Nissan’s in-house tuning division’s fingerprints are all over this sporty Leaf, but it’s unclear just how heavy they are. Some of the tweaks are obvious, like the exterior styling with improved aerodynamics. It’s got more downforce while maintaining the same drag coefficient, and the custom 18-inch aluminum wheels keep air resistance to a minimum. The Leaf Nismo gets grippier Continental ContiSportContact 5 tires, a sport-tuned suspension, and custom steering, brake and stability tuning to improve handling.
What isn’t clear is how straight-line performance will improve. A tuning computer will help provide “more responsive acceleration,” which it also describes as “delicate but strong.” There are no quantifying figures to give us a better idea of what that means, though.
The visual changes inside and out are numerous. On the outside, the car gets Nismo emblems, custom lighting, a unique grille and front and rear bumpers, remote-control retracting black side mirrors and signature red accents. Those red highlights are repeated inside the car, along with an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, “carbon-like” finish on the instrument panel, custom gauges, and custom seat and door trim material with red and gray stitching.
Nissan plans to offer an E-Plus version of the Nissan Leaf, with more power and range, for the 2019 model year. It’s not clear whether the Nismo treatment will be available on that car, as well. There’s also no word on availability of the Leaf Nismo outside of Japan. We’re crossing our fingers.