Nissan’s Leaf was never intended as a race car or even sporty car, is deliberately “green” looking, but that hasn’t stopped Nissan’s performance arm in Japan from developing a sportified version.
The Nismo version, for now slated only for the Japanese market, will be not one iota more powerful, but will look it, and ought to have improved braking and handling too thanks to tweaks to the underpinnings.
According to Autocar, which spoke with Nismo chief Shoichi Miyatani, upgrades to the Nismo Leaf will include an aggressive aerodynamic body kit, special wheels and tires, interior styling upgrades, and more.
Likely also the suspension is tuned not unlike what Toyota does for the Prius with its TRD developed kit.
Nismo has shown the Leaf is actually capable of mustering respectable cornering speeds when set up for it, and has also featured a race car called the Nismo RC, which in September finished a distant second behind a much-more powerful Tesla Roadster in a 50 km race in Japan.
The production Nismo still won’t be like having a Tesla, but it will be more like having a hot hatch, sort of, and just so long as the Leaf driver does not attempt a stoplight drag race with a Subaru WRX, or anything remotely high performance.
Miyatani said Nismo will test market the car in Japan first, and see whether public response can justify venturing toward a European launch. Whether the Nismo Leaf will ever make it to America is not looking likely at this juncture.