Fans of Japanese performance will know the name Nismo as Nissan’s in-house tuning and racing division. It’s offered enhanced versions of the GT-R, 370Z, Juke, Micra/March, Versa/Note, and a handful of others. And now it’s adding the all-electric Leaf to its stable.
Following a smattering of concepts over the years, Nissan has now revealed the production Leaf Nismo that’s soon to go on sale – in Japan, at least. And while it doesn’t encompass any powertrain enhancements to speak of, it does offer an array of visual and handling upgrades.
Not the least of them is an ECU recalibrated for better acceleration response. It also features a retuned suspension with 18-inch alloys with grippier tires, reworked electric power-steering system, and aerodynamic enhancements to offer increased downforce without compromising the Leaf’s slippery drag coefficient.
Other upgrades include new bumpers (front and rear), a new grille, LED daytime running lights, and a smattering of Nismo emblems inside and out. The interior’s also been enhanced with a sportier steering wheel, wrapped in Alcantara and leather with a red center mark. The shifter, instruments, upholstery, and other trim are also unique to the Nismo model.
For better or worse, Nissan says it has “no plans to bring the LEAF NISMO to markets other than Japan,” so don’t go asking your local dealer (anywhere else in the world) for the performance-tuned EV or you’re liable to be laughed out of the showroom. But the Nismo model may help the Japanese automaker move more of the electric vehicles in its home market and help it achieve its stated goal of selling a million electrified models around the world each year by 2022.