the track-only GT3. This racer retains the production GT-R's 3.8-litre V6 bi-turbo engine but engine changes - particularly camshaft timing - gets output up to 405kW/637Nm while bodyweight falls 430kg to 1300kg. The 2013 GT-R road car has 404kW/628Nm.
The Nissan 370Z Nismo, also on the probable list for Australia, has an extra 5kW of power over the standard 370Z version. A bodykit - comprising a rear diffuser with twin exhausts, fixed rear wing, wider side skirts and a new lip spoiler with a splitter - claims to produce as much downforce as a GT-R.
Compared with a standard 370Z, it has a firmer ride thanks to spring rates that have been increased by 15 per cent, rear spring rates up by 10 per cent, the front stabilizer bar rate is firmer by 15 per cent and the rear stabilizer bar is 50 per cent stiffer.
Nissan says the roll stiffness rate has been increased by 15 per cent and front and rear damping factors have been increased by 40 per cent and 140 per cent, respectively.
The 370Z Nismo was shown at the Chicago motor show last month with five-spoke Nissan-branded 19-inch RAYS forged aluminium-alloy wheels. It was displayed with Yokohama tyres but production models are expected to have 245/40 front tyres and 285/35 rear tyres with a compound made specifically for the 370Z by Bridgestone.
Brakes are standard Nismo Sport Brakes with larger diameter (than standard) 350mm front and 345mm rear vented rotors with four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminium calipers. The calipers are painted red.
No conformation of sale or price has yet been announced for the 370Z Nismo but in Australia, it's expected to be about $90,000 -- a $15,000 premium on the standard coupe.