Nissan unveils its first NISMO EV, coming this spring

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Nissan has announced a new performance trim level of the Ariya at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2024 show this week: Meet the Ariya NISMO. It’s a more powerful, sporty, and body kit-clad version of the company’s only modern BEV offering and, for now, it will be limited to sale in the Japanese market.

The Ariya NISMO offers marginally higher output than the standard version of the car, with 320 kW (~430 hp) of power and 600 Nm (~440 lb-ft) of torque. Other changes are largely aesthetic, though Nissan really wants you to buy in to the idea that a set of fancy rims make the Ariya handle appreciably better, saying “highly rigid 20-inch aluminum wheels generates superior stability and turn-in ability as well as better line-tracing and enhanced cornering ability at high speeds.” OK!

A special NISMO drive mode is added to the car that enhances acceleration and responsiveness, with a new artificial cabin noise apparently inspired by the sound of Formula E race cars. That sound is demoed in the video below. It certainly sounds… spacey.

Ariya NISMO marketing video

On the inside, you’ll be treated to NISMO seats and trim, presumably meaning gratuitous red piping (not that that’s a bad thing, necessarily).

There’s no word if the Ariya NISMO will be sold in the US or other markets globally, or how much more it will cost when it goes on sale in Japan this spring. The NISMO trim will be available for both battery capacity variants of the Ariya (66 kWh and 91 kWh), with slight differences in peak power output.

Electrek’s take

Naysayers might call the Ariya NISMO a fancy body kit, new seat covers, and software tuning… and they’d probably be right. Nissan’s dilution of the NISMO badge on its more “mainstream” vehicles is well documented in its ICE lineup, and it looks like that tradition continues here with the Ariya.

Given the Ariya NISMO appears destined only for Japan, this is likely just an effort to extract a bit more profit margin from the car before Nissan’s next-generation BEVs are announced in the coming year or two. Given Nissan has signaled its next-gen BEVs will be a major transition point, I suspect the Ariya has the reached the zenith of its relevance in the market. Now’s the time to cash in.

With the next Leaf likely to be announced this year on a crossover-based design (and presumably, with a substantially lower price), the Ariya seems destined to become an “also-ran” in the carmaker’s portfolio in the next year or two.

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